Like possums and raccoons, coyotes have adapted over the years to suburban life throughout California and the nation. Coyotes in the wild are by nature fearful of humans. However, they are highly adaptive and can lose their fear of humans when we provide them with food, shelter or water sources. To reduce the number of coyotes in the city requires us all to do our part to eliminate these coyote attractants.
While Lakewood doesn’t have the level of coyote problems of many communities near foothills or large open-spaces, coyotes can venture into residential areas in our city and become problematic, especially if people are feeding them (intentionally or unintentionally) by leaving pet food out overnight, tree fruit on the ground, or trash unsecured. These coyote attractants also create a threat to pets, as coyotes coming into neighborhoods see them as potential prey. Coyotes can kill cats and small dogs who are left unattended or who stray off your property.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has jurisdiction over urban wildlife in our state, provides helpful tips for communities and asks for our cooperation. The City of Lakewood recommends that residents follow these guidelines to discourage coyotes from coming into our community.
Practical tips for keeping coyotes away and keeping your pets safe:
Trapping coyotes is not a long-term solution. State law prevents the relocation of trapped coyotes because doing so upsets the wildlife ecosystem where the coyote is transported. Routine trapping and euthanizing of coyotes, even when pets have been attacked, is also not a viable option because if food and water sources remain, new coyotes will simply move in and continue the cycle. Government agencies generally limit the trapping and euthanizing of coyotes to certain narrow situations, such as when coyotes have attacked people. The best way to prevent problems in the first place is to remove coyote attractants, haze and train any coyotes you see to stay away from humans, and safeguard your pets.
To report a coyote sighting use the city's main online service form or call 562-866-9771, extension 2140.
With any concerns about coyotes, you may also want to contact your state legislators since state agencies oversee wildlife regulations in California.