Killeen resident warns others after coyote kills her cat


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Mar 18, 2024

Killeen resident warns others after coyote kills her cat

Elaine Craig’s security camera captured the incident, showing a coyote grabbing her cat from the flower bed. The wild animal was scared off by her sprinkler system. Killeen resident Elaine Craig is

Elaine Craig’s security camera captured the incident, showing a coyote grabbing her cat from the flower bed. The wild animal was scared off by her sprinkler system.

Killeen resident Elaine Craig is warning her neighbors and community members about the threats of coyote attacks after one of the wild animals killed her cat, Tom.

Craig’s security camera captured the incident in her Lonesome Dove neighborhood in west Killeen.

Killeen resident Elaine Craig is warning community members about the threats of coyote attacks. Her cat Tom was killed by the wild animal in her backyard in Killeen’s Lonesome Dove neighborhood in the early morning hours.

“In the morning, a coyote came and grabbed my cat from the flower bed,” Craig said. “He started to eat him, but the sprinklers went off at 4:30 a.m., and that scared him away.”

She said collecting Tom’s remains from her backyard was a traumatizing experience.

“It was terrible,” Craig said.

Tom, a large cat of approximately 26 pounds, was a stray cat before Craig took him in.

“The only reason my cat was out was because he used to be a stray cat, and I couldn’t keep him in,” she said.

Craig reached out to neighbors in person and on the neighborhood online community Nextdoor to share the traumatizing event and make people aware of the risk.

“I talked to several people, and there is a pack (of coyotes) that lives at the end of Cody Poe (Road) in those woods and on that walking trail that is right off of Robinett (Road),” she said. “There are a lot of sightings.”

Craig also noticed that many stray cats and smaller dogs have disappeared in her neighborhood. Now, she is worried that the next victim might not be a pet but a child.

“What if this happens to a child?” she said. “It keeps getting dryer, so they will keep coming into the neighborhood to look for whatever they can find ... This is really scary.”

While such cases are rare, coyotes attacking humans have been documented. A 2-year-old boy was attacked by a coyote on the porch of his Dallas home in 2022, according to media reports.

According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, coyotes are slender, dog-like carnivores and resemble a small German Shepherd. A coyote weighs, on average, between 25 and 40 pounds and is common throughout Texas.

“They are everywhere across the state,” said Bell County Game Warden Brandt F. Bernstein.

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department website states the wild animal has adapted easily to expanding human communities into their habitat and can occasionally be found in urban and suburban neighborhoods.

“We are trying to learn how to coexist, but at the end of the day ... we are taking away their natural habitat,” Bernstein said.

Leaving a green belt in new developments creates an active corridor for all wild resources, including predatory and prey.

“If we are not careful, we are providing (wild animals) with easy opportunities to gather a meal,” Bernstein said. “If we are taking our small pets out and let them run free unregulated, it’s simple for a wild animal to prey upon them.”

Although coyotes are most often seen in the early morning or just before sunset, they hunt at all hours of the day and night. Yet, there are ways to prevent incidents with most wildlife.

“The typical wild animal doesn’t want to have anything to do with you,” Bernstein said.

The game warden recommended minimizing easily accessible food and water sources, such as easily accessible trash cans, pet food or bird feeders, and pool water, as well as removing possible shelters, such as overgrown bushes or shrubs.

“People need to be aware,” he said. “If you are feeding the neighborhood cats by putting cat food on your porch, you are also inviting those other critters and those who prey on them to come in.”

While it is not illegal in Texas to hunt coyotes or other predatory animals with a proper hunting license, Bernstein said local laws could limit these regulations further as you are not allowed to discharge a firearm within city limits.

Yet, residents have options under the pretense of the threat of safety to property.

“If you are a homeowner who lost a cat or a dog in your backyard and you don’t want that to happen again, you can set up a trap,” Bernstein said. “There is no license required by the state because it’s your property.”

There is more than one kind of varmint in Bell County — like unwanted, pesky, but sometimes cute wild animals.

You can find sympathy between sh*t and syphilis in the dictionary.

People think it's okay to just turn their cats out to roam the city. The leash laws apply to cats just as much as they do to dogs.

If you care for your pets then keep the secured. Roaming the neighborhood is not okay!

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