CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Carolina Beach residents are worried their pets could be in danger, after one woman’s cats were attacked last week allegedly by coyotes.
Kristen Redmond told WWAY that her two rescue cats usually sleep on her neighbors porch each night, but on Thursday morning she felt in her heart something was wrong because they weren’t there when she woke up.
“Witnesses tell me Thursday morning around 5 o’clock my two kitties that were sleeping in front of my house were attacked by two large coyotes,” Redmond said. “They’ve gotten so aggressive that [this happened] within a half a block from the Hardees and at that time of day. They’re really in search of food.”
Redmond says Julio was found ravaged and dead following the coyote attack. She says her other cat, Missy, survived and it at the local animal hospital.
“Julio had a little possum friend that he liked to play with and I knew they weren’t far,” Redmond said. “They were always right under the tree or right under the bush. You just get relaxed, when your neighbors are here and the birds are chirping. It’s so quiet and peaceful and you don’t realize that they’re out at night forging for food.”
North Carolina Wildlife Extension Biologist Falyn Owens says coyotes are common across the continental United States and attacks like this are not alarming.
“It is very normal for coyotes to perceive any animal that’s roughly the size of a rabbit to be a potential prey item,” Owens said. “So, that does put very small toy breed dogs and cats on the dinner menu.”
Owens says coyotes are in fact wary of humans so, simply yelling “Go Away,” should send the coyote running and residents should be coyote aware, especially this time of year. Fall is when young coyotes born in the Spring finally get to be on their own.
“They’re a little bit more naive,” Owens said. “They tend to be less cautious so they make more noise and they don’t really know where they are because they’re wondering around in new areas.”
After hearing the news of the attack, Redmond’s neighbor, Joe Wescott says he’s taking no chances.
“Last night, if you want to know the truth, I took my baseball bat with me when I walked my dogs,” Wescott said.
Experts say pet owners should keep their pets inside, leashed or inside a dog proof fence.
When WWAY reached out to the town, Mayor Joe Benson says town leaders are looking into having a public educational forum with wildlife experts to discuss coyote safety.