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Police: Coyotes are here to stay

During a town hall meeting Monday, an officer gave tips and suggested learning to get along with the wild animals.

October 30, 2012|By Bradley Zint

They're everywhere.

From Segerstrom Hall to South Coast Plaza, the Eastside and the Westside, coyotes are in Costa Mesa. And they're here to stay.

The wild canines — specifically, their attacking and eating of domestic animals, such as dogs and cats — were the hot topic of discussion at Monday night's town hall meeting at Woodland Elementary School. The event organized by Councilwoman Wendy Leece had about 50 attendees and was geared toward Eastside residents.

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"I cannot sit here and tell you that we're not going to lose another dog or a cat in the city," said Sgt. Phil Myers of the Costa Mesa Police Department. "That would be not an honest answer. But I think with some of the tips that we're going to give you, we can help mitigate and lower some of those loss rates of our animals."

Myers said even if city CEO Tom Hatch gave a direction of not wanting "to see another coyote here by Christmas," it would be impossible and financially unfeasible to relocate, get rid of or trap them.

"From Fish and Game to the United States Humane Society, everybody's in agreement that we have to get along with these coyotes," Myers said. "That's just the way it is, because you will not be able to eliminate them."

His tips included not feeding coyotes because it would make them more accustomed to people, and hazing the animals by yelling at them, dousing them with water and using noisemakers to scare them off. Those actions, Myers said, could help instill the coyotes' natural fear of humans.

He also advised never running away from a coyote or leaving food out, and keeping cats and small dogs inside.

Concerning a possible database or statistics of reported coyote attacks, Myers said the department doesn't have the time to build one.

"To a point, it would be like reporting every stray cat you see," he said, adding that there haven't been reports of rabid coyotes.

He did encourage volunteer groups to make such a database.

There will be also coyote warning signs, hopefully by December, in certain areas of the city, he said.

The CMPD will be posting a coyote informational video on its Facebook page and website.

Costa Mesa resident Christy Roget has been working with Leece on the issue, which she calls the Lucky Project that's named for her pet dog that was lost in a coyote attack.

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Eastside crime, CMPD staffing

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