Lighthouse Point resident Tom Dinapoli was walking his poodle the night of July 6, when he spotted what appeared to be a coyote. He called 911, and Longboat Key Police Officer Randy Thompson responded to the scene. The coyote appeared to weigh approximately 70 pounds and seemed tame.
“It was not aggressive and appeared to not be afraid of us,” stated Thompson in his report.
Police made numerous attempts to contain the animal but were unsuccessful.
According to Police Chief Al Hogle, other officers saw the creature around St. Armands Circle.
“It was a coyote look-alike,” said Hogle.
But earlier this month, Kevin Fuller, of Maitland, who was vacationing at Gulf Tides of Longboat Key, reported to police that his Siberian husky, Maggie, was lost. According to a police report, Fuller described Maggie as having gray and brown long hair, yellow eyes and a medium build. She wasn’t wearing a collar because she often pulls her collar loose.
Police told Fuller that they had received reports of a coyote sighting, and Fuller agreed that Maggie could be mistaken for a coyote.
Hogle put out an alert to other police departments, and over the weekend, Maggie was found in Sarasota.
Dinapoli said he was relieved to learn that the creature in question wasn’t a coyote.
“When I walked my dog at night, I didn’t want anybody taking a bite out of him,” he said.
Hogle said that in his eight years with the Longboat Key Police Department, he is not aware of any coyotes that have ventured onto the island.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]