MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — A group of coyotes that has been spotted around a Florida country club the past two months is suspected of killing a pet dog, wildlife trappers and country club staff said.
A family was driving near Suntree Country Club in Melbourne with their new rescue dog last week when it jumped out an open window and ran off, Suntree general manager Steve Lamontagne told Florida Today. The dog's remains were later found on the club's property.
Lamontagne believes the pack consists of five coyotes and said one has a distinctive and unusual black coat.
"They’ve been on property for a couple of months," Lamontagne said. “They were being spotted here and there and all of a sudden in the last two or three weeks, they were getting more friendly.”
Wildlife trapper James Dean has been setting out traps and attempting to track the coyotes. He said he plans to release them into the wild away from the public, unless they no longer fear people.
"Feeding wild animals is the same as signing their death warrant," Dean said. “People that are feeding wildlife, they may feel bad for them, but they're also hurting that animal.”
Coyotes are unlikely to attack people unless they've been conditioned to no longer fear them, Dean said.