Coyotes, Swimming from Connecticut, Are Blamed for Killing Twenty Cats on Remote and Exclusive Fishers Island
"I suppose they're kinda cute, but they can be dangerous. They attack cats and dogs."
-- Charles Kadushin
Big, strong, and stealthy, coyotes are accomplished omnivores who enjoy an ever-expanding habitat that already stretches from Canada to Costa Rica. Just as importantly, their only enemies, besides man, are cougars, bears, wolves, eagles and, occasionally, large dogs.
Their already formidable repertoire is further augmented by their uncanny swimming prowess. They apparently are so adept in the water that they now have successfully navigated the three kilometers of current that separate the southeastern coast of Connecticut from remote and exclusive Fishers Island, ten miles off of the North Fork of Long Island. (See photo above of Linderman House on the island.)
The animals first began showing up on the fourteen kilometer long and 1.6 kilometer wide island two years ago and, predictably, cats started disappearing. All totaled, at least twenty of them have vanished, including ten during the first week of August alone.
"The community board at our local post office is covered with missing posters for cats," Charles Kadushin, one of the tiny enclave's two-hundred-eighty-nine well-heeled permanent residents, told the New York Post on August 12th. (See "Why Cats Hate Water? Coyotes.")
His cat, three-year-old Habibi, disappeared around Memorial Day and is presumed dead. "Now I know for sure it will never be seen again," he added to The Suffolk Times of Mattituck on August 10th. (See "Fishers Island Man to Town: Coyotes Are Killing Our Cats.")
Since the island is accessible only by ferry and airplane, the coyotes surely must be fording Fishers Island Sound unless someone is smuggling them in and that is unlikely. "They're known to be good swimmers," Kadushin averred to The Suffolk Times.
Nevertheless, it does seem odd that they would take to the water like latter-day Christopher Columbuses without knowing what was in store for them on the other side. Of course, it is conceivable that either the authorities or developers could be driving them out of the Nutmeg State and as a consequence they do not have any alternative other than to take to the waves.
Regardless of how they arrived, they soon became a familiar sight on the island whether it was simply by prowling around or leaping over garden fences. Some residents even claim that they can be heard howling to the tune of the Fire Department's noontime whistle.
Whereas both locals and the island's two-thousand summer residents initially viewed their presence as a quaint addition to their remote getaway, all of that radically changed once their cats started getting eaten. "I suppose they're kinda cute, but they can be dangerous," Kadushin told The Suffolk Times in the article cited supra. "They attack cats and dogs."
As far as it is known, residents of the island have not resorted to trapping the animals and that perhaps is a good thing because they sometimes are confused with dogs. That is what happened to Lori Goodlett's Sheba Inu, Copper, last summer in Frankfurt, Kentucky. (See photo of her above.)
After somehow escaping from Goodlett's fenced-in yard on July 3, 2010, Copper was picked up by a police officer who deposited her with the Frankfurt Humane Society (FHS). Upon examination, the FHS erroneously concluded that she was in fact a coyote and telephoned the police to come and collect her.
To their credit, the officers spared her life by taking her to an open field and setting her free. As far it could be determined, that was the last anyone has seen of Copper.
"I know in my head Copper is gone for good, but in my heart I would like to think some nice family found her and took her in," Goodlett told CBS-TV on July 24, 2010. (See "Dog Mistaken for Coyote, Released into Wild.")
She was not nearly so forgiving, however, when it came to the FHS. "They acted more inhumane than humane," she told WKYT-TV of Lexington on June 22, 2010. (See "Dog Mistaken for Coyote Released into Wild.")
Moreover, she is consternated as how the organization could have confused a small dog of Japanese descent with a coyote. "People would say when Copper was young, she looked like a fox with her pointy ears and red coloring," she added to CBS-TV. "But no one has ever mistaken her for a coyote."
Instead of taking matters into their own hands, Kadushin and his fellow aggrieved cat owners brought the issue to the attention of the Southold Town Board when it paid its annual visit to the island on August 10th. (See photo below of the high-muck-a-mucks arriving on the island by ferry.)
All that they received in return for their bother was a plea of ignorance and a heartless joke from Southold supervisor Scott Russell. "I have to be candid. I didn't know there was a problem with coyotes on Fishers Island," he told those assembled according to The Suffolk Times. "I wish I could marry your coyote problem to my deer problem on my side of the island."
Bereft of even the tiniest shred of decency, this blowhard and buffoon does not have a smidgen of regard for either animals or his constituents. The trip to the island was merely a convenient excuse for him and his do-nothing colleagues to get out of the office for a day, strut about like lords of the manor rubbing elbows with their vassals and serfs, and to act cute. It no doubt would come as a great shock to American politicians that some of their constituents expect considerably more out of them than bullshit, spam, and junk mail.
