SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - "We’ve seen an increased number of them here in the last couple months.
Luther Sasser has lived on Anna Maria for 30 years...he can’t ever remember a problem with coyotes in the time he’s lived here until now. He and other family members have had numerous sightings near their home.
“The other day on Spring Avenue there was one in the middle of the road before dark, had traffic stopped," said Sasser. "And then the other day, my six-year-old son called me from down the road and said there was one in front of the Kingfish Boat Ramp.”
There have also been many sightings around Hardin Avenue. Just south of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach has been experiencing the same problem with many coyote sightings as well. Heidi Hassan is visiting Anna Maria Island from California. She tells us there are many coyotes roaming around in her state, so she’s not afraid of them, but she is always extra careful while walking her dog.
“Basically the recommendation is to always keep your dog on a leash and keep your pets inside overnight and coyotes don’t want anything to do with humans, they’re more afraid of us then we are of them,” said Hassan.
Officials on Anna Maria Island are now discussing how to handle the problem. Wildlife expert Justin Matthews says there are three ways to handle this situation. To trap and relocate a coyote on a property that’s at least 40 acres with permission from the property owner, shoot a coyote if it’s on your property but each city has their own rules regarding that or just learn to live with them.
“They will raid your garbage just like the raccoons do and they’re just trying to find another place to live because their place has been destroyed,” said Matthews.
Recently coyotes have even been spotted roaming some of the area beaches.
The Florida Wildlife Commission says they have reached out to Anna Maria to offer technical assistance and regulation information.