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14.03.13 Urban Coyote Awareness Meeting

Notes from the  meeting hosted by the CMPD and featuring Lt. Kent Smirl of
the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Coyotes could bite a child. Having a child bitten is the last thing you want, for they would have to undergo rabies shots and endure a lot of hassle and pain. If coyotes bite a child in your neighborhood, you are partly to blame if you do not haze every coyote you see who is close enough to notice you.

In the last 7 years, coyotes have only attacked humans 21 times in California, while nationwide in 2013 there were 4.5 million dog bites and 31 people killed by dogs. Costa Mesans are allowing coyotes to get comfortable in their yards and neighborhoods and by doing so, training the coyotes not to fear humans, which
could eventually lead to them attacking a human.

Keep coyotes out of our neighborhoods by denying them food, water and shelter and hazing them (scaring them away) at every opportunity.


Coyotes develop a taste for the easiest catch. They can follow a smell for up to a mile away. They can follow animal markings. They can easily leap a 6 foot fence or wall. (Google COYOTE ROLLERS for a fence/wall topping that deters coyotes. You can make rollers out of PVC plastic.)

It is against the law to feed feral cats or wildlife such as possums, raccoons or coyotes. Feral cats, possums and raccoons are food for coyotes.

Coyotes like fallen fruit. If you have a tree with ripening fruit and are going on vacation, ask your neighbor to keep the fruit picked up.

Don’t create tempting smells. Freeze leftover bones in a plastic bag and put them in the trash at the last minute.

Coyotes like cats. If you care for your cat, do not let it outside regardless of the cat’s desire. CM Animal Control Officer Anna has a cat that wants to go outside. If the cat gets out, Anna goes right after it, because she knows how dangerous the outdoors are for cats. Big dogs are also a threat to cats. Anna picked up a cat that had been run over by a car and had its broken leg X-rayed. The X-rays showed the cat’s body was also riddled with pellets. Don’t let your cats go outside.

Coyotes like small dogs. Sometimes they also attack big dogs they see as a threat instead of food. Don’t leave dogs by themselves in a yard that has not been coyote-proofed with fencing above the dog-run. Always use a solid (not retractable) leash no longer than 6 ft. when you walk a dog. Besides the danger of coyotes, it is illegal not to use such a leash. Keep pet food and water inside the house.

Coyotes will enter a doggie door, following the scent of your pet. Our daughter had to put a heavy box inside her closed doggie door to keep an animal out. Be sure your closed door is secure.

At the coyote meeting the man in front of us told his story. As I remember it, he had two dogs in the back yard and a coyote came in and got one but the other dog escaped through the doggie door into the house. Now the coyote is “stalking”, coming daily at certain times and watching the doggie door for the other dog and trying to
get in the doggie door. That coyote has signed his own death warrant and the Fish and Wildlife officers will come eliminate him.


Coyotes can live very close to you without your noticing if you have given them shelter.

Trim all landscaping so you can see underneath it. Consider if a plant like a palm tree offers shelter near the ground.

Be sure there is no way for a coyote to get in an outside shed and no way to shelter under or behind anything stored outside your buildings.

Work with your neighbors beside and behind you to clean up your yards.

WARNING SIGNS – If you see these, alert your neighbors.

Coyotes are nocturnal but they can be diurnal. They learn to be awake when it is easiest to find food. If you see coyotes during the day it is a warning they are finding food during that time.

If a coyote shows no fear it is getting too much food in the area.

Coyotes that do not respond to hazing and are deemed to be an immediate threat should be reported to Costa Mesa Animal Control.

HAZING is described well in the Hazing brochure. The brochure says not to haze during certain months.  Lt. Smirl said to haze ALL YEAR LONG.

CM Animal Control will not respond to calls of only coyote sightings.  CM Animal Control will come out if there is:
  • An injured, sick or dead coyote
  • A coyote vs. pet attack
  • A coyote vs. human attack
  • A coyote trapped or contained in a garage or similar area
  • An immediate threat to the public

Call 714 754-5311 to leave Animal Control a message
Call 714 754-5252 if you need immediate assistance

Do not feed or encourage coyotes, raccoons, possums or skunks to be comfortable in your neighborhood.
They must be killed if they become a public nuisance.

Coyotes can be trained like dogs. Train them to stay away from your neighborhood if you don’t want them killed.

The Hazing brochure and other 2 flyers that were handed out at the meeting and several other flyers on Coyotes are found on the www.cmprepared.com website. Click on Topics of Perennial Interest and look for the Coyote section. You can also find more information at www.keepmewild.org. A special thank you to CMPD Sgt. Bryan Wadkins for his contributions to and editing of this article.