Clearwater man has warning for pet owners after Yorkie killed by coyotes

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – A Clearwater man is warning neighbors to keep their pets protected and yards secure after he says coyotes snatched and killed his small dog. 

James Devito has lived on Sharkey Road for four years and says he’s never seen as many coyotes running around as he has in the last six months. When he can, he tries to grab photos or videos of coyotes in his yard on his cell phone. 

It’s been a week and a half since Devito says coyotes carried off his tiny Yorkie named “Gucci.”

Devito said he let Gucci out to go to the bathroom in his screen-in pool area like he did every night. But suddenly, he heard a loud yelp. 

He went outside and the dog was nowhere to be found.

“I mean, they’re huge. One is like 40-50 lbs,” Devito said.

By law, Devito can hire a trapper to take care of the coyotes.

But he said he hates the idea of paying hundreds of dollars to have them killed.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission doesn’t offer a relocation program.

“What they should do is they should trap them and maybe neuter them. People say, ‘oh we’re taking over their land.’ That’s not true there’s been no new building here, they’re just reproducing,” Devito said.

The day after Gucci disappeared, Devito installed motion sensor lights all around his property.

He’s also vowed to watch his other dogs like a hawk, never letting them out without having something to keep the coyotes at bay.

“If you’ve got a little dog 10 pounds and under, even if you have them on a leash, I’d be very hesitant about walking without having some type of a pole or bat or something. To just beat them off because they’re hungry,” he said.

FWC said you’re allowed to hunt or trap coyotes year around if you are on your own property.

You can also report coyote activity at

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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