COVINGTON, La. -- The Smiths say one of their cats, Lulu, couldn't be found Saturday morning, so they turned to their surveillance video for answers. One camera shows the cat leaving the home through the pet door in the kitchen.
What they saw on another camera, minutes later, was shocking.
"Saw two coyotes heading across the yard toward where she was," Danny Smith said.
The video also led the Smiths to a conclusion about their other cat, who went missing in January, and other Crestwood Estates pets that can't be found.
"It’s scary. They're out looking for food, and if anybody's left any food out, that's what they're hunting. And when they can't find food, that's when they start going for pets."
Due to a sighting of three coyotes days later, the feeling is the animals won't be moving on any time soon.
"You just don't think of them being in a subdivision like this with 380 houses,” said Greta Smith, “So it’s rather alarming and fearful for small children, other pets."
Coyote experts say there could be one of two things happening in the neighborhood, but the good news is both can be addressed.
"We think a lot of the homeowners are trapping coyotes and maybe relocating them, and it could also be new coyotes establishing new territory," said Beau Gast with Humane Wildlife Control Solutions.
And Gast’s group offers meetings for neighborhoods to teach how to handle coyote through hazing.
"What that means is putting a bunch of pennies in a Gatorade bottle, or turning a water hose on them," he said. "Making yourself big and bad looking to that coyote, and at that point you drive them off your property."
Residents hope at least getting the word out gets the neighborhood ahead of the game.
Experts suggest being watchful of animals when they’re out of homes or yards. Also, don’t leave trash cans or bags open and don’t leave out any accessible food, for pets or even birds.