Disappearance of pets raises coyote concerns in downtown Punta Gorda


PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- The Punta Gorda Police Department says coyotes have begun entering downtown Punta Gorda, a previously uncharted territory when it came to sightings of the animals.

“It’s the coyotes, you know they go after the rabbits, that’s what they eat, but when they run out of rabbits, they start going after outdoor pets, cats, and small dogs,” said Officer Dean Irving.

Eleven cats have disappeared from Punta Gorda homes over the last few months leaving residents wary.

“It’s scary, I don’t know about their habitat or what they do, but wild animals running around… We had bobcats already, now coyotes, that’s kind of scary,” said resident Joe Eubanks.

This week, a coyote was caught on camera roaming Punta Gorda streets late at night, police say that’s when they’re most likely to be spotted.

“I was sitting in my garage probably about a week and a half ago, it was at night around 9 o’clock at night, he walked up like right in front of my driveway, he wasn’t scared of me at all. I walked up to it and he kept his distance a little bit, maybe 20 feet, but he just strolled on his way,” said Eubanks.

Irving says he’s keeping tabs on the coyote sightings, and he believes the coyotes live south of the downtown area.

“I don’t think there’s a pack here in the historic district because there isn’t enough woods around here. That’s what makes me think, ’cause I’ve see them on Aqui Esta going into the same area and I think they are possibly denning up in that area,” said Irving.

Punta Gorda police are working together with Florida Fish and Wildlife officials and Charlotte County Animal Control to find a solution for nuisance coyotes.

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