SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. — Carrie Toothman said she’s infuriated and fears for her family’s safety after she said a coyote took her Yorkie Twinkles from her backyard on Ibis Ln. this week.
She said she opened her lanai to let Twinkles out to use the bathroom Monday night, without a leash, like she’s been doing for nearly ten years.
“In a matter of two and a half seconds, I heard a yelp and I heard running. I heard a larger animal, larger than mine running through these woods behind me,” she said pointing to the wooded area just steps away from her home.
She said that yelp was the last noise she would hear Twinkles make.
“It was very traumatic,” said Toothman. “It’s going to take a very long time to get over this.”
Sanibel Police Department said a couple weeks ago two coyotes chased after a neighbor walking her dog on Anchor Dr., but luckily they ran into a nearby home and waited for the coyotes to leave.
Toothman said with a new school year right around the corner, she's concerned about her daughter catching the school bus, especially in the morning while it's still dark out.
"We absolutely don't feel safe. I'll make sure she's driven to the bus stop every single morning, without a doubt," she said.
Police recommend keeping dogs on a non-retractable leash when you walk them. They also suggest making a coyote shaker, by filling an empty bottle with pennies, washers, or pebbles anything to make noise to scare the coyotes away.
But Toothman said she wants authorities to do more to protect everyone living on the island. A study by the University of Georgia sited as many as 67 coyotes on the island in recent years.
“I want somebody to take action for this. This is ridiculous. We have trappers, we have CROW, we have wildlife,” she said. “You know where they’re at. If you can count them. You can kill them.”
SPD also recommend making loud noises and throwing things to scare coyotes away. They also said avoid walking dogs when it’s dark, and call the police department’s non-emergency line at 239-472-3111 to report coyote sightings.