New danger rising from the drought

July 22, 2011 2:33:31 AM PDT
The city of Houston is warning residents of a new danger that's rising from the ongoing drought -- coyotes.

There's a big reason families in Braeswood Place are keeping a close eye on their pets right now -- wild animals.

"My neighbor found the cat basically eaten in her front yard about a week and a half ago," pet owner Melissa Aldrich said.

Aldrich lost her cat, Keejay, and now she's keeping her surviving cat, Peppy, indoors. Aldrich and her neighbors say they're positive it's a coyote that's been attacking and killing pets in their neighborhood overnight.

"There'd been other reports of people in the neighborhood losing cats, or finding them mauled or the cats would just disappear," Aldrich said.

Houston's animal control department, or BARC, is now looking into the coyote sightings in the area.

Workers say it's possible the heat and dry conditions have the coyotes creeping away from Braes bayou and on to residential streets.

"It's a little scary, frankly. You know, with little kids and animals and pets running around here, that these coyotes can come into our neighborhood," pet owner David Lipp said.

For now, animal control officers are advising families living near the bayou to keep pets indoors, especially overnight.

"I've got two dogs here that I like playing with, and I like leaving out in the backyard, and it worries me that coyotes are running around," pet owner Bryan Christ said.

Animal control's also advising pet owners to avoid leaving any trash or food in the yard that could attract the wild animals.

Neighbors in Braeswood Place are working with animal control to set coyote traps.

If you spot a coyote roaming in your area, the city's urging you to report it to BARC at 713-229-7300.

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