Local Woman to Present Her Case for Coyote Warnings

Ari LynnMelody Carpenter’s Maltese was attacked and killed by a coyote. Now she wants warning signs in areas where coyotes are active.

Melody Sweetman Carpenter is a woman on a mission. She lost her Maltese after a Coyote attacked her dog in her front yard and she is determined to prevent future attacks from happeneing in populated areas of Manatee County.

After the attack Sweetman Carpenter’s story was picked up by local media outlets and TV news broadcasts, and the Bradenton resident formed an awareness group, Arresting Renegade Invaders (ARI), to combat coyotes in neighborhoods.

On Thursday she will meet with the Manatee County legislative delegation to convince them to create legislation that would get warning signs in neighborhoods where coyotes have been seen. The warning signs are similar to ones in California and Colorado.

She has already sent a written plea to the legislators. The text of her request follows:


“Too many pets, livestock and wildlife have been killed by Coyotes. Even pets that were being walked on leashes have been killed and their owners have been attacked as well.

Something has to be done about it now before someone gets seriously hurt or worse yet dies, as did Taylor Mitchell, a 19-year-old Toronto singer died after being mauled by only two coyotes in a Cape Breton park!

On June 17th at 6 a.m. in our residential neighborhood, Bay Lake Estates in West Bradenton, calm was shattered by the painful shrieks of our 10 lb Maltese dog being killed by a Coyote in our front yard. ( I have graphic pictures of her death if you want them). The Coyote bit her in the Juggler.  It took less than 2 minutes.  We had no idea there were any Coyotes in our neighborhood.

As it turns out there were plenty and a week later I actually photographed  one only two houses away. I cannot tell you how this affected my life and many more who live in Bradenton and throughout the State of Florida who have had their beloved pets killed as well.

When one calls the Wildlife Fish and Game one is told Cayotes are predators, over populated, and they would like us to kill them. They are without funding to address this issue.

I spoke with our local Commissioner, John Chappie and Dave Bristow the communications officer of Manatee Sheriffs Office. However Mr. Chappie also told me there were no funds to help with this ongoing situation. So apparently, at this time it is financially prohibitive to trap or eradicate the Coyotes. Consequently, I know probably the best alternative is signage to promote awareness. I have provided you two examples of Coyote Warning signs.

We have Alligator warning signs.  So why not Coyote signs? They are predators and dangerous.

It would be wonderful to have a representative introduce a bill to promote warning signage for areas affected by dangerous Coyote populations.  I have researched warning signs for Coyotes. California, Colorado, New Mexico and several other states have enacted this practice. I come before you to ask on behalf of all citizens who have had this problem.

I have also included a website to visit. http://www.varmintal.net/attac.htm  This will tell you of many bloody attacks on children and adults by Coyotes and one death. I was on the local news every night for a week after this tragedy as well as in the newspapers from Bradenton to Tampa and I  made my own sign to warn others of the Coyotes in our neighborhood. A Google search of  Melody Sweetman Carpenter will provide links to the extensive coverage this story received. We should not let our pets and friendly wildlife die because of Coyotes. Also we need to protect first and foremost our children. We have not seen a rabbit now in over two years as only one example.”

On Thursday Carpenter, who has since adopted a Maltese mix, will have three minutes to persuade the delegation to take up her issue in the legislative session this year. The meeting begins at 8 a.m. in County Commission Chambers in the County Administration building.


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