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Help Your Neighborhood: Haze a Coyote

People need to scare the animals -- without injuring them -- to keep them away from homes, says an urban wildlife specialist with the Humane Society of the United States.

Forget freshman hazing - haze a coyote instead.

That’s the main advice Lynsey White Dasher, an urban wildlife specialist with the Humane Society of the United States, gave to more than 60 people in Long Beach on Thursday. Dasher has been educating residents and animal control agencies in the region about humane alternatives for dealing with coyotes. Over the last year, coyote attacks on pets from Laguna Beach to Long Beach have sparked outcries and efforts to trap and kill the animals.

Dasher's presentation at the P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village was aimed at teaching people humane methods of dealing with coyotes, which are known to hunt and kill pets in Orange County and Long Beach neighborhoods.

Dasher said coyotes rarely attack humans: Last year, there were just 12 coyote bites in America.

“You’re more likely to be killed by a champagne cork or a golf ball then you are to be bitten by a coyote,” Dasher said.

One reasons for these attacks, according to Dasher, is that the coyotes have become habituated -- they have lost their fear of humans. 

“The good news is we can reteach them to be afraid of people,” Dasher said.

And Dasher said the best method is hazing, defined as an activity that humanely make coyotes more afraid, recharging their natural fear of humans.

Use noisemakers, bang pots and pans, throw tennis balls, spray coyotes with squirt guns or yell, wave arms and run toward them.

“Coyote hazing changes coyote behavior,” Dasher said. “The important thing is to always do this when you see a coyote that’s not afraid of you.”

She said that people must make sure to continue the hazing and not give up even if it doesn’t work after a few moments.

The coyote’s high intelligence makes hazing effective, Dasher said. After only a few hazing incidents, most coyotes learn to stay away from humans.

In fact, Dasher joked that intelligence is one thing that separates the coyote in the Looney Tunes cartoons (the one who was constantly caught in his own traps for the Roadrunner) from real coyotes.

“That would never happen in real life,” Dasher said. “They’re actually very smart.”

Dasher also talked about the three main ways humans deal with coyote populations: exterminating them, relocating them or hazing them.

According to Dasher, killing them doesn’t work because the animals can adjust their amount of offspring produced – birthing more babies when there are less coyotes nearby – and relocating them doesn’t work because the animals try to find their way home and usually die along the way.

That’s why, she said, she supports hazing.

Attendee Paul Brestyanszky, a Huntington Beach resident, said people needed to “learn to live with coyotes.”

Of course, just because people have to live with them, doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

Brestyanszky said his cat Emily was chased by a coyote that walked right onto his neighbor’s patio.

Dasher has led training workshops dealing with coyotes in more than 100 communities in the United States, according to the Humane Society.

She conducted research with the Cook County Coyote Project in Chicago, Illinois, the largest study of urban coyotes in the country and has published an analysis of coyote attacks on people in the U.S. and Canada.

Ted Stevens, acting manager of the Long Beach Animal Care Services, which serves cities such as Seal Beach, Cerritos and Rossmoor, said his agency has gotten about three to four calls a week about coyotes so far this year. The agency dealt with 160 last year.

Stevens said that he wanted to encourage residents to call animal services when they spot a coyote.

“They’re not bothering us,” Stevens said. “There helping us identify where the coyotes are.”

To report a coyote, call Long Beach animal services at 562-570-7387 or Orange County Animal Care at 714-935-6848.

Elizabeth Lambe, a Belmont Heights resident, said that the meeting was “very informative.”

“I have never seen a coyote in my neighbor; once in a while there’s one less cat though,” said Lambe during the question and answer period.

“I feel like I learned a lot,” Lambe said. “I had no idea that the best thing do with coyotes is hazing.”

