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Coyotes Plague County Pet Lovers

BRADENTON -- Manatee County Commissioners heard tales of woe Tuesday afternoon about missing pets that are devoured by hungry coyotes.

Coyotes continue to haunt pet owners in many areas of Manatee County, Commissioner John Chappie told the Manatee County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, but no one seems able to do much about it.

"It's getting worse," he said. "I would like to see Animals Services look at this.

At Large Commissioner Joe McClash said that neighbors and constituents also tell him of their missing pets, particularly dogs and cats, but that he has to acknowledge that local government can do little about the critters.

"It's a serious issue, but it's one that this government cannot solve," McClash said. "We don't have the ability to control them."

Manatee County's Animal Services Division deals only with dogs and cats. But County Administrator Ed Hunzeker noted at least two steps the county can take.

He said he will have the county Web site provide a link to a page prepared by the county, sharing information about what steps can be done to protect pets. One of the first rules, Commission Chair Carol Whitmore said, is to keep your pets on a leash.

Chappie noted that in a recent meeting at Cortez Village, the audience seemed split in half about what to do about the carnivorous, dog-like animals.

Animal lovers were among the most vocal in their support, Chappie said.

"One of them asked, 'Why don't you keep your cats on a leash?"


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