Laguna Beach and its environs have long had a coyote problem, but until this morning I didn’t truly believe my pets were at risk.
If this letter can serve as a wake-up call for even one unsuspecting or doubting pet owner, it will have been worth writing. Yesterday (Memorial Day) at 8 a.m., my husband and I were startled awake by howls. Our house backs onto “L” Mountain in Mystic Hills (an open space park) so this sound is not unfamiliar to us. However, we bolted from bed because these howls sounded as though they emanated from a creature right outside our bedroom. I peered through the blind and locked eyes with a coyote standing not more than 15 feet from my bedroom door.
This bold coyote had leapt five feet to reach my pool edge (hind legs on the basin below, and front paws on the infinity edge). I have two small dogs (four and six pounds, respectively). This coyote was “smart” enough to be staring at the very door from which I exit the house at this hour each morning to let my dogs relieve themselves in our backyard (it wasn’t looking at any of the other doors facing my backyard). Was it casing my place and just laying in wait?
It did not take long for it to run away upon seeing me, but I was more shaken than the coyote. It is worth noting that about a month ago my gardener discovered a gruesome sight — a headless rabbit at the side of my house. The animal control officer in the neighborhood said that it was likely the prey of a coyote who had gotten spooked and ran, or a mother coyote teaching her pups to hunt. Either way, the coyote(s) had to scale or leap over a six to seven foot iron fence surrounding my property.
I am vigilant about leashing my two small dogs and carrying either an animal deterrent spray or horn when I take them on walks at dawn and dusk, but never thought I’d have to worry about coyotes in my enclosed back yard in broad daylight.
The police operator this morning said that there has been a spike in calls about coyote sightings. Fellow pet owners: please be wary of this coyote danger!
Keiko Sakamoto, Laguna Beach