Seven coyotes killed after attacks on dogs in Laguna Woods
The news comes days after an 82-year-old woman said a coyote snatched her small dog off its leash as she was stepping out of her patio for a morning walk. The dog, a parti poodle named Mocha, was killed, the woman's daughter told the Orange County Register.
Police and animal control officers stepped up their efforts to prevent such attacks after two incidents in which women were injured while trying to protect their dogs from coyotes. Extra traps were set for the wild animals, and the city hired a professional hunter to shoot any coyotes he saw. So far, seven coyotes have been removed from the area, said Jim Beres, a civilian supervisor for the Laguna Beach Police Department, which oversees animal services in Laguna Woods. Six of the animals were caught in traps and euthanized. One was shot and killed by the licensed hunter on Tuesday.
Still, Beres said, authorities believe there is one more aggressive adult male coyote still prowling the area, and they hope to catch him.
"After we find him, we're going to reassess and see if the attacks stop, and if they do then we know we've gotten all of the problematic coyotes," Beres said.
The goal isn't to remove all of the coyotes from the area, Beres said. Instead, authorities want to make sure the overly aggressive animals -- the ones who stalk the neighborhoods and attack pets in broad daylight -- are gone.
"You want them to have that fear of humans," Beres said. "When they lose that, that's not good."
It's standard industry practice to euthanize captured coyotes rather than relocate them, Beres said. Otherwise, the animals would just continue the dangerous behavior somewhere else.
"It just relocates the problem to another community," Beres said. "They propagate so quickly -- they're not an endangered species by any means -- and once they've learned to come in contact with humans, that doesn't go away."
Beres said the trapping operations would continue until authorities were satisfied the problem was solved, but pointed out that coyotes are par for the course in Southern California. People can reduce the risk of having coyotes near their homes by not leaving food out for outdoor pets, making sure garbage cans are secured and keeping small pets indoors, but ultimately the wild animals are here for good.
"Coyotes are endemic," Beres said. "They've been here and will continue to be here."
-- Kate Mather
Photo: Coyote spotted roaming in Laguna Woods. Credit: KTLA