Growing Coyote Problem Has Lox Groves Council Concerned

Loxahatchee Groves has a coyote problem, and the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council discussed ways of reducing it at a meeting Tuesday.

Former Councilman Dr. Bill Louda asked whether council members had sought any advice or help from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission about the growing number of coyotes in the area.

“There is a pack on A Road that had gone on to the Rare Species Conservatory grounds the other day,” Louda said. “They didn’t eat anything, but this could be deleterious to a lot of people who are raising chickens, goats, small cattle, whatever.”

Louda asked Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office District 15 Commander Lt. David Combs if it is legal for people to shoot coyotes invading their property, and Combs said that it is legal in Loxahatchee Groves, but warned that anyone intending to shoot one should be very cautious and anticipate where a missed shot could land.

Vice Mayor Ron Jarriel agreed that the situation is getting worse.

“We do have professionals who get paid to trap them, but I think the council needs to make contact through the game commission and see if we can do something about it legally and get some help,” Jarriel said. “You are allowed to shoot them. Anytime something is endangering your animals on your property, you can take them out. They are getting to be a problem, and they travel at night. They do not move during the day.”

Mayor Dave Browning was in accord on the problem.

“I would hate to think that Loxahatchee Groves would have to go to anybody else to cure that problem,” Browning said. “There’s a little thing that you are allowed to use with coyotes, and it’s called a wounded rabbit recording. If you set yourself up a blind at dusk and start the recording, they come running, and a 12-gauge with number 4 [buckshot] does not bother your neighbors, but it sure will disrupt the coyote’s digestive system.”

Councilman Tom Goltzené added that a light can be used to hunt them.

In other business:

• The council gave final approval to a development moratorium on Okeechobee Blvd. until May 31 to give the town time to develop changes to the comprehensive plan and uniform land development code to reflect lower density on Okeechobee Blvd. than on Southern Blvd., which is where the town prefers to have commercial development focused. A motion by Councilman Ryan Liang carried 5-0.

• The council also approved the final reading of changes to the ULDC to delete definitions of animals and livestock and exotic species on agricultural land so they do not conflict with state statutes. Councilman Jim Rockett made a motion to approve the ordinance, which carried 5-0.

• Town Manager Bill Underwood reported that the Palm Beach County Commission in a 5-2 decision earlier that day had approved the sale of land where the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce building is located to the town for $20,000.

Underwood said he would take steps to finalize an agreement with the chamber for the sale of the building to the town for no more than $480,000. The land sale was part of that agreement. Part of the agreement was that the land remain in public use, he said.

Underwood and Town Attorney Michael Cirullo recommended that a survey be done on the land, but Browning and Jarriel objected.

“That land has been surveyed so many times,” Browning said. “I would just as soon use their survey. It’s not like we have a neighbor there who is going to say that five or 10 feet is theirs.”

Rockett made a motion to approve a survey, which carried 3-2 with Browning and Jarriel opposed.

• Underwood said the town had received a proposed interlocal agreement from the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District for the maintenance of town roads and will get it on the council agenda as soon as he has had time to analyze it.

Jarriel pointed out that the LGWCD board will meet Monday and asked whether the accord could be reviewed by then.

“I will give it a yeoman’s effort, but don’t shoot me if I don’t get it complete,” Underwood said. “We will make that effort.”

“We’re not allowed to shoot you,” Browning said. “We shoot coyotes, but we can’t shoot management.”

• Underwood said he has not heard from Minto regarding its paying for a traffic light at Okeechobee Blvd. and D Road required by the county commission as a condition of approval for Minto West, but planned to call their representatives this week to learn the status of the agreement.

• Cirullo reported that the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office’s targeted enforcement team recently made its first arrest of an illegal manure hauler.