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Coyotes Kill Small Dog in Shadow Hills; Tips to Keep Pets Safe

Coyotes are common in Danville's Shadow Hills area. A recent attack on a dog is a reminder to take a few precautions to keep pets safe.

Sometimes we get difficult reminders that we live side by side with wild creatures in the San Ramon Valley.

A Danville family that lives in the Shadow Hills neighborhood is mourning the loss of their dog that was attacked and killed by two coyotes June 30.

The homeowners said the coyotes got through an opening in the fence and grabbed their small dog. The coyotes dropped the animal when the homeowner yelled, but their dog was killed.

Coyotes are common throughout East Bay valleys and California, and usually are more active and visible to people in the spring and summer months when they have young pups to care for, says Gary Beeman, a local wildlife biologist and licensed pest abatement consultant.

Usually they are looking for food and water.

Beeman says coyotes are drawn closer to homes by small cats and dogs; when people leave out trash, or dog and cat food; or when they are handfed by residents.

Handfeeding is a particular problem, he says, because the animals lose their natural fear of humans and venture closer and closer to homes.

Beeman says he has lost “three to four cats” to coyotes and calls it a fact of life when living side by side with the native residents of our area.

Small animals should be kept inside to protect them, and small children should be supervised when playing outside, he says.

Building a fence that is at least 6 feet tall should keep coyotes out of your yard.

Attacks on humans are very rare, he says, but if a coyote is acting aggressively or showing signs it has lost its fear of humans the Department of Fish and Game should be contacted at 707-944-5500.

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Amy July 25, 2011 at 04:35 PM
We've had many sightings of coyotes and many dead/eaten cats in the Twin Creeks area of San Ramon over the last month or so.
T&T July 25, 2011 at 05:07 PM
We live in the Twin Creeks area as well and lost our 14 year old kitty on July 15th to these coyotes. She had spent all her life as an indoor/outdoor kitty and we have never had a problem. These coyotes that have recently started roaming our neighborhood have killed many animals and it breaks my heart. It is a pack of 3 coyotes and they have been seen by several people in the neighborhood. Be careful!!!!!
Stac July 25, 2011 at 06:41 PM
Living in or near open space, this is a fact of life. Pets should never be left out unsupervised and even when you're there things can still happen. As mentioned in the story, a lot of the reason why wild animals lose their fear is because humans help them to do so. I love seeing wildlife, but for their own good as well as the safety of our pets and children, scaring them away, and making sure that there aren't any temptations left out to lure them is the best medicine. If you notice neighbors, or strangers, feeding wildlife, leaving food out, etc, let them know what they're doing is wrong & why. Even leaving an article about wildlife & pet safety on their doorstep may help. Unfortunately this little guy was in his own fenced yard when this happened so there are never guarantees. Also - never let your dogs run unleashed in open areas unless you're 100% sure of your off leash recall. Coyotes are known to send in one or two of the pack to lure pets away, and then the rest will attack when the dog is away from its own pack. Letting them run on a long line is the only way to be 100% sure they'll come back. All that being said...I'll take living out here and seeing them daily when I'm out with my horse over living in a city any day.
KK July 25, 2011 at 11:21 PM
I am so sorry for everyone who has lost their beloved pets. The pain must be horrible! I live off Bollinger & Crow Cyn Rds. Every night I can hear the coyotes howling. Lately the pack seems to be growing because I hear more voices. Now someone has had a sign up for the last week for a lost cat offering a $500 reward. I'm so sorry, but it's unlikely that kitty is ever coming home.
Susie Forslin August 30, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Sunday sweet Chawlie , my 5 month old blonde kitten got out and hasn't returned. We live close to canyon creek. Haven't seen coyotes but hear them and know they are just waiting for morsels. Lost another cat to coyotes in January. Neighbors said they saw him in a coyotes mouth. It's sad we can't feel our loved pets aren't safe in their own front yards and that adopting new pets may just feed the scavengers.

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