Pets are disappearing in Park Meadows
May 29, 2009
Like she always did, Nancy Rosecrans on a recent night let her pet cat out into the front yard on Moray Court sometime between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Friday, a 10-year-old with black and white tuxedo fur, though, did not come back inside. The pet, Rosecrans said, disappeared that night. She did not hear Friday screech, and there was no evidence left that might explain what happened to her pet.
"This has been my routine with this cat for 10 years," Rosecrans said. "She just vanished. I’m heartbroken."
The case came as other people in Park Meadows have told Rosecrans that they suffered similar losses. The missing pets, perhaps 15 throughout a wide swath of Park Meadows, according to an informal count by Rosecrans, have disappeared under mysterious circumstances, she said. The cases are mounting, with six cats disappearing since mid-May, she said.
The disappearances are raising concerns that a predator is stalking the pets, but neither the people in the neighborhood nor wildlife officials are certain that is the case. Foxes and coyotes are prevalent in the Park City area. There are occasional sightings of mountain lions as well, but they tend to follow their prey to higher elevations in the spring and summer.
Bruce Johnson, a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officer assigned to the Park City area, said he had received one report about the missing pets through the middle of the week. He said the division had not set traps in an attempt to capture a predator.
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"I couldn’t say whether it was a wildlife issue," he said, adding, "There’s nothing to suspect. There’s some missing animals and no evidence of anything."
Without more information, Johnson said, he cannot determine what happened to the pets. He is unsure whether a predator is in the neighborhood.
The Park City Police Department said it has not received a string of complaints about missing pets recently. Summit County Animal Control said likewise.
Rosecrans said she would have expected to hear her pet fight if it had been attacked by a fox or raccoon. She is worried that a coyote might be in the neighborhood preying on the pets.
She said she went to bed at about 11 p.m. the night the cat disappeared. She reported the missing cat to the state wildlife officials and Summit County Animal Control, Rosecrans said.
"I looked and looked for her and she didn’t come back," she said.
Bill Bertagnole, who lives on Lucky John Drive, also lost a cat recently, saying it disappeared at the end of April. There were no clues left, he said. Bertagnole’s son found the cat in November near a construction site in the Salt Lake Valley.
Bertagnole suspects a fox or a coyote preyed on his pet and the others that have vanished. He said he is frustrated the authorities have not responded to the disappearances more aggressively.
"I’d like them removed. I don’t think they belong in the city," Bertagnole said about foxes and coyotes.
Keep pets safe
Summit County Animal Control suggests people keep their pets safe with tips like:
Keeping pets in the yard
Keeping dogs on leashes when in public
Keeping dogs inside at night or in a secured kennel if they are kept outside
Keeping cats inside at night or in a secured place if they stay outside at night
Understanding the routine of pet cats, which sometimes leave their homes for extended periods.