Coyotes showing up in neighborhoods near heart of Mandeville

MANDEVILLE, La. - Nuisance coyotes - even bobcats - are starting to show up near the heart of Mandeville in neighborhoods like The Woodlands and The Reserve. They're killing people's pets, and a trapper has captured more than 60 of them in the past year.

Marty Ban lost his entire chicken flock last year, and has had to reinforce his coop to keep the coyotes out.

Mitchell Smith, lost two family pets, Snoop and Ozzie, and found their remains just outside his fence.

"It's been rough on my wife and kids," Smith said.

Enter Ed Singletary, one of St. Tammany's busiest trappers. He says he's getting more and more business from Mandeville neighborhoods, where the amount of new construction is forcing the animals into a smaller area.

Using a toothless trap and cafeteria scraps for bait, Singletary says he can capture a coyote or bobcat within three days, and he says they're virtually everywhere.

"If you had a male and a sow, in two years, they can produce 30 coyotes," he said.

The trappers have a dilemma: The food in them could draw other animals, which could jeopardize people's pets.

Mitchell Smith doesn't want to see what happened to his pets happen to others.

"Don't put anything in the backyard - dog food, or cat food," he said.

But the experts say as the coyote habitat is squeezed, more interaction with humans and their pets is likely.

Singletary urges homeowners to check fences holes and feed pets indoors.