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!