Coyote Attacks on the Rise?

A local vet reports two coyote attacks on dogs, and I run into a coyote on my Noho street in full daylight, and catch it on video! (Warning: graphic photos.)

Coincidentally while researching local vets reporting more coyote attacks on dogs & cats, I ran into a coyote on my NoHo street in full daylight today, and caught it on video! My neighbors have been talking about this coyote for weeks. He'd grown to mythical wolf-like proportions, young, strong, gobbling up the local cats, cat food, fallen fruit and garbage; trotting fearlessly down the middle of the street in the middle of the day, while everyone looked on in awe. 

I somehow lived in North Hollywood for 10 years before I even realized the coyotes ventured out of the hills into our urban landscape. My rather graphic awakening to this fact was finding a dismembered and degutted cat. Thinking it was some weird satanic ritual, I called to report it to animal control. They said that was typical coyote kill, and I won't go into more gory details of why. My finding was followed by a flood of lost cat signs I saw posted throughout NoHo and Toluca Lake, and "did you see the coyote last night" seemed to become the greeting of choice on our block. Apparently the big Griffith Park fire claimed a significant chunk of their territory, and with all the easy coyote eats in these parts, we were the next stop. 

Since then I've heard on and off from my neighbors about coyotes. Some still don't believe they come this far into the Valley, and use that as their excuse for feeding them by leaving cat food out on the front porch. [It is illegal to feed predatory wildlife in the City of Los Angeles. (L.A.M.C. Sec. 53.06.5)] Other more caring neighbors warn me when I walk small foster dogs, when they've just seen one go by. Generally dogs on short leashes are considered "safe" but there have been rare instances of coyotes in Los Angeles grabbing or attacking dogs on leash too. Southern CA also has the most coyote attacks on people of any area in the US (see one research report here). 

I do believe coyotes, like any wildlife, have a right to live in L.A. just as much as we do. But I'd really rather not have them mauling cats and dogs, or becoming so used to humans that they end up biting or killing one, as has happened in other areas. So what can be done? At a meeting of the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council a few years back, the L.A. County wildlife officer explained the best thing us residents could do was to help keep the coyotes fearful of humans by scaring them off.

If approached by a coyote both the wildlife officer and the  say to:

  • Wave your arms. 
  • Shout in a low, loud tone. 
  • Throw objects at the coyote while maintaining eye contact. 
  • Make yourself look as big as possible; if you are wearing a jacket open it up like a cape. 
  • Do not bend down to pick up small pets or children, but stand tall and pull them in close.
  • If possible go towards active or populated areas.
  • Do not turn your back on the coyote.

Here's an article I wrote on how to keep your pets safe from coyotes too.

A few weeks ago my vet mentioned she thought it was unusual that she'd treated two coyote attacks on dogs in one week. One was a small dog that had been mauled by the coyotes jumping over a fence into the dog's yard, the other was a bigger dog who'd been out on a walk. Then she sent me photos! I've included them here. I wondered if coyotes and coyote attacks were on the rise. An informal poll by making a half dozen calls to vets offices in North Hollywood and Toluca Lake seemed to say otherwise, as no other vet hospitals reported treating any definite coyote attack victims. Then... I had my own coyote encounter.

This evening at 6 p.m. as I was walking one of my dogs, a kind person stopped their car and said, "You might not want to walk up that way, there's a big coyote." She was right on both counts. I saw a streak of brown fur up ahead. So I ran my dog inside, grabbed my camera, and sprinted up the street, and was able to  simultaneously get my first urban coyote sighting, shout at him to help keep him wild, AND capture it on video!

Watch my video above.

You can see more photos & read about neighboring coyote sightings on  page too.

Have you noticed an increase of coyotes in North Hollywood and Toluca Lake? Tell us by leaving your comment below! 

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Sherry Barnett May 18, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Jennifer - What area do you live in? What street intersection did you see the coyote?
Jennifer Warner May 18, 2012 at 04:02 PM
I start filming him on Biloxi Ave just south of Burbank Blvd. He trotted south on Biloxi, west on Cumpston, across Clybourne (that's when I show the street sign), and down Valley, across the bike path, and that's where I lost him, I think he might have gone down Pass or Evergreen.
TC Lin May 18, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Thanks for posting this. Unfortunately, my small dog was taken last night.
Jennifer Warner May 18, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Oh no!! I'm so sorry. :( What intersection are you near, what time of night, and how did it happen?
Laura May 18, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Sounds like he was heading east on Cumpston. Not that that really makes a difference. That's my neighborhood too. I worry about some of the friendly neighborhood cats in the area.
Karen N May 18, 2012 at 08:37 PM
I was going to take a walk in a little bit through the neighborhood. I've been caring for a feral cat for the last 3 years and I haven't seen her today yet. I'll keep my eyes open for your dog, too. I'm so sorry to hear what happened. :-(
Sherry Barnett May 20, 2012 at 01:55 AM
OMG - so sorry to hear. Our big indoor grey striped tabby cat escaped last night here in Toluca Woods and of course, we're worried too. We're about to put up signs. Hopefully, he will not be in the path of this coyote - but this is bad news for any of our neighboring neighborhoods. Again, terribly sorry about your dog. Can't imagine ...
Sherry Barnett May 21, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Found our kitty ... yay. Haven't seen any coyotes in Toluca Woods yet. Hope no other sad stories.
Earl May 25, 2012 at 05:11 AM
My partner saw (we believe) the same coyote around 5PM Wednesday, May 23 on Biloxi heading down from Burbank Blvd towards Cumpston Street. He observed the coyote sit in the intersection of Biloxi and Cumpston for several minutes.
Jennifer Warner May 25, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Thanks for the update Earl! This morning I learned that the Iliad bookstore on Cahuenga and Chandler lost one of their outside cats to a coyote attack this week -- cat's spinal cord was torn out of its back and so had to be put to sleep. :(
Earl May 26, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Ah, that's very sad. :( I passed along this coyote information to a friend on Clybourne between Burbank and Cumpston on the NoHo side. I was blown away at her response: "...thank you for sharing. I am aware of this coyote. I opened the door to the back a few weeks ago and there it was in my backyard. I stood and stared at it and it jumped over the fence." Now she doens't let her little dog in the back yard alone either. Given this coyote is lingering and far from the hills, will the city do anything about trapping and relocating it? I can understand not handling calls just for a single sighting, but this one is not moving along.
Jose Becerra May 31, 2012 at 06:31 AM
No coyote can be relocated, once a coyote is trapped, it has to be euthanized. As a fact, no raccoons, skunks squirrels or opossums can be relocated, you can only release them on site of trapping or euthanize. They are very smart animals that adapt to their enviroment and in case of an absence of natural prey, they turn to the next available option, cats and dogs. Some of the fires that happened few years ago, drove several animals, including coyotes, into the adjacent cities because their natural range offered no means of supporting them because the land was barrant. Once they adapted to the city life, they did not go back. We did nothing to make them feel unwelcome and drive them back home.
Anna Reams May 31, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Nice job ! This is what needs to happen in all communities so the coyote remains fearful and keeps his distance. Anna Reams Director, Wildlife care of Ventura County
Jennifer Warner May 31, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Thank you Anna! I'm glad I remembered what Wildlife Officer Randall said to do.


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