Updated: Sep 12, 2019
Despite concerns, campus police cannot remove the coyotes on campus.
By Aimee Martinez, Valley Life Editor
The coyotes at Valley College will remain untouched as campus police are not authorized to remove them.
According to the Sheriff’s department, animal control prohibits the animals from being moved because the local area is their natural habitat. According to Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, it is illegal to trap and relocate wildlife. Campus police can only interfere if a person has been injured. Any aggressive coyote will be removed — or killed if necessary — by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). If the coyote is injured, the City of Los Angeles is permitted to trap them.
“We offer escorts to whoever needs them,” said a sheriff security officer. “We can only be involved with people.”
The County of LA Animal Care and Control describes the California coyote as slender muzzled, bushy tailed animals typically medium sized and between 22-25 lbs. They are “proficient predators, possessing the speed, strength, and endurance necessary to tackle prey as large as adult deer.”
Native Animal Rescue (NAR), a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured wildlife in Santa Cruz, states that the rapid loss of the coyote’s natural habitat has forced them to cohabit with humans. However, these urban coyotes have raised concern among residents in the Los Angeles area.
On the KPCC radio, a Valley Glen resident commented on the seeming increase of coyotes and their attack on three chickens, a cat, and another animal.
“We’re about three blocks from Valley College,” said the resident. “ Which I’ve been hearing from various people, seems to be a breeding ground or at least a den for a group of coyotes.”
While there is no den on campus, the Sheriff Department has stated there may be a den by the Orange Line along Fulton Ave.
Currently, the city of LA and the state of California does not track the number of coyotes. The CDFW only keeps a record of when the department is called to kill aggressive animals though they estimate a population range of 250,000 to 750,000 animals. The LA County Department of Public Health keeps track only of the number of residents who were given rabies shots after a coyote bite. According to the KPCC radio, public health experts say that coyotes are getting more aggressive. Experts have based these comments on anecdotal information.
Many have expressed concern over the safety of their children and pets. In 2016, there were 16 coyote attacks on people. In March 2018, a 5-year-old boy was bitten by a coyote while walking with his father at Cal State LA. He was later sent to the hospital for rabies prevention treatment.
On July 17, a coyote entered through the doggie door of a home in Buena Park and attacked the dogs inside. Early this year, there were other cases of coyotes forcing themselves into homes and backyards. They have also attacked pets at night as well as in broad daylight.
In order to help inform students about the coyotes and the precautions that can be taken,
the Sheriff’s Department has been currently handing out pamphlets from the CDFW.
According to the CDFW pamphlet, “the problem is people who are careless with food and garbage.” The pamphlet further states that coyotes are crucial for the ecosystem, helping contain the rodent population. When given human food and garbage their behavior changes and their fear of humans diminish. Thus, they could threaten human safety and be killed as a result.
Some of the safety measures include: never feeding coyotes, never leaving small children or pets unattended outside as well as trimming shrubbery to reduce hiding places. The pamphlet advises that if followed by a coyote, make loud noises. If this fails, throw rocks in the animal’s direction.
Immediately notify the Sheriff’s Department or the nearest Department of Fish and Wildlife if someone is attacked. If neither are available, call 911.
“Understanding canine behavior and modifying our own behavior is essential to peaceful coexistence with our wild neighbors,”said WildCare, an organization committed to wildlife rehabilitation and education.