A rash of domestic livestock and pet killings is troubling Stockton town officials.
Over the past three weeks in an area covering about three-quarters of a mile, 30 turkeys, seven cats and two goats have been killed, Supervisor Allen Chase said. The attacks have occurred at night around Kabob-Stockton, Putnam and Bruyer roads.
Animal Control Officer Russ Calanni and a state Department of Conservation representative are investigating and believe coyotes or wild dogs are the culprits.
"They're pretty sure it either coyotes or dogs," said Chase.
Residents have reported sighting a pack of about 10 coyotes and what appears to be two stray dogs, a Rottweiler and a collie. Residents have also told officials they have seen dogs in the back yards at night that flee when outdoor lights are turned on.
The animals are not believed to pose a threat to people, said Chase, adding they could become dangerous if they are approached or cornered.
"Whatever it is, it's killing pretty defenseless animals," Chase said.
Officials do not believe people killed the animals.
"There were definitely signs of claw marks," said Chase. "The goats had their necks eaten away and the turkeys disemboweled. The (predator) is being selective about the parts it eats."
When asked about the prospect of coyotes being in the area Chase said, "It's common knowledge that they're here. I think we do have a coyote population and it's grown. I don't know if they migrated here or were somehow brought in."
Meanwhile, Calanni is advising all residents to keep pets inside from dusk to dawn and to keep them tied up near their home. Additionally livestock should be kept in barns at night.
Anyone sighting an animal attacking pets or livestock should immediately contact the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department.