A pair of roving coyotes, running loose in the Laguna Woods area, knocked over a resident and snatched her leashed pet Yorkie, Laguna Beach police reported Tuesday.
Animal control officers, who provide services to the town and were in the area due to a flurry of coyote sightings, spotted the suspected culprits but were unsuccessful in trapping the predators, said Lt. Jason Kravetz. The unidentified woman was treated for minor injuries, he said.
In recent months, coyotes have seized several other pets of Laguna Woods’ residents and there have been an unusual number of sightings, Kravetz said.
The season’s 30-inches of rainfall and bountiful plant life generally results in abundant prey, such as rabbits, snakes and mice. That in turn typically leads to larger litters of predators, said Barbara Norton, supervising ranger of the 7,000-acre Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, which borders several cities, including Laguna Woods, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and Irvine. Though she had no census information about predators, she said, “we have coyotes in the park, but none that have been aggressive. Coyotes are opportunists,” she continued. “They are omnivores. If you make it easy for them, they take advantage of it.”
In Laguna Woods, Laguna Beach’s animal control officers have cautioned residents against feeding coyotes or leaving pet food outside for their domesticated animals, Kravetz said.
The daylight attack occurred as the pet owner was walking her dog on Via Alhambra street where she was confronted by two coyotes, who were last seen running from the area with her Yorkie, Kravetz said. Coyotes have also been seen on Los Altos, Alta Via and Seville streets, police said.