MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - On Wednesday night, nearly 200 residents voiced their concerns about the increase in coyote sightings throughout the city of Myrtle Beach.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was on hand to explain why these sightings have become more frequent.
Part of the reason is because this is their mating season, plus with the colder temperatures they are scavenging for food.
Over a dozen Myrtle Beach residents said their biggest concern is their safety, their children’s safety and their pets being attacked.
“Statistically, fatal attacks are very rare,” said Jay Butfiloski.
Butfiloski has been with the SCDNR for 20 years, which has seen the coyote population increase significantly since appearing in South Carolina in 1978.
“We have lost animals to coyotes before, it was a cat and my big concern is one day it could happen to a child,” said Dan Conley.
According to SCDNR, trapping the is the most common practice and shooting the animal is controlled by individual city ordinances.
“The state law is flexible in terms of what you can do, however once you come in the city limits discharging a firearm becomes an issue,” said Butfiloski.
While no plan of action was taken, Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune assured the city is taking these concerns seriously.
“We could kill 95 percent of the coyotes within the city limits but they are still going to repopulate. We are still going to have a problem and it is a nationwide problem,” said Bethune.
Animal control specialist do work with the SCDNR to capture and euthanize coyotes within the state.
A petition is also being signed by residents to have the city develop a plan to control and eradicate the growing population of the coyotes within city limits.