With local reports of coyote sightings, the City of Aliso Viejo is reminding residents to be aware of coyotes living within the region.
The number of coyote sightings in urban areas of California has increased in recent years. Coyote mating season is in late January through February and pups are born in March and April.
To keep you and your pets safe, remember these tips:
• If followed by a coyote, make loud noises. If this fails, throw a rock or stick in the animal’s direction. The idea is to convince the coyote that you are not prey.
• Do not leave small children or pets outside unattended.
• Do not allow cats outdoors to roam (day or night).
• Do not use a retractable leash; a leash should be no more than 6 feet. This allows you to be in control of your pet and ensure it is close to you at all times.
• Trim ground-level shrubbery and clear brush near your home to reduce places where coyotes live and hide.
• Keep pet rabbits in suitable cages.
• Keep tight covers on all trash containers, and put trash out on collection day at the latest opportunity.
• Never leave water or pet food outside.
• Never feed coyotes.
• Never attempt to touch, pet or capture wildlife. These animals will bite to protect themselves.
Coyotes are hunters looking for a food source. By nature, they are fearful of humans, but if they have access to human food and garbage, their behavior changes and they can lose caution and fear. While not normally a danger to human beings, coyotes will display defensive behaviors if threatened or cornered; therefore, it is important to keep your distance if you encounter one.
Immediately contact Mission Viejo Animal Services at 949-470-3045 if any of the following occurs:
• Your pet is attacked or killed.
• A coyote is on or living close to your property.
• The coyote is acting unusually aggressive toward a person.
• You have been bitten by a coyote.
• The coyote is injured or appears sick.
Mission Viejo Animal Services will evaluate each report to determine if the coyote is behaving in an unusual manner or is a threat to human safety. For more information, call 949-470-3045.