• Windermere residents fear overgrown golf course to blame for coyote sightings, pet attacks

    By: Jeff Deal

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Coyotes are being blamed for killing three pets this week in an Orange County neighborhood.

     

    The houses are on a Windermere golf course that shut down more than a year ago, and since then has overgrown with tall grass.

     

    Read: Maintenance worker tries to save dog attacked by coyotes in Winter Park

     

    Residents fear the coyotes are attracted to the small animals that live in the grass, bringing the coyotes closer to their homes and pets.

     

    "Right up here along the ridge line on the old golf course, there's a pack of them, like four or five,” said resident Jim McAvoy.

     

    Read: Coyote snatches woman's dog in The Villages

     

    McAvoy has seen coyotes roaming behind many of his neighbors' homes.

     

    In recent weeks, small pets began to disappear, including three cats this week,

     

    Resident Johnny Dyal said he has heard similar reports of missing pets from surrounding communities near Windermere.

     

    Read: FAQ about coyotes

     

    The area is surrounded by lakes and woods, and it's not the first time residents have had coyote encounters.

     

    In 2013, we showed Windermere had a town hall meeting about coyotes when pets started disappearing.

     

    One of McAvoy’s neighbors had a frightening encounter a year or so ago.

     

    "They took the neighbor's dog right off the leash. She was walking the dog. The coyote came at it and snatched it,” he said.

     

    He believes the coyotes are becoming aggressive and more used to people.

     

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation responded to 17 incidents involving coyotes in Orange County last year, but residents believe there are some that go unreported.

     

    WATCH: What you need to know about coyotes 

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