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The City of West Hollywood issued a warning late last week for residents to take extra precautions to keep coyotes at bay. The city is on alert after a resident reported a coyote sighting.
Coyotes are medium-sized members of the dog family, and weigh about 30 pounds. They can be distinguished by their pointed ears, long muzzles, and black-tipped tails. May, June and July are the highest months for coyote sightings because of the animals’ breeding schedule: their young pups need food, which prompts coyotes to come out from the hills and scavenge in urban areas. Coyotes can survive on anything, from trash to fruit to small rodents, which draws them to urban places like West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
“We are less than a half mile away from the Hollywood Hills, which, from a distance, looks populated,” the online notice from the City of West Hollywood said. “The reality is that the hills and foothills that range from Malibu to downtown Los Angeles are primarily wooded hills and mountainous habitat, and they are full of many kinds of wildlife.”
Last year, there were three or four sightings of coyotes reported in West Hollywood, according to Helen Collins, a senior administrative analyst for the city of West Hollywood. So far this season, the city has only received one report of a coyote sighting.
“If we get a rash of reports, we bring in the Department of Agriculture,” Collins said. “Fortunately, we haven’t had to do that yet.”
The city is urging residents to keep their pets inside unless supervised, to feed their animals indoors, and to make sure that trash containers are secured and that food is kept inside. Cats and small pets are generally the most common targets for coyote attacks. Despite the warnings, there has only been one human death as a result of a coyote attack in California in the last 40 years.
“Generally, coyotes will stay away from people,” said Ken Pellman, a spokesperson for the L.A. County Department of Agricultural Weights and Measures. “It’s not a problem to see a coyote as long as it doesn’t approach you. The problem is not seeing the coyote, it’s if the coyote becomes aggressive.”
To report a coyote sighting, call the Southern California Department of Fish and Game’s sighting hotline at (858)467-4257 or the Department of Agricultural Weights and Measures at (626)575-5471.
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we have been having coyote problems within the last month, just found out our neighbor watched his dog taken away by a coyote. Very sad, and a bit scarey, as many cats have disappeared too.
Keep an eye out, need to know what to do and who to call.