(Tybee, GA) An apparent problem with coyotes on Tybee Island was compounded Monday night when authorities say "someone took matters into their own hands" and shot and killed a coyote on the beach near 18th Street.
Public Works officials say crews found the dead coyote early Tuesday morning during a regular beach sweep. One official told me that there may be as many as four or five now on the Island but that they had "never exhibited any real aggressive behavior."
It is against city ordinance to discharge a weapon in public areas, including the beach. Now city leaders and some town residents are wondering what to do next.
"I think all of us were hoping for a humane solution to this," says Joy Clements, who's lived on Tybee for about three years.
Clements and several other people I spoke to say that the animals have become a concern in the past year. "They are getting to the point where they seem to be less afraid of humans," she said.
She said word in town is that some people's cats had been attacked. We haven't been able to confirm that with the City at this time however.
Clements said many on Tybee found out about the incident Tuesday after the crews found the coyote on the beach. "It's just something that some people didn't think needed to happened, it sounds like the City planned to take care of it in a different way," she told us.
The City Council recently voted to purchase a tranquilizer gun for up to $1,000 and to dispose of the coyotes by eventually removing them from the island. According to a city spokesperson the purchase of the tranquilizer gun will still take place despite Monday's discovery.
Clements says she's not sure what should happen to the person who killed the coyote but thinks something should. "I think if they can find the shooter, that person should at least be fined," she said.
One man walking on the beach said he had lived on the island for some time. He didn't want to be identified but says he is concerned about the incident. "A public beach is not the place to shoot off a gun," he says.