News Analysis: Could Laguna Woods coyote attack happen in our backyards?

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Dave Lara

It was with sadness that I read the article in the Orange County Register on June 1st, regarding the coyote attacking a senior female resident and her pet.

The female resident was walking her dog when they were attacked by a large male coyote.  The female attempted to fight off the coyote who was attacking her dog.  As a result, she sustained bite wounds and her dog was severely injured and later passed away.

Channel 5 News further reported that this was not the first incident of a coyote in the Laguna Woods area that has attacked pets while being walked by their owners.

Laguna Woods residents have individually complained of occurrences with coyotes in their area. Unfortunately, city officials took no action until a resident was bitten and a pet killed.  In Laguna Woods and the surrounding area, there is an abundance of wildlife that coyotes normally prey upon.  Unfortunately, this one particular alpha male coyote has now gained a strong interest in domesticated pets.  Laguna Woods is now attempting to trap the alpha male coyote who has been spotted following residents in their neighborhood.

As more than 600 members of the Rossmoor Predator Management Team, we were disappointed that a woman had to sustain wounds and bites, then rabies shots before government officials would take action. Government has failed to provide a resource for residents to report coyote sightings, activities and pet deaths.

The RPMT, through its proactive membership, has proven to be a valuable resource for Rossmoor residents in monitoring coyote activity.  Team Members/Residents have furthered the value of RPMT in reporting to its membership any and all coyote activity on residential Rossmoor streets which are incorporated into monthly statistics and submitted to governmental officials.

The positive outcome of collecting these statistics have proven beneficial in securing coyote grates through Orange County Public Works, and having O.C. Animal Control patrol Rossmoor for quick response. CalTrans and the city of Los Alamitos are currently working towards removing the coyote habitat behind Martha Ann as per the terms of their lease agreement maintenance clause.

When coyote activity has sharply increased to a matter of public safety, the Rossmoor Homeowner’s Association working jointly with RPMT in the safety of residents, has assisted with coyote abatement through Supervisor John Moorlach’s office.

It was only after a little girl was killed in Glendale in 1981 by a coyote that the Los Angeles County formed it’s Agricultural Commission that trained county employees to hunt imprinted  coyotes (unafraid of humans and who see humans as potential prey) for their county.

It is the hope of RPMT that no child has to be killed before Orange County establishes such a program.  We realize that financially we are attempting to escape recession, but when public safety is at stake, where do we draw the line of not providing public funding to conquer an ongoing public threat while walking one’s dog on a public street?

RPMT is especially grateful to the positive response received by Rossmoor Residents in enforcing coyote deterrent information.  We encourage every community to establish a coyote monitoring system for the safety of their residents, their pets and, in particular, small children.

Dave Lara is a founding member of the Rossmoor Predator Management Team and a resident of the unincorporated area.

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