CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- It was a somber Christmas morning for the Gentile family, after they watched a coyote slaughter their family cat, Molly. This isn't the first time the family has lost a pet to the wild animal.
“He saw our black and white cat in it’s mouth," said Taylor Gentile describing the moment her father, Bill, realized the coyote had gotten ahold of Molly. "This happened exactly six months ago with our other cat, Mindy; where she was also attacked by a coyote and we found her remains as well.”
Gentile says the construction around Cape Coral is to blame for bringing coyotes in the neighborhoods.
“Destroying all the woods, they have nowhere to go other than these neighborhoods here... I believe that’s driven all of the wild, more wild animals here in the Cape."
As the Gentile family buries the remains of Molly, neighbors say that they’ll be ready to protect themselves and their animals if another coyote turns up, including bringing out a gun.
“I’ll try other means to stop it first but if it came down to it, I would use the gun to stop the coyote," said Lee Wolf, dog owner and neighbor of the Gentiles.
Florida Wildlife Conservation tells Fox 4 it is legal to shoot a coyote on private property with the landowners permission, "but homeowners should check with their local sheriff's office or police department for firearm ordinances before discharging a firearm."
FWC also suggested that cats should be kept indoors and small dogs on a leash when going outside.