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Animal control officials seek to assure Glendale residents about coyotes

October 09, 2012
(Times Community…)

Animal control officials on Monday sought to ease concerns among Glendale residents unnerved by the prevalence of coyotes in their neighborhoods, saying the canines do play an important role in the local ecosystem and pose little threat to humans.

At the first of two public meeting in Glendale — scheduled to address the increased call volume from residents to animal control officers regarding coyote sighting and conflicts — officials said taking simple measures, such as shoring up pet food and trash, can go a long way in discouraging any unwanted visits.

“Coyotes are naturally very afraid of people,” said Lynsey White Dasher, an urban wildlife specialist for the Humane Society of the United States.

Glendale’s rich habitat and abundant food source attract highly-adaptable coyotes, which help balance the local ecosystem with their rodent control, she added.

Nearly a dozen residents raised their hands at the meeting after being asked whether they had seen a coyote in Glendale.

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One of the residents told wildlife specialists she has seen two to three coyotes in front of her Glendale home. At one point, she said a coyote sat down in her driveway and blocked her in.

She feared that they would attack her dogs, so she bought an air horn to scare the coyotes away.

An air horn is one way to get a coyote’s attention and scare it away, White Dasher said. Hazing, she added, is an effective way to scare a coyote and reinforce one’s territory.

Other hazing methods include making yourself appear larger, making loud noises, yelling, throwing items and spraying water. But the technique only works when directed consistently at the same coyotes, White Dasher said.

Despite the prevalence of coyotes in urban areas, attacks are rare. Less than 10 bites on humans are reported each year, White Dasher said.

Coyotes only become aggressive and more comfortable around people when they begin feeding them.

Pet food attracts most coyotes, but unsecured garbage, messy birdfeeders, fallen fruit from trees, vegetable gardens and small pets can also be attractive.

Coyotes become most territorial from December to March — during which they could view unleashed and unattended dogs as a threat.

Pup-rearing occurs from May to August, when coyotes are more localized and use a den, White Dasher said.

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