The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is hosting a community forum on coyotes in Lakeland Wednesday in response to the recent mutilations of several pet cats in the city.
Coyotes first migrated to Florida in the 1970s. The FWC also documented a coyote release in Polk County several decades ago by a fox hunter who mistook them for "black foxes."
Earlier this year, Lakeland Police detectives thought a dangerous killer could be roaming the streets around Lake Hollingsworth. Vets at the University of Florida concluded coyotes were responsible for the mutilated cat carcasses showing up in backyards.
Coyotes are blamed for killing six cats in Lakeland so far this year. In 2013, the FWC got 69 reports about coyotes from Pinellas County, 33 from Hillsborough, 29 from Pasco, and 17 from Polk County.
Most of the reports came from callers who spotted coyotes. Spokesman Gary Morse urges the public to only call to report a coyote if it’s causing a problem to your pets or property.
The FWC coyote presentation starts at 6 p.m. at Lakeland City Hall. Click here to read about the history of coyotes in Florida and to get tips on how to protect your pets and property.
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