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Feature Stories

Los Coyotes Dilemma

From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 2
1/24/2014


By Kirt Ramirez

Reports of coyote sightings are reminding residents that small children and pet animals should not be left unattended.

John Posen, a Knoxville Avenue resident for over 30 years, has spotted coyotes in and around Heartwell Park, Heartwell Golf Course and Birdcage Park. He said he believes a pack has a den in the northeast corner of Heartwell Golf Course.

“The other night I was jogging and started chasing them,” Posen said. “If you harass them, you can drive them out. I ran after them to intimidate them.”

Posen expressed concern about coyotes in Birdcage Park, as preschool children play there. Also, birds have mostly vanished from the park, he added.

Posen has only seen coyotes in the past two years. “Before two years ago, we didn’t see them,” he said, adding that they look under cars – presumably for cats.

Allison Migliaccio, California Heights Neighborhood Association, posted a photo on Facebook of a coyote resting on all four legs eating something: “This morning on my lawn … at 7 a.m. 3500 block of Lewis, chewing on a furry black paw… BEWARE,” the posting read January 9.

The post spurred 68 comments both for and against coyotes. Jessica Dillard wrote: “Why get rid of the coyotes? They were here first. Keep your domestic animals INSIDE like a responsible pet owner!”

East Long Beach resident Monique Poissant posted: “Keep your cats in at night! They (coyotes) jumped out my neighbor’s fence and really hurt their little dog. They are starving and can be vicious.”

Randy Mills posted: “Remember: you invaded their home, and took away their food. It’s up to you to adjust, not the other way around.”

Patty Turbyfill wrote: “I interrupted my cat being killed by a coyote last year in my driveway here on Pennswood Ave. in Lakewood.”

Cheryl Montuya posted: “I have coyotes in my neighborhood and keep my pets in at night. I had one pet killed in the morning by a coyote, since then I let my new dog out later.”

With a sad face icon, Laura Brode George posted: “My cat made a nice meal for a coyote on Cerritos Ave. about a year and half ago.”

Lakewood Village resident Darwin Thorpe told the Beachcomber coyotes enter his neighborhood by way of the storm drains from the Eldorado Park area. He said in August 2012, “They took a pet cat several months ago, and our granddaughter sees them walking along the street some evenings. Also, some people up early see them near the children’s playground just north of Bellflower in the park.”

Lakewood Village resident Donna Rohrich said her neighbor’s cat was killed presumably by a coyote. “I found the fur.”

And another neighbor placed a kennel of kittens in the backyard for fresh air on a summer day and a coyote jumped over a fence and stalked the felines. As the neighbor walked toward her glass doors, “He saw her and she saw him and it took off.”

The kittens were unharmed.

“It cleared a chain-link fence and a six-foot block wall on the other side with no problem,” Rohrich said.

Rohrich’s significant other, Richard Garrard, sees coyotes at Lakewood Country Club near the flood control and also at Skylinks.

At Skylinks Golf Course, “When the guys get ready to tee off, the coyotes are there watching them,” Rohrich said.

Garrard also saw a coyote near Lakewood Village Community Church and across from Mark Twain Elementary School.

Rohrich and Garrard enjoy hunting dove and valley quail in Big Pine in the Owens Valley. But when the sun sets, they get out of there. “When we would hear the coyotes howling, we would leave.
When they pack, they are vicious,” she said.

“Coyotes have become urbanized but they are not to be trusted. They are still wild animals. They are like a smaller version of a wolf. They are cunning and fast. And they are absolutely beautiful,” Rohrich added.

Lt. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (formerly Fish and Game) said, “Coyotes are one of the few animal species that have adapted to human encroachment.”

He said for the most part they are living harmoniously.
“As long as the animals are not threatening humans or pet animals, we do our best to let them coexist.”

State law forbids trapping and relocating any wildlife.
However, if a coyote is in the act of threatening a pet, livestock or human, it can be killed under state law, Foy said.

If a coyote enters a resident’s backyard and threatens the resident or pet, the resident can legally shoot the coyote, Foy and the Long Beach Police confirmed.

However, if the coyote is not exhibiting threatening behavior, they may not be shot, Foy added.

Foy said Long Beach’s Animal Control has one of the best websites in the state for accessing information and tips. “Long Beach is very lucky to have one of the most progressive animal services departments in the state.”

Long Beach Animal Control’s Ted Stevens said coyotes can be reported to the department and officers can go out and frighten them.

“We’ll see what we can do … We can’t catch them because they can run 35 miles per hour and jump eight feet walls. We’ll chase them around and scare them,” Stevens said.

Coyotes are the third fastest land animal in North America, according to the Humane Society, he added.

Last year a 2-year-old girl was attacked by a coyote at Forest Lawn Cypress. In that case, the coyotes were tracked down and killed, Stevens said.

The best way to address coyotes is to haze them – or put the fear into them – by yelling, waving arms, banging pots or any scare technique. Coyotes are skittish by nature and afraid of adult humans. Do not approach it if it is sick or injured.

Coyote reports can be made to Animal Control at (562) 570-7387.

kirt@longbeachcomber.com