Pack of coyotes living in Tampa neighborhood

TAMPA - In a residential neighborhood just off Busch Boulevard and just west of Interstate 275 in Tampa, a pack of coyotes has taken up residence in a nearby patch of woods.

The coyotes stay in the brush for the most part, but venture out occasionally into a field that separates the woods from rows of houses.

People who live in those houses say the coyotes have been attacking pets. Numerous cats have disappeared, and neighbor Harry Adams saw a coyote attack a puppy.

"He took off down the road, grabbed the puppy and threw him up in the air," Adams said.

Neighbor Joe Bowman called ABC Action News because he was worried a coyote would attack another animal, or even a child who was walking near the woods. He wondered if the city, county or state could do something to remove the coyotes.

"I don't know anybody else that wants them in their back yard," Bowman said.

But, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, they won't. Gretchen Hochnedel, the wildlife assistance biologist for the southwest region, says coyotes are afraid of humans, and are very unlikely to attack them.

"Generally, people have a better chance of getting bitten by the neighborhood dog or struck by lightning then getting attacked by a coyote," she said.

For that reason, the FWC is reluctant to remove coyotes. They add that removing coyotes is not beneficial because coyotes respond by breeding even more.

"Even removing these coyotes, they would be replaced by another set eventually," Hochnedel added.

She recommends scaring the coyotes any time a person sees them, giving an example of clanging pots and pans together as one method. She also suggests never leaving trash unsecure, as the coyotes like to have an easy meal.

Hochnedel does say coyotes are a threat to pets, so she recommends not allowing your pets to roam free.

Bowman, though, still worries about children in the area.

"I don't want to have to wait until a child gets hurt by a pack of coyotes before someone will do something about it," he said.

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