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Port Aransas residents see increased coyote sightings as city construction grows

The city's animal control officer B.J. Grimes said that recent development is driving the coyotes closer into city limits.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As the city of Port Aransas continues to expand, so does the interaction between coyotes and people.

Paula Barker is a local veterinarian who said she knows, firsthand, the damage coyotes can cause to pets and other small animals.

"We have seen some pretty severe injuries," she said. "We've had several clients that have lost small dogs. They are 10- and 15-pound dogs just snatched right off the deck or out of the yard."

A number of recent coyote attacks have recently been the talk of the town, said resident Kathy Lassiter.

She is not excited about seeing coyotes -- especially since she has pets.

"We are very concerned about the coyotes," she said. "They live here and they hide and they grab your puppy and it's gone," she said.

Animal control officer B.J. Grimes said that recent construction and development in Port Aransas is driving the coyotes closer into city limits.

"You have the construction going on at the nature preserve doing their boardwalk," he said. "You've got construction along the beach for UT's new places for their students, so you're pushing coyotes more and more into town."

Grimes told 3NEWS that there are perhaps 40 coyote dens all around town. He said he can set out traps for coyotes, but then he simply releases them on another side of town because he can't take them out of the city limits.

"We've had multiple animal attacks, multiple animals taken during the night and things like that," he said. "We advise everybody -- don't walk your dogs at dawn or dusk because that's the main times they are out-and-about. Of course, now with all this construction, they're going to be out during the day, so always be cautious."

Coyotes have also been spotted in the dunes behind the Port Aransas High School's softball field along Beach Street. 

In those same dens is where a number of dog collars were found.

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