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Santa Monica Police Warn Residents to Watch Out for Coyotes

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By Lookout Staff

November 13, 2013 -- After several reports of coyotes roving the streets of Santa Monica, the Police Department is asking residents to be careful.

Keeping pets indoors, not leaving food out for other critters and keeping your distance are just a few ways to avoid unpleasant run-ins with the wild animals, officials said.

“When living and working in Santa Monica there are reminders everywhere that we live in an urban area,” said Sergeant Jay Moroso, spokesperson for the Santa Monica Police Department. “The city is densely populated with roads, traffic, homes, business, concrete, and asphalt.

“You should consider that literally a mile away from the northern boundary of Santa Monica is the southern boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains,” he said.

And among the many animals that call those mountains home are coyotes.

In their quest for food and, sometimes those coyotes wander out of their natural habitat and into nearby cities, authorities said.

While the SMPD ask that residents who see a coyotes call Animal Control at 310-458-8594, there are other ways to help.

“Do not feed wildlife,” officials said.

“Although we like to think that we are helping wildlife by providing food, the reality is that” feeding wild animals makes them dependent on humans for food and cause them to lose their fear of humans, they said.

“Juvenile animals that are taught to depend on humans sometimes never develop normal foraging behavior, and could starve if the artificial food sources are removed,” officials said. “Wildlife may lose their fear of humans and pets, a behavior that could result in wild animals not avoiding contact with aggressive dogs and cats, or people who might intentionally harm them.”

To keep animals at bay, officials recommend:

  • Keep garbage in sturdy garbage cans with secure lids.  Thoroughly rinse bottles and cans for recycling, and put compost in closed bins instead of in an open compost pile. 
  • Do not feed your pets outside, or if you must, feed them outside during the day and take food and water bowls inside during the night.
  • Pets such as cats, rabbits, and small dogs are easy prey for coyotes.  If you suspect the presence of coyotes in your neighborhood, keep these pets indoors.

Authorities also warn against leaving small children unattended in areas known to be frequented by coyotes, even if it is a closed yard.

Since coyotes are skittish around loud noise and aggressive displays, waving arms and shouting can drive them off. Authorities also recommend maintaining eye contact with the animal and throwing things in its direction.

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