Protecting people from coyotes

- Indian Harbour Police say last week, residents called to complain about a coyote prowling around their home in the 100 block of Algonquin Terrace.

“They tried to scare it away, but the coyotes wouldn’t react as they walked around their property" said chief David Butler. "And they were very concerned.”

In what has been an ongoing battle against coyotes in the past year and a half here, a new weapon in Indian Harbour Beach's arsenal was deployed by a police sergeant in this most recent coyote conflict: an animal tranquilizer gun. The chief of police here says the gun, which is made by Pneu Dart, Inc, is an unusual, but necessary addition to the department.

“I felt this was another measure to enhance public safety in Indian Harbour Beach" said chief Butler.

The chief says he purchased the tranquilizer gun and trained four of his sergeants for about a $1000. The darts in the gun have a range of about 45 yards and it injects a solution that temporarily immobilizes a dangerous animal.

Indian Harbour Beach added the tranquilizer gun a little less than a year ago, but they deployed it for the first time on the coyote call at Algonquin Terrace last week. It's the same gun used by Brevard County animal control officers, but this one is kept at the police station in a locker so their officers can respond quickly to the frequent coyote calls here.

"I don’t want any of our citizens to get hurt by a coyote" said Chief Butler.

In April of last year, the city hired wildlife trappers to set traps to remove coyotes that were believed to have killed a cat near Gleason Park. They were removed after residents voiced concerns about a state law requiring any captured coyotes be euthanized.

The tranquilizer gun has only been used one time since police purchased the tranquilizer gun, but say the animal was not hit. To further combat the coyote problem, a wildlife trapper has returned and set traps at Algonquin Park in Indian Harbour Beach. The city manager says if a coyote is tranquilized or trapped, the city says it will first attempt to relocate the animal. But if that cannot be done, state law requires it be euthanized.

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