St. Pete man believes coyote killed his cat

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"I don't want this to happen to anyone else," said St. Petersburg resident Ander Preble.

On Tuesday, he made a heartbreaking discovery.  His 12-year-old cat, Puma, had been missing.

"Today I was cleaning my pool.  I was going to turn the pump on and I found her tail that was detached on the side of the yard," he said.

He suspects a coyote got to his outdoor cat, possibly by jumping over his backyard fence.  He says a friend spotted one nearby just weeks earlier, and took two photos.

"I was really upset because first of all, it was a very violent death and second, I've had her so long," he said.

Sadly, deadly coyote encounters are not uncommon here in Florida.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says they're even more prevalent in urban areas because coyotes tend to find more food there.

"What people should do to protect their pets is not let their cats and dogs roam free, and if they're walking their dog, it should be on a short leash and avoid areas of heavy foliage," said FWC spokesperson Gary Morse.

He says be especially cautious during the dusk or dawn hours when coyotes are most active.  Also take away any food sources like pet food, fallen fruit or garbage.  

Coyotes are considered opportunistic eaters.

For more info on living with coyotes, click here: