Coyote Information

1. Coyotes essentially are seeking food and anything we do to promote our area as an easy source of food creates issues.

We learned that it is common for people to voluntarily feed coyotes.  More common is our feeding coyotes when we don't intend to. Taking our garbage cans out days ahead and/or leaving food out that might attract rodents (coyotes like and naturally control the rodent population) are examples of promoting the coyote issue.  So, we all have to take steps to not exacerbate the coyote issue - even unintentionally.

2. Coyotes don't normally attack humans and it's actually a rare event.

So, we should feel empowered to scare them off when we encounter them.  There have only been about 300 attacks in California history.  In fact, dogs are a bigger threat statistically.  So is lightning...  Don't run away screaming.  Officer Randall showed a number of common devices like noisemakers, horns, etc., that can be very effective in scaring coyotes away.  Remember, coyotes are "food aggressive" and they show up in places that they have previously established as food sources/locations.

3. If you are trying to protect your children and pets, there are informed steps that can be taken.  Fences should be a minimum of 6 feet high, ideally with a 2 foot angle at the top or rollers (check out on the top that prevent coyotes from getting a grip to climb over.  Remember, most coyotes go under fences, so the lower area must be secured.  Protected pet areas that don't allow outside entrance can be useful and also remember that coyotes will go through pet doors in search of food!  

Coyotes eat both vegetation and animals.  Normally, they go after animals that are under 20 pounds, with 5 pounds being the ideal.  Again, rodents are their preference and they are a natural control for rodents.  That also says that if you do anything to promote or allow rodents on your property, you may attract coyotes.  

Beyond the above, if there was one key point that Officer Randall was trying to make it was this:  Then notion of trapping or killing the coyotes to solve the issue is a fools mission.  They've always been here and will continue to be here long after we are all gone.  They shift locations due to environmental issues generally beyond our control:  fires, changes in food sources, etc.  The increased numbers are likely due to those issues and not to local breeding.  

Officer Randall encourages all of us to contact him when we have coyote sightings or issues.  He tracks these things and will follow-up if coyote activity is unusual or dangerous.  All of his contact information is listed below.  By the way, his most effective weapon with coyotes is a paint gun.

Update:  Officer Randall is no longer with the City, but his information is invaluable.

West Valley Shelter
20655 Plummer St., Chatsworth, CA 91311
(818) 756-9325

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