A firefighter with the Austin Fire Department is in critical …
Every morning, Regan Rae Williams lets her cats out in the front yard for a few minutes while she takes her dogs out into the backyard.
But Friday morning, she found three unwanted guests on her front porch when she went to let her cats back in the house.
“I opened the front door and three coyotes were already in the process of eating one of my cats,” said Williams.
Her cat, Misuk, was killed by the coyotes who have returned to her porch every night since killing the cat.
Williams screamed when she saw the dogs of prey and tried to chase after the one with Misuk in its jaws.
“Once they reached the driveway, the large one turned around and charged me.”
Texas A&M Agri-Life Extension Service says they have responded to several calls about coyotes in urban areas recently including a few more in the same area where Williams lives along Manchaca and Davis Lane.
“There is no part of town that is exempt from coyote problems,” said wildlife biologist Jacob Hetzel, who spent Monday looking over the neighborhood for paw tracks or anything else that would help lead to the coyotes' capture.
West Lake Hills also recently started an effort to trap coyotes earlier this year.
Here are some tips from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department the public can take to help manage coyote populations in residential areas.
- Do not feed coyotes! Keep pet food and water inside. Keep garbage securely stored, especially if it has to be put on the curb for collection; use tight-locking or bungee-cord-wrapped trash cans that are not easily opened.
- Keep compost piles securely covered; correct composting never includes animal matter like bones or fat, which can draw coyotes even more quickly that decomposing vegetable matter.
- Keep pets inside, confined securely in a kennel or covered exercise yard, or within the close presence of an adult.
- Walk pets on a leash and accompany them outside, especially at night.
- Do not feed wildlife on the ground; keep wild bird seed in feeders designed for birds elevated or hanging above ground, and clean up spilled seed from the ground; coyotes can either be drawn directly to the seed, or to the rodents drawn to the seed.
- Keep fruit trees fenced or pick up fruit that falls to the ground.
- Do not feed feral cats (domestics gone wild); this can encourage coyotes to prey on cats, as well as feed on cat food left out for them.
- Minimize clusters of shrubs, trees and other cover and food plants near buildings and children's play areas to avoid attracting rodents and small mammals that will in turn attract coyotes.
- Use noise making and other scaring devices when coyotes are seen. Check with local authorities regarding noise and firearms ordinances. Portable air horns, motor vehicle horns, propane cannons, starter pistols, low-powered pellet guns, slingshots, and thrown rocks can be effective.
In Austin, the Texas Cooperative Extension assists with coordinating nuisance coyote control and public education. Call the main Texas Wildlife Services office in San Antonio at 210-472-5451 to get the number of the nearest local office.