Some coyote tips

  • Make sure your leash is no longer than 6 feet. That way the coyote can tell the animal is with you and not walking by itself.
  • Never feed the coyotes.
  • Keep pets supervised when they’re outside.
  • Don’t let pets or children play with coyotes.
  • Never run from a coyote. It may activate their hunting instinct.
  • Don’t practice hazing on a coyote that appears injured or sick. There’s no way to predict their response.
  • When hazing, don’t let the animal get cornered. Always let the coyote have a way to run away.
Christie June 09, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Responsible pet ownership? Did you not read my post? All pets are vaccinated, cleaned and groomed, kept indoors, license paid yearly, what part of that isn't responsible? But when you let your dogs outside to go to the bathroom and a coyotes jump over a 6 ft fence and kill them trying to snatch them, what do you propose to do about that? Please do some research Joe and read of individuals first hand experience with them, they can be just as dangerous! Do they wander in packs around your neighborhood where children are playing? Or should we be responsible parents and not let our children play outside?
Joker Joe June 10, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Christie Coyotes do not jump over 6' fences to attack their prey and then carry them over 6' fences. lol lol If they did, as a responsible pet owner, I would increase the fence height with a strand of barb wire. End of so called problem. Please show me where a coyote carried off a child in Huntington Beach? Show me where PACKS of coyotes roam the wilderness of HB? You gotta get a job to get your mind off of the murders and killings in HB. The pillaging and marauding of the vicious coyotes as the attack and decimate the children and animals taking no prisoners and leaving a trail of blood and gore as they return to their hideaways only to come forth later to produce the destruction of mankind.
Christie June 11, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Joker Joe, you assume too much. Number one, I do have Job. Number 2, google how high coyotes can jump. There are many videos on YouTube and other websites showing coyotes easily scaling a 6 ft fence. A simple google search will show you differently. Also, our good friends actually had this happen right in front of their eyes as they were letting their dog outside to go to the bathroom, and they were devastated. The coyotes never made it back over the fence with the dog, but nevertheless the dogs was torn open and had to be put down. Also, I'm assuming you don't have children? Regardless any concerned parent wouldn't want their child playing outside around dusk with coyotes wandering around. My neighbors in Lakewood live near parks and the golf course, where they are abundant. They come right up to people and are not scared one bit. Your third assumption was that I live in HB, in which as usual, is wrong. Please do some research before you respond, and not just assume you are right. Lol, your the one taking things too serious, I never said anything about murders or killings, that's a little dramatic!
Joker Joe June 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM
Christie Let's dissect your comment. The coyotes as a group are not ALL jumping 6' fences. I mentioned a strand or two of barbed wire to increase the height. What is your reply? Your good friends had what happen? A coyote attacked their dog? That's where responsible pet ownership comes into play. Watch your pet if you are worried. Give your pet the 5 minutes it takes to do his duty! I have cats and when I let them wander in the yard I am ALWAYS on the alert! I mentioned the killings of the animals you claim. The coyotes were here before mankind invaded their turf. You chose to live in their environment. What do you expect them to do?
Christie June 12, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Joe, for some reason your twisting what point I'm trying to make and adding too it... First off you argued coyotes couldn't jump a 6 ft fence, now your saying "we'll, they don't do it in packs" (Which I never stated a "pack" of coyotes jumped over the fence, actually there were 2) And your over dramatizing like I'm implying they are going to jump over a fence, snatch a child and jump back over and scurry off, which in no way would happen. I have lived in here in the area over 30 years, my parents over 60 years, and we NEVER had a coyote problem before. We could walk our little dogs at night on a leash, let them out in the backyard freely, and frankly not worry a bit. Yes, coyotes did live near hills and mountains, but not in the middle of the city where I am. Until you personally are affected then you will see the need for concern. As for our friends who lost their beloved dachshund, (plus two indoor cats that managed to slip out one night on accident) 2 coyotes tried to pick her up and carry back over the fence and failed. Her intestines were scattered and they were only letting her outside for 5 min to go to the bathroom, never dreaming the coyotes would be so brave as to do it in front of them. Coyotes are growing at an alarming rate, they have an abundant food source, and with nothing eating them in the food chain their numbers will just keep growing. I go running at liberty park in Cerritos and they are freely roaming looking for food there, and have no fear of humans whatsoever! I even see idiots feeding them! I have 2 indoor cats, and when they go outside I am constantly watching over them for fear they may wander off and get eaten. I'm just saying relocating them won't solve the problem, banging pots and pans wont do anything, they will just keep coming back looking for food when they are hungry. And a you know, the hungrier an animal gets, the more aggressive they become. I'm just saying what could happen if nothing's done. Lets start putting concern for people first, before animals. It's not like I'm saying lets go on a coyote killing spree! I'm saying its becoming a big problem in Cerritos, Seal Beach, and Lakewood.

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