Frustrated that city officials are doing little to protect pets and small children from increasing numbers of coyotes visiting and inhabiting the central part of the city, local homeowner associations are taking action. Neighborhood groups in Hancock Park, St. Andrews Square,Windsor Square and Windsor Village in mid-October began distributing and posting lawn signs that alert pedestrians to the presence of coyotes.
Coyotes more brazen
Windsor Square Association (WSA) board member Angie Szentgyorgyi said that her board, which designed and obtained the lawn signs, feels this grassroots action is necessary to alert pedestrians to the situation. “Many people walking their dogs are not aware there is a problem. As the coyotes are getting more brazen—lately there have been attacks on dogs on leashes—our directors and I felt it is important to inform neighbors of the threat as well as what to do if they encounter a coyote.”
The design of the new lawn signs is simple and includes a “QR” code in the corner of the sign so cell phone users easily may link to the listed website that gives information on what to do when confronted by a coyote.
Trapping stopped in 1993
One reason for the continuing presence of coyotes this far from their natural habitat in the hills is the result of city policy. In 1993, for various reasons about which there is no consensus, the Dept. of Animal Services discontinued responding to reports of urban coyote sightings and discontinued trapping and euthanizing coyotes. Today, there is an increase in coyote attacks in the mid-Wilshire part of Los Angeles.
WSA board member, Steve Tator, who lives close to Second Street, said: “We are seeing more interactions with the coyotes. I saw three of them myself, within the past week.”
Michael Mueller reported seeing a coyote in his block at Fifth and Plymouth. The same day, Lorraine Blvd. resident Jason Greenman reported: “We were faced with a coyote on our front lawn last night at 6:45 when we arrived home. He was definitely very healthy (well fed) and not at all skittish. I chased him all the way down the block.”
Mary Pickhardt reports that her local coyote “seems to be very comfortable on the 100 and 200 S. blocks of Irving Blvd. There are several properties with dense foliage and he/she is often seen bouncing in and out of the shrubs.”
Julie Stromberg, a board member of the Windsor Village Association, reminds that—two blocks south of Wilshire Boulevard—her dog, Elvis, was attacked by a coyote eight months ago and subsequently died. Amy Cohen, of Brookside, reported that three coyotes had been spotted one recent morning at the corner of Longwood Ave. and Olympic Blvd.
City says to “teach” coyotes
Officer Hoang Dinh, the wildlife zoologist with the city’s Dept. of Animal Services, recently wrote to the WSA: “I have been and will continue to patrol your area, especially 9th and Lucerne. Please keep in mind; this is the time of year where all the wild babies born in spring are now juveniles and learning the terrain. Yes, it may seem like more, but it is temporary (67 cent mortality rate for coyotes naturally) unless there is enough food to sustain them.”
He continued: “The most important thing to realize is this is also a very impressionable state, which we ‘Humans’ should take advantage of and haze [the young coyotes] without harming them.
“If the juveniles want to learn, teach them that your residential area is no place for them. Do not provide any source of food, such as access to garbage, uneaten fruits, pet food left outside and unfortunately even small pets left unattended, clutter and dense brush (the latter two harbor rodents). Make sure, if you all have holiday guests, to advise them to do the same. Let’s give [the coyotes] little reason to hang around and remind them to stay naturally afraid of us.”
Similar advice from city staff can be found on the city’s website which is accessible along with other coyote information at the web address on the lawn signs: www.windsorsquare.org.