The condescending public servants did not send the residents away completely empty-handed, however, and in a parting act of beau geste pledged dutifully to pass along their concerns to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). As they assuredly know only too well, the only action that the wildlife biologists at DEC are likely to take is to celebrate the cats' demise with a few beers at some seedy tavern. (See Cat Defender posts of October 2, 2006 and September 15, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Coyotes, Cheered on by Wildlife Officials, Join Raccoons in Killing Cats and Dogs in Washington State" and "Ravenous Coyotes, Cat-Haters, and Old Man Winter All Want Her Dead, Buried, and Gone but Brave Little Half Mask Is Defying the Odds.")
In addition to hating cats with a passion, wildlife biologists are not exactly doing coyotes any favors either. For example, on March 30, 2006 the DEC's Dan Bogan and Mike Putnam suffocated to death a male named Hal by sealing shut his mouth with an elastic bandage while attempting to attach an electronic snooping device to one of his ears. (See photo of him below.)
Hal, who earlier on March 20th had wandered into Manhattan's Central Park, suffocated on his own blood and a necropsy later detected the presence of thirty-five heartworms and the rodenticide Chlorophacinone in his corpse. (See Cat Defender post of April 17, 2006 entitled "Hal the Central Park Coyote Is Suffocated to Death by Wildlife Biologists Attempting to Tag Him.")
The DEC further undermined its rapidly evaporating credibility last week by enthusiastically endorsing hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale formation in upstate New York. On September 8th, the right-wing lunatics who comprise the editorial board of the New York Post were quick to endorse the proposal by claiming that there was "scant chance of environmental harm" from fracking while simultaneously smearing opponents of the harebrained scheme as "greenie Luddites." (See "No Reason to Wait" and the accompanying news story entitled "Hydrofracking to Spur Job Boom: State.")
That is hardly the case. In neighboring Pennsylvania where fracking is spreading like wildfire, the water in those locales has become so contaminated with methane and other chemicals that it not only has become flammable but will not freeze even in sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures. It therefore is unfit to drink and some residents cannot even bathe in it. (See Science Magazine, May 9, 2011, "Study: High-Tech Gas Drilling Is Fouling Drinking Water.")
Some residents have been diagnosed to be suffering from barium poisoning and increased heart rates, spikes in blood pressure, skin rashes, stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, labored breathing, and tremors are frequently reported. Adding insult to injury, the twenty-thousand out-of-state workers brought in to man the pumps are blamed for an increase in venereal disease, prostitution, and crime.
Fracking also is believed by some to be the source of the more than seven-hundred minor earthquakes that have jolted Greenbrier and Guy, north of Little Rock, during the past year. (See AOL News, February 17, 2011, "Swarm of Earthquakes Rattle Arkansas Residents and Seismologists.")
The presence of dozens of nuclear power plants up and down the densely-populated east coast makes drilling through thousands of feet of rock in order to get at gas deposits an especially risky business. In fact, the area was jolted late last month by, up until now, a rare tremor that damaged both the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral in the nation's capital.
As is the case with all economic development and political upheaval, it is precisely Mother Earth and the animals that are forced the bear the brunt of man's savagery and unchecked greed. In addition to irremediably destroying the earth and killing off vegetation, there are reports of cows dying and pets losing their fur in areas of the Keystone State where fracking is permitted.
In particular, forty-nine-year-old Sherry Vargson of Bradford County told the Philadelphia Weekly on September 14th that her dogs now are forced to drink bottled water, her cows spring water, and her ducks rainwater. (See "The Drilling Fields." The online version is entitled "Natural Disaster: How Did the Gas Industry Get So Fracked Up?")
The impact upon wildlife, coyotes included, will be even more catastrophic, In addition to having their once pristine habitats obliterated, they no longer will be able to either safely drink the water or to consume flora and fauna. Genetic and reproductive abnormalities, perhaps not altogether that different from those experienced by wildlife at Chernobyl, are likely to ensue in quick order.
Coyotes, like cats and all other animals, have an inalienable right to live but there is scant chance of wildlife biologists and other governmental officials ever allowing that to happen. If they are not slaughtering them en masse, as the USDA's Wildlife Services does every year, they are either killing them during tagging exercises or using them to go after cats and dogs which sometimes ends up with them being killed as well.
Man's destruction of the environment through fracking and other exploitative activities is making it impossible for all animals, himself included, to survive. In spite of that looming catastrophe, wildlife biologists and ornithologists remain committed only to killing cats and pimping for various economic interests.
"If our only legacy is a dead planet, what does that say about us as a species?" Samuel Turvey of the Zoological Society of London poignantly asked London's Independent on August 9, 2007. (See "The Big Question: Should We Worry About Extinctions, or Are They Just a Part of Evolution?")
In his 2005 collection of essays entitled A Man Without a Country, Kurt Vonnegut had an answer for Turvey. In a poem entitled "Requiem," he opined:
"When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon
'It is done.'
People did not like it here."
Photos: Irish Kevin of Wikipedia (Fishers Island), Frankfurt Police Department (Copper), Beth Young of The Suffolk Times (politicians), and James Carbone of Newsday (Hal).