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Mar 18 2016

Letter To The Editor: Listen To The Experts In Coyote Debate

Dear Editor,

As a resident of the IOP, I would like to thank the administration and elected officials on the island for offering the informative and educational forum last week regarding coyotes.

It is unfortunate that a loud group of residents spent so much time voicing their opinions about the situation instead of truly hearing the factual information offered by the experts.

We listened to people make dramatic blood-curdling charges, some based on hear-say and gossip, and conclusions that ran the gamut from demanding that our police and animal control round up and kill all coyotes, up to and including a threat by one person that he would use a firearm himself on coyotes on the island. We heard every possible hysterical prediction, ranging from coyotes are “gonna get grannie,” to coyotes are “gonna get their cats and dogs.” A statement was made that a coyote was seen with a dead cat in it’s mouth, and therefore the coyote was responsible. The plausible argument that the cat could have already been dead, due to roadkill, rat poison, or some other incident, was discounted. The fabricated claim that the coyotes are eating turtle eggs was shot down by none other than Mary Pringle herself. Someone else stated there are no more birds in her yard due to coyotes.

She should consider feral cats instead. And, for an added bit of drama to the pocketbook sensitive, a warning was issued that, heaven forbid, the news will get out and our tourist business will go down the toilet. Terrible! It’s a terrestrial version of “Jaws” right on our own little island!

I was embarrassed that people who should be aware of the fragile nature of our very existence here would demand that we “cut down all the green stuff in the dunes” so that the coyotes do not have a place to live. News flash to those people: cut down the green stuff and you won’t have a place to live either.

So here is what else is on the Isle of Palms and environs that will “get ya” black widow spiders, poisonous snakes, rats, mice, raccoon, opossums, fox, hawks, eagles, alligators, and our ever lovin’ fire ants. And then there is the ocean with the sharks, rays, crabs and undertows.

Of course, the biggest risk to ourselves and our pet’s life and limb is actually us: Drunk driving, driving while texting, speeding and tailgating; too much sun on the beach; rat poison under houses; dogs off leash on the streets; defenseless de-clawed cats that are let outside; and swimming too far off-shore. And then there are the careless ones that leave their pets in the car on a hot day. Many more accidents can be attributed to these factors than to coyotes. And while all of the aforementioned have been known to actually kill people, cats, and dogs, there is still no definitive evidence that a coyote has killed anything on the island.

Either I, or friends, have had heart-breaking losses of pets. Sometimes they just go missing, and we never know what happened. Others have been lost to owls, snakes, and alligators. Lately I learned of an eagle taking a cat at a Wild Dunes golf course, and several years ago a Barred Owl took a puppy just up the road, and an alligator took a boy’s pet dog.

These are facts. To assume that we can control all these things, and our entire environment, is preposterous. And if we could and did, and if the people making these claims and demands were in charge, it would not be a place where anyone would want to live, because it would be devoid of life.

It is always beneficial to learn from individuals who speak in terms of facts, and not fabrication and exaggeration. DNR, the Police, members of council, and the Humane Society all offered excellent advice and should have been shown greater courtesy.

Carol Jaworski

Isle of Palms

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