ROWLETT — Many Rowlett homeowners fear that their backyards have become hunting grounds for a pair of coyotes.
The animals have been seen hopping backyard fences and snatching small pets. Five cats and dogs have been killed in two weeks.
On Monday, the city shut down a popular nature trail that runs behind dozens of homes in southeast Rowlett so they could set traps for the predatory canines.
Ray Moyer supports the decision. He said a pair of coyotes came within feet of his children.
"They're actively hunting around here, and they're hunting anything they can find," Moyer said.
One homeowner recently captured a coyote on videotape eating a small animal in his front yard.
"The frequency and the location of the activity is what's prompted us to go ahead and take action that is somewhat abnormal," said Rowlett Environmental Services Manager Joe Tilger.
Coyotes roaming neighborhoods are certainly not new to North Texas, and the nature trail shutdown drew a protest from some who say the animals have just as much right to be here as the people.
"I think mainly it's a case of over-reaction," said Bonnie Bradshaw, one of the protesters. "If small dogs and cats have disappeared, that's a responsible pet ownership problem; that's not a coyote problem."
The nature trail will remain closed until the problem has been resolved, a statement from the city said.