Coyotes, a growing menace in Jupiter Farms and throughout the county, are blamed for Wednesday’s attack that left two small goats dead and four others critically injured at Lori Krohn’s home about four streets from the Loxahatchee Slough.
Two-year-old Buttercup and 3-month-old Candy, both female Nigerian dwarf goats, were killed between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. while they were in an outdoor area surrounded by a 4-foot-tall wooden fence. The goats — Buttercup weighed 50 pounds and Candy about half as much — were taken to a nearby veterinarian.
The vet confirmed the bites on the neck and head were from coyotes, said Krohn, a lifelong resident of the rural, unincorporated area west of Florida’s Turnpike.
“I had goats as a kid. We kept them outside and never had a problem. My neighbors are losing sheep and chickens. I hear the coyotes yipping and howling at night. This is the worst it’s ever been,” Krohn said.
Coyotes likely are the culprits, said David Hitzig, executive director of Busch Wildlife Sanctuary off Central Boulevard in Jupiter. Coyotes have been rescued and brought to the center from Abacoa and the Riverbend Park area in recent years. Hitzig put on a life jacket and swam to rescue a coyote in danger of drowning under a dock in the Intracoastal Waterway off Singer Island a few years ago.
Coyotes have been spotted standing over dead cats in Greenacres, roaming Boynton Beach and Wellington, attacking small dogs in west Boca Raton and killing cats in the Thousand Pines community in West Palm Beach.
“Coyotes are bigger than bobcats and foxes. A 4-foot fence is not going to be an obstacle for them. A while ago in Jupiter Farms, coyotes attacked an emu,” said Hitzig, referring to the fast-moving, flightless birds from Australia that have long necks and legs and can reach up to 6 feet in height.
From Boston to Toronto to Chicago to San Diego, most areas of the continental United States and Canada are dealing with coyotes these days. The skinny, pointy-eared mammals, native to the Midwest west of the Mississippi River, grow to about 45 pounds. As their predators and natural enemies such as mountain lions, panthers and wolves decline, coyotes are spreading out, according to local animal officials.
As development increases in and near Jupiter Farms — new homes at the old Burt Reynolds Ranch, a new RV park off Indiantown Road, a new county park east of Jupiter Farms Road, the 275-house Sonoma Isles development west of Florida’s Turnpike— the coyotes natural habitat is disrupted.
Those coyotes come looking for food at places like Krohn’s property.
Two of her injured goats are expected home soon. The other two will stay at the vet a little longer, said Krohn.
“I want to keep them. They are my pets. They have unique personalities. It’s going to cost me big bucks,” said Krohn.
Here’s animal expert’s advice on how to deal with coyotes:
* Don’t leave food, garbage or unwanted vegetation outside.
* Don’t try to trap a coyote yourself. Call a professional trapper.
* Bring small animals inside at night. Fences don’t keep out coyotes.
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