Published On: Sun, Mar 17th, 2019

Residents Urged to Watch for Coyotes in South Palm Beach County

By: Robert S Weinroth

Recently, residents in the Hidden Valley neighborhood within the City of Boca Raton reported seeing coyotes around their homes. A woman in Delray Beach reported a coyote grabbed her small dog when it was wandering around behind her home.

Believe it or not, coyotes can be found in every county in the state, including the Florida Keys and all the way to the beach. They resemble a small German shepherd and typically weigh between 15 and 30 pounds.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that coyotes tend to be shy and elusive, but are known to attack pets when on the hunt for food. They can occasionally be spotted alone or in small groups where food is readily available.

Because of Florida’s temperate climate, mating season for coyotes is pretty much year-round. That means pet owners need to be on the alert throughout the year.

To protect your pets, don’t allow them to roam freely. Most coyote attacks on pets occur at night or at dusk. During those times pet owners need to be especially vigilant especially if walking in heavily foliaged areas where coyotes can hide.

Never feed coyotes! Don’t place food outdoors that will attract wild animals. Secure garbage cans and never try to pet a coyote.

If a coyote approaches too closely, immediately act aggressively toward to coyote by making loud noises, waving your arms in the air, throwing sticks at it or spraying it with a hose. However, don’t attempt to hurt the coyote since and injured animal is more likely to attack.

Coyotes can be curious but are also timid creatures and, if challenged, will generally retreat. However, remember – any animal will protect itself and its young. Don’t initiate a close encounter with a coyote and remain attentive to your surroundings (especially when walking in a wooded area).

Where coyotes have been sighted, avoid walking pets at dusk, dawn or during nighttime hours. Carry something that can make a loud noise to scare the animal (e.g., an air horn) or something to physically deter the animal (e.g., water pistol, a walking stick or baseball bat). These things will, likely, deter the coyote at close range.

In summary:

Don’t feed coyotes– The number one most effective way to prevent coyote attacks in your neighborhood is to eliminate wildlife feeding. Coyotes that are fed in residential neighborhoods can lose their fear of people and may eventually test humans (and pets) as possible prey. Intentional feeding, such as bait stations in yards or parks, should be strictly avoided. However, many people unintentionally feed coyotes by leaving pet food or garbage out at night.

Don’t allow your pets to run loose– Free-ranging domestic cats and feral cat colonies may also serve to attract coyotes; it is important that domestic cats be kept indoors and that feral cats be spayed or neutered to control this population. Bringing food inside when outdoor cats are not feeding might alleviate part of this coyote attractant.

Don’t run from a coyote– Shout or throw something in its direction. Do not run away.

Don’t create a conflict where none exists– If a coyote is acting as a coyote should by avoiding humans and pets, don’t seek out opportunities to haze or otherwise aggravate the animal.

Report aggressive, fearless coyotes to Florida Fish and Wildlife at 888.404.3922

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. As a newly elected County Commissioner, Weinroth has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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  1. Bill Dailey says:

    There are many Red Foxes in Boca beach area. Many have gotten hit by autos on A1A. Saw more in the 90’s on the island Deerfield beach to Camino Real. Many times when they see you before daylight they freeze, thinking they are hidden.

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