Workshop planned next week as town reaches out to land owners as potential relocation sites.
Longboat Key commissioners are reaching out to owners of large pieces of land in both Sarasota and Manatee counties to see if coyotes trapped in the town could be released on their property.
Town Manager Tom Harmer said this is an informal effort by the town to accommodate some residents’ concerns about the animals, which showed up on the island last summer and sparked fears from residents about the safety of their pets.
Florida wildlife regulations require a trapped nuisance animal be relocated within the same county it was trapped, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said. Experts have said coyotes are very smart, difficult to trap and would likely return to their territory if relocated.
“If you see them, report them,” Harmer said. “The FWC said private property owners have a right to trap them.”
The FWC is holding two public forums about coyotes on Monday, Dec. 17. The first is 10 a.m. to noon at All Angels Episcopal Church, 563 Bay Isles Road and from 2 to 4 p.m. at Christ Church 6400 Gulf of Mexico Drive.
The presentation, similar to the one the town held in late August, will focus on what to do if a coyote is encountered and how to protect yourself, as well as small children and pets; how to prevent problems and limit attraction to your property; nuisance coyotes in residential neighborhoods, and problems relocating coyotes from their natural habitats.
Coyotes typically weigh less than 30 pounds and are not interested in humans but are known to get into trash cans and eat pet food left outside. Their natural prey are small animals. In last summer's workshop, FWC experts theorized Longboat could be home to possibly four coyotes.
The animal is regularly found in all of Florida's 67 counties.
Last month, Longboat police reported receiving a call from the owner of Sarasota Wildlife Trappers who reported being contacted by a town resident interested in hiring the company to kill a coyote spotted in a Longboat neighborhood. The caller was unidentified, the trapper told police.
According to police, the town resident was worried the coyote would run up and grab her small dog off its leash. The trapper told the resident that he would not respond to the request and also wanted police to know the resident was shopping for a trapper to kill the coyote, the police report said.
Police Chief Pete Cumming said his officers have not received any reports of a coyote sighting in two weeks. And none of the dozens of reports the town has received since last July have indicated anything threatening.
“There has been no single act of aggression,” Cumming said.