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The Whole Story On Coyotes

Regardless of your perspective about coyotes, please read and share with everyone the important information below from our police dept.

Sightings Will Increase Between Now and Sept. We Are Entering the Active
Season for Coyotes As They Give Birth and Raise Babies.

Rick sent word: I saw a coyote today (Monday, 11/25/13) at dusk running west bound in the 2000 Block of Balearic Drive toward Europa.

Police offer strategies for dealing with urban coyotes
Posted Date: 12/3/2013
From Costa Mesa Police Lt. Greg Scott:

Many Orange County residents are expressing concern about coyote sightings and the consequences of predator animals within the urban environment. Several Costa Mesa residents have recently lost their pets to these skilled hunters because many are not aware of recent coyote activity in the area.

However, according to experts cited in Orange County Register reporter Asher Klein’s article, published 11-05-13, eradication is not necessarily the best strategy for stopping pets from being killed by coyotes. Klein’s article covered a Seal Beach City Hall meeting held in early November. Officials were present at the Seal Beach
meeting included Lieutenant Kent Smirl of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Klein’s article cited behavior modification – specifically, hazing - as the preferred method for addressing local urban coyote nuisance problems, according to local and state animal control officials.

In Klein’s article, officials encouraged residents to resist the urge to think of coyotes as well-intentioned.

Officials elaborated on the fundamentals of hazing, the control method recommended as being the most effective for residents. In Klein’s article, hazing is described simply as “yelling, throwing rocks at and generally intimidating coyotes into leaving the area.” Some local Costa Mesa residents have reported success using approved forms of coyote repellent.

Klein’s article highlighted Animal Control and Fish and Wildlife staff’s warning that killing coyotes was not a permanent solution. A study cited in Klein’s article noted how 75 percent of a targeted population of coyotes had been killed off. The study noted how female coyotes from that population, in turn, became fertile at a younger age, enabling litter sizes to double.

Klein’s article summarized “Why coyote killing programs don’t work”:
  • They are ineffective, since they don’t address what’s attracting coyotes in the first place.
  • They won’t reduce coyote populations, since the populations bounce back quickly.
  • Removal is costly (and in California, illegal in most cases).
  • Trapping is inhumane, since it employs painful traps that sometimes maim and can be lethal.

* Source: The Humane Society of the United States

Coyotes are found in ALL areas of Orange County. 

Contrary to popular belief, these animals do not require open space or “wild areas” to survive. Though these animals are far from domesticated, they are very comfortable living in close proximity to human beings. They have little fear of man and are frequently seen trotting along within a few feet of joggers, bikers and horseback riders.

Historically, coyote attacks upon humans are extremely rare. In a study presented at the 2004 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, there were only 56 reported coyote-versus-human attacks resulting in injuries in Southern California in the previous 25 years. This figure is extremely small when compared to an average 4.5 million people who are bitten by dogs nationally each year. While not normally a
danger to humans, coyotes will display defensive behaviors if threatened or cornered. Therefore, it is important to leave a comfortable distance between you and a coyote.

Small pets can easily become coyote prey. Cats and small dogs should not be allowed outside alone, even in a fenced yard. It is highly recommended that small pets always be accompanied by their owner. Though coyotes generally hunt between sunset and sunrise, they can be observed at all hours of the day and will not pass up the opportunity for an easy meal. A dog or cat left in a backyard can be taken in a matter of moments.

Many steps can be taken to protect you and your property from nuisance animals like coyotes and other wildlife:
  • Fence off animal enclosures (fully enclose if possible).
  • Keep cats and small dogs indoors or in the close presence of an adult.
  • Feed pets indoors.
  • Store trash in covered heavy-duty containers.
  • Keep yards free from potential shelter such as thick brush and weeds.
  • Enclose the bottoms of porches and decks.
  • Eliminate potential food and water sources, such as fallen fruit and standing water.
  • Eradication and/or relocation of the urban coyote is not effective. These programs actually provide a vacuum in nature, causing these animals to have even larger litters, ultimately increasing the coyote population.
Practicing these measures will help minimize the nuisances and losses caused by urban coyotes. If you locate an injured or potentially dangerous coyote in Costa Mesa, call CMPD Dispatch at 714-754-5252, or for general inquiries leave a message with Costa Mesa Animal Control Services at 714-754-5311.
For more about coyotes and effective coyote strategies, visit Costa Mesa Police Crime Prevention Specialist Kelly Vucinic’s public service announcement video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUGi785JyUA.