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Coyote Sightings On The Rise In San Diego

A rehabilitated coyote is released into the wild in Ramona, June 22, 2018.

Photo by Sandy Huffaker/AP Images for The HSUS

Above: A rehabilitated coyote is released into the wild in Ramona, June 22, 2018.

Coyote sightings have been on the rise recently across San Diego County.

The San Diego Humane Society, which now runs animal control for most cities in the county, recently has received four to five reports of coyotes a week, up from the norm of two to three reports a week, said Danee Cook, captain of the San Diego Humane Society's law enforcement division.

Residents have said on social media and on the website Nextdoor.com that they've seen coyotes in the middle of the day, and have lost pets to coyote attacks.

There are a few reasons people are seeing more coyotes, Cook said.

"We've seen an increase with the fire activity, the West Fire, which drives them out of their areas," she said.

That, and the heat and drought mean coyotes will venture out into neighborhoods to find food and water, she said.

"Coyotes do not care, they'll move from one area to another in daylight," she said.

The Humane Society will not come to pick up a coyote unless it's sick or injured, said Carly Padilla, the organization's community outreach educator. Injured coyotes are transferred to the The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona.

"If you see a coyote, remember it's allowed to be there," Padilla said. "Coyotes are here to stay, so protect yourself and your pets."

Coyote Protection Tips

• Don't leave pet food outside.

– Don't leave edible garbage accessible. Use a small amount of ammonia or cayenne pepper in the garbage to discourage scavenging.

– Restrict use of birdseed. Predators are attracted to the birds and rodents that use the feeder.

– If possible, eliminate outdoor sources of water.

– Trim and clear near ground level any shrubbery that provides cover for predators or prey.

– Use fencing to help deter coyotes. The fence must be at least 6 feet tall with the bottom extending at least 6 inches below ground level. Use outwardly inverted fencing, hot wire, or cement blocks and large rocks buried outside the fence line to prevent animals from digging into your yard.

– Actively discourage predators by making loud noises and throwing rocks to make them leave.

– Pick fruit as soon as it ripens and keep rotten fruit off the ground.

– Battery operated flashing lights, tape recorded human noises, scattered mothballs and ammonia-soaked rags may deter predators from entering your yard.

– Keep cats and small dogs indoors, allowing them outside only under strict supervision.

– Keep chickens, rabbits and other small animals in well-protected areas and in sturdy cages at night. Cages made of chicken wire are meant only for keeping small animals contained. They will not keep desperate predators from entering. Stronger gauge wiring is a necessity in protecting these small animals.

– Coyotes are attracted to and can mate with unspayed or unneutered domestic dogs. Unspayed female dogs in season will attract male coyotes, and unneutered male dogs can be lured away by the scent of a female coyote in her ovulation cycle. There have been cases of male dogs being lured by the female coyote's scent and killed by male coyotes.

– Trapping and relocation of coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions is not a recommended or viable alternative. Wild animals are territorial and similar species will simply take over the area vacated by the relocated or dead animal.

Source: San Diego Humane Society

The San Diego Humane Society, which now runs animal control for most cities in the county, recently has received four to five reports of coyotes a week, up from the norm of two to three reports a week.

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