SAN LEON, Texas (FOX 26) - Coyotes are terrorizing towns in east Galveston County where they are killing pets and leaving people in fear.
In San Leon, the not so friendly neighbors who look like skinny German Shepherds are attacking and even killing family pets like Chewy and Roxy.
“Roxy was two years old. I got her on my birthday and I lost her on my birthday. There was three coyotes here and two down the street. One had already taken my chihuahua and one of them had grabbed my yorkie and she was screaming,” explains Sherry Vellemez.
We met up with a group of ladies in Clear Lake Shores who were holding and loving on a couple of baby chicks who are the only survivors of a coyote attack on Sunday. One resident saw the mother duck and six of her babies killed by a coyote.
"That’s why we’re taking care of these two little ones now. Hoping we can help them grow up,” explains Eileen Ponton.
Three days after the ducks, Roselyn Pierce-Shirley’s goose Lucy was also killed. Lucy was featured in books written by Roselyn. "I bought Lucy. I bought her at a rescue farm,” but Roselyn doesn’t finish her sentence. She instead leans on her friend and begins sobbing.
"Coyotes are an opportunistic species. Whether you leave garbage out or you leave your pets or children unattended they will take the opportunity,” explains Clark Kyle who is a Wildlilfe Biologist with Wildernex Wildlife Control.
"We understand coyotes are coyotes and they do what they do and we miss our animals when we lose them. The greater picture is our children,” adds Clear Lake Shores City Councilwoman Angie Terrell.
Why is the area having so many coyote attacks? Kyle says it's a combination of things. Humans are moving into their habitat as more homes are developed and in turn taking away their food supply.
“In the past there would be all sorts of rabbits crossing the road. These days you don’t hardly see any at all. I think their food source is becoming depleted They are desperate,” says San Leon resident George Dismukes.
Who says a selfie or two is harmless? "It went from ‘Man, there’s a coyote let’s be careful.' To, 'oh boy, there’s a coyote let's take a picture'. So coyotes are becoming desensitized to the human presence,” explains Kyle, who also says coyotes can easily get over or under fences, often hiding from prey in bushes and travel in packs.
"I feel that maybe if there are so many we need to re-home them,” says Vellemez.
As residents in east Galveston County try to figure out what to do about the animals, they’ve learned coyotes usually aren't removed by the state or county. Typically you have to call a private company for what’s considered “nuisance" animals.
Kyle says if you don’t leave out food, garbage or unattended pets and kids you probably won’t attract coyotes to your property.