Meeting to address Austin coyote problems scheduled Tuesday

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Coyotes attacking small dogs and cats within Austin’s city limits has led to some residents reaching out to the city for help. 

Travis Heights and Travis Heights East neighbors will be meeting with Animal Control Tuesday to try to figure out how they can stop coyotes from attacking their pets. 

“You don’t expect predators to be roaming the neighborhood,” said Scott McDougal. He believes coyotes killed three of his indoor-outdoor cats. 

“The empty feeling you get in your heart when you don’t know, you’re just worried sick,” he said. “So heartbreaking to not know what happened. At least you want some closure with your animals.” 

He said one of his cats, Buster, disappeared back in July. While he’s not 100 percent sure what happened to Buster, he has a good idea because a month later, Boo-Boo disappeared, and just last week, he found the remains of a third cat. 

McDougal said the third cat was hiding on a covered deck from the rain. He believes a coyote came in through a rotten part of his fence and attacked the cat. 

He also told us about posts on the NextDoor app that report other attacks on small pets and sightings of coyotes. 

“I think the City and their need for development hasn’t provided habitat for the animals in the neighborhood,” he said.

Austin Animal Services said so far in 2018, 311 received about 400 complaints about coyotes in all of Austin. 

In Travis Heights, it received 20 complaints since April 1. 

Many neighbors believe the number of actual sightings and encounters is higher. 

Animal Control wasn’t available for an interview Sunday, but told KXAN the message it wants to push out at Tuesday’s meeting is the importance of hazing, which is scaring the coyotes so they won’t feel comfortable around people.

McDougal isn’t sure if that’s enough. 

“It’s just a rock and a hard place, ” he said, adding he doesn’t want to hurt the coyotes, but he wants their hunting of people’s pets to stop. “I think the community just wants to get together and protect our pets.”

The meeting Tuesday night will be at the Good Shepherd On The Hill Church on Woodland Avenue. 
It starts at 7 p.m. 

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