YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A neighborhood in Westchester County is divided over what to do about coyotes.
Some neighbors want them captured and killed, and others want the wild animals protected.
Mike Basile is heartbroken over the loss of his two pet cats — one he called simply “Black Cat,” and the other a 17-year-old named socks.
He showed CBS2’s Brian Conybeare the memorial garden that he and his wife put together.
“He slept on my pillow or right under my arm,” the Yorktown Heights resident said. “It was devastating and the hardest part was when I found his remains in the woods.”
Basile blames several coyotes he caught on camera roaming his neighborhood near Sparkle Lake. Now, he’s hired licensed trapper Dave Dilworth to legally catch and euthanize the coyotes.
“These coyotes come in, they hunt for a living,” Dilworth tells CBS2. “That’s how they survive. When it comes to public safety, you have to do what you have to do humanely.”
While some local pet owners may want the coyotes caught, one neighbor is actually siding with the predators and doesn’t want them trapped.
“I think coyotes are definitely a large part of our ecosystem so it’s beneficial to have them around,” resident Ashley Croft-Moore said.
Croft-Moore put up a sign reading “Save The Coyotes” and called state wildlife officials to try and stop the trapper.
“I personally feel they want to inhumanely capture and kill them,” she said.
She also admits feeding wild animals in the neighborhood.
“It’s an unnatural food source that’s attracting these animals in so they’re hunting it more than usual and on their way back and forth they’re coming across these domestic animals and it’s just easy pickings,” Dilworth said.
It’s something Mike Basile is all too familiar with.
“They’re going to kill again because that’s what they do, and I just don’t want anybody who has a baby and there’s a lot of young kids int his area to be attacked,” he said.
All things considered, the coyotes days may be numbered.