Cat-Killing Coyotes Have New Haven on Edge

Many living In New Haven's East Shore neighborhood say they can hear coyotes howling at night and they are doing more than just keeping people awake, they are killing beloved pets.

"We had the windows open and they were loud -- howling, barking and so forth -- and we looked right out and they were here," David Cofrancesco, a Kneeland Road resident, said.

Cofrancesco saw two coyotes on his front walk last month, the day after his cat of 15 years went missing.

"We think coyotes got her," said Cofrancesco. "Although she's an outdoor cat, she wouldn't go out very long, just a few minutes. And then she didn't come back."

This isn't the only case.

Cofrancesco's neighbor across the street found a mauled dead cat in her front yard.

There are missing cat posters up on power poles. One shows a picture of a neighborhood cat named "Big," who has been missing since June 20.

A community watch group said eight cats have gone missing this summer. Two have been found mauled to death.

"It's sad, because a cat's a pet and to see that happen doesn't make you feel good, obviously," Cofrancesco said. "But at the same time, coyotes are wild animals and they don't have a lot of land."

Several neighbors say they believe construction at Tweed New Haven Airport is forcing the coyotes into their neighborhoods to look for food.

"They knocked down a lot of woods there," said Cofrancesco. "It seems that it coincided with seeing them more frequently."

As she walked her dog Katie Tuesday night, Kristin Telles said she wasn't worried about Katie, but she understands other pet owners concerns.

"It's always something to be aware of," said Telles. "Know what's around, so you are paying attention and keeping track of your pets."

The coyotes have only been spotted at night, so keeping cats inside at night should help them safe.

New Haven seems to have an extreme case, but it's not the only neighborhood with cat-killing coyotes. A Bristol resident said coyotes in her city killed her cat on Aug. 3.

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