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Game warden to work with Trussville officials on disappearing pets problem

By Gary Lloyd

TRUSSVILLE — Jefferson County Game Warden Kerry Bradford on Monday will meet with city of Trussville officials to come up with a plan regarding the missing small pets in the Maplewood subdivision.

Bradford, who has been the county’s game warden since 2007, said he will meet with public safety, Trussville Police Department and Animal Control officials on how to handle the animal if they encounter it. He said game cameras will likely be set up by some Maplewood residents and traps will be set.

If the animal is caught, it will be relocated.

A Trussville historical marker
file photo by Ron Burkett

Bradford said it’s been reported that several small pets are missing and one was killed. At least three residents of Maplewood have seen a large “cat-type animal,” Bradford said.

Bradford said the only cat that matches the description given is a jaguarundi, a small, wild cat native to Central and South America. He said jaguarundis are usually not considered as options because they’re not common or indigenous to this area. He did say, though, that more evidence — eyewitness accounts — is needed before it can be completely ruled out, though it’s more likely to be someone’s exotic pet than a jaguarundi.

He said the “automatic culprit” that comes to mind is a coyote.

“Coyotes are very common in the Trussville area,” Bradford said.

He said a bobcat is not likely because they’re “extremely, extremely shy.”

Bradford said the land being cleared on U.S. Highway 11 as a “borrow pit” for the Trussville Springs construction could have disturbed whatever animal may have had a den in the area, though he said that typically an animal would move further away than an area as nearby as Maplewood.

“That activity could definitely be a disturbance and cause it to move,” he said.

Bradford provided these tips for residents with small pets:

  • Don’t let your pet out by itself.
  • If walking your pet, take pepper spray or mace because it works well on charging animals.
  • Take a whistle because these animals don’t like loud noises.

“All those things can deter or run an animal off,” Bradford said.

Contact Gary Lloyd at news@trussvilletribune.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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