Coyote mauls Tyronza family pets, may extend to Jonesboro

TYRONZA, AR (KAIT) – Cats have turned up dead in people's yards across Tyronza, but a camera finally caught one of the suspects.

A neighbor recently snapped a picture of a rather large coyote in his yard using a motion-activated camera. City officials say, once again, the wild animals have begun roaming around residential streets.

"You know, I can take the loss of a cat more than someone being attacked by a coyote," Mayor Marion Bearden said.

Bearden says both, however, are real concerns. Neighbors have recently reported finding dead cats and other small animals near their homes. The killings fit a recurring pattern around this time of year, and only one suspect comes to mind.

"We're trying to not scare the people," Bearden said, "but we want our citizens to be aware that we do have a problem and try to educate them as to what they can do to prevent the coyotes from continuing to come in."

Tony Turner, the Tyronza police chief, says the photo taken by the neighbor confirms hunger has driven the carnivores into some of the town's most populated areas.

"A lot of people don't think that a coyote will come inside a city," Turner said. "Until this started happening, even myself, I didn't think that they would either. Through research and investigating, we've learned that they do definitely come into town."

Turner learned, between the months of May and August, coyotes exhibit more aggressive behavior, as they widen a desperate search for food. That's why neighbors report seeing them circling the streets of Tyronza. The police chief even responded to a call recently about a prowler, only to find a pack of coyotes had set off security lights on a home.

"You know, normally, people think the only time you're going to see a coyote is at nighttime," Turner explained, "but unfortunately we're starting to see them even during the daytime."

Both the mayor and police chief now advise their neighbors to take certain safety precautions to protect their families and their pets. They say people should bring their animals indoors and refrain from leaving any pet food outside, as this is what attracts coyotes the most.

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