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Coyotes and You - What You Need to Know

Coyotes and You - What You Need to Know

In spring and summer, local coyote activity is on the rise.

Over the past several years, during the spring and summer months, Palo Alto Animal Control receives dozens of calls from residents reporting dead cats and small dogs who all met their demise because of coyotes. It's always heartbreaking, but most of the time, it's preventable.

Already this year, we have started to receive calls about coyotes acting more brazen around people and larger dogs, mainly in southern Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, and the hills of Palo Alto. Most likely these incidents occur near a coyote den and with a pack of coyotes. It's important to remember that the local wildlife are our neighbors. It comes with living in such a beautiful place like the Bay Area. Coyotes in this area are more "urbanized" than ones you'd see in a National Park for instance. They have become accustomed to the presence of people, cars, etc., and have easy access to food sources like trash cans and small domestic animals. Because of that, it may seem like a coyote “isn't scared” or “acting aggressive”, when they are just walking up a city street. It’s important learn how to live side by side peacefully.

We want to make you “Coyote Aware” by sharing information with you, and you sharing it with others. If we can prevent one cat from being killed, or resident from feeling threatened, it’s all worth it!

Keys to preventing coyote attacks include:

  • Keeping pets indoors at night
  • Never leave pets and children outdoors unsupervised
  • Always have your dog on a leash
  • Don't feed wildlife, keep trash can lids secure
  • Watch and share the April 2017 Coexisting with Coyotes video presented by the Los Altos Hills Open Space Committee:

Those simple actions, and general good advice, can prevent the vast majority of coyote related incidents. You can learn more about safety and hazing below:

Santa Clara County Vector Control's Urban Wildlife Page

Project Coyote - Dogs and Coyotes 

Project Coyote - Be Coyote Aware

California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife - KEEP ME WILD

Video about Coexisting with Coyotes

If you would like to report coyote activity, or would like a wildlife technician to contact you, please call the Santa Clara Co. Vector Control at 1 (800) 675-1155 or visit them at their website.

Palo Alto Animal Control covers the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills. If you witness actively aggressive, injured, ill, or dead animals please call the Palo Alto Dispatch center at 650-329-2413. We have Animal Control Officers on duty 365 days a year, and are on call for emergencies 24/7. Our officers respond to urgent calls for service as soon as they can. However Animal Control Officers will not trap and remove coyotes. It is illegal in California to trap and relocate any wild animal without a permit from the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. If a coyote were to be trapped, it would have to be euthanized on site. Additionally, there is evidence that trapping and euthanizing wildlife creates a vacuum for other wild animals and does not remedy a particular problem.

It is up to you to be vigilant, aware of your surroundings, and follow proper coyote hazing tactics described in the above fliers.

-Cody Macartney
Lead Animal Control Officer

Last Updated: March 30, 2020