Concern over coyote population increases as more sightings reported

Concern over coyote population increases as more sightings reported

ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) - There's a growing concern over the coyote problem on the Isle of Palms.

"It's become out of control and people are afraid," Colleen Conley said.

Conley lives in Wild Dunes, and said since moving to the island has had to make some adjustments.

"I was told not to let my cats outdoors, which my cats have always been indoor outdoor cats," said Conley.

Conley said that's the result of a coyote problem she said has only gotten worse.

"We here in Wild Dunes and Isle of Palms have seen it escalate to where it's not a nuisance issue, it's a public safety issue," said Conley.

Marty Bettelli is an Isle of Palms Councilmember, and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee and says there is a coyote problem.

Bettelli said he thinks there are more coyotes now on the Isle of Palms, with more sightings being reported.

"Quite frankly, I don't know what more we can do," Bettelli said. "Maybe set out more traps, but you can't shoot them. You don't want to trap them because of the hazards to children and pets. Other than that, we're going to have to coexist with them."

"It's something that needs to be taken care of yesterday," Conley said. "It's definitely something that people are becoming warier of as we see them all day long. They're not afraid they're brazen."

"It's hard to keep up with them but hopefully we'll get a handle on it," said Bettelli.

Conley said within the last week she has heard of more frequent coyote encounters.

"One lady had a dog who was bitten by a coyote and had to take it to get rabies shots. That was just last week," Conley said.

"My neighbor two doors away woke to screaming at five in the morning, and when they went out into the yard later that morning they the found rib cage of a deer with end trails and a large bone so it was evident it wasn't just a coyote kill, it was a pack of coyotes," said Conley.

Conley said with so many sightings and incidents, the people in her community are taking precautions to feel more safe.

"Plenty of people have dogs in the community and when they walk them at night will carry a weapon with them," Conley said."Whether it's a golf club or some other things to protect themselves and their pets. Many are afraid to walk outside at night at all."

Bettelli says you cannot shoot a firearm in the city, but there are ways for you to keep you and your family safe if you encounter a coyote.

"Make yourself as big as you can and make noise to discourage them from coming," said Bettelli.

Bettelli advises you to not leave food out at night, don't feed your pets outside, and keep your pets in a secure location.

"You don't want to be letting your pet out in the middle of the night to relieve itself. Unless you're with the pet, very close to it, it's just a very tough problem," said Bettelli.

If you see a coyote on Isle of Palms you're encouraged to call 886-6522.

The more coyote sightings that are filed, the more they are able to be tracked.

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