GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Residents of southern Mississippi neighborhoods and cities have spotted coyotes roaming the area looking for pets to eat.

According to some residents, the coyotes have been seen in urban areas such as Second Street in Gulfport, the Sun Herald reports.

Gulfport resident Ron Roland told the Sun Herald he saw a coyote carrying a dead dog on his way home Monday night. “The dog was so heavy, the coyote was walking bow-legged,” he said.

Licensed nuisance wildlife operator Mike McDowell said that this time of year, it’s not uncommon for coyotes to prowl neighborhood areas looking for dogs and cats. Coyotes have pups to feed this time of year and a depleted supply of food in the wild. Domestic pets are the next best thing.

McDowell said residents should keep their animals in sight and fence their yards.

He also said the only way to get rid of the coyotes is to shoot or trap them. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has contact information for trappers.

But Troy Arguelles, a trapper from Biloxi, said people sometimes don’t want to pay to have the wild animals trapped.

Gulfport Police Sgt. Damon McDaniel said it’s not uncommon for residents to call police about coyotes; however, police are rarely able to catch them. He advised against approaching a coyote.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com