SULLIVAN’S ISLAND — A woman who said a coyote killed her cat prompted police to issue an advisory about the predators, Mayor Mike Perkis said.
However, the resident who lives near Station 17 later said she had not actually seen a coyote but assumed that one had attacked her pet, Perkis said.
“It could have been a fox, raccoon or dog,” he said.
Nevertheless, the town is advising residents to keep small pets inside at night and not leave food outside.
“We have seen coyotes. Unless they become a nuisance, we’re just going to monitor them,” Perkis said.
Coyotes help control rodents, he said.
The coyote advisory is posted at the town website.
“All vulnerable pets, pet food, garbage and the like should be secured,” it says.
Bill Wall, who has a home on Sullivan’s, said coyotes have been spotted in downtown Atlanta, including one seen in broad daylight with a cat in its mouth. Wall said he keeps his cats and dogs indoors.
“It’s a little surprising out here on the island,” he said.
Derrell Shipes, state wildlife biologist, said coyotes are in every county in the state. They typically lay low during the day and roam at night, he said.
“We encourage that they be shot or trapped or killed,” Shipes said.
Local gun laws apply, he said.
In some beach areas, coyotes have been known to eat sea turtle eggs, he said.
Generally, coyotes avoid people unless they have been conditioned otherwise by the presence of food left outside, he said.
Paula Chaney of Mount Pleasant was visiting the island on Friday. She has seen coyotes running across Clements Ferry Road.
“We’ve had neighbors tell me that their cat has been killed,” she said.
Memorial Waterfront Park has signs posted advising that coyotes have been spotted. They were said to be in Patriots Point last year, two years after 14 were trapped in response to attacks on dogs.
Isle of Palms City Administrator Linda Tucker said she had not received reports of coyotes. Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said the same.