As coyote numbers increase in cities, they become accustomed to the presence of people, especially if the people do not harass them. Studies of coyote attacks have revealed a predictable pattern of change in coyote behavior in these environments. This progression is accelerated when coyotes are provided abundant food, either unintentionally or intentionally, in residential areas.
Below is a coyote education and safety video prepared by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and the City of Cost Mesa.
Control Measures to Deter Coyotes and Avoid Conflicts
- Do not feed or attempt to tame coyotes. The result may be deadly conflicts with pets or livestock, or serious injuries to small children.
- Do not feed feral animals and other wildlife. The City adopted Ordinance No. 19-1412 - Prohibiting the Feeding of Wildlife. This Ordinance furthers the City's coyote management plan efforts and will help reduce coyote encounters. The Ordinance becomes effective July 25, 2019. Click here to view the Ordinance.
- Feed pets indoors or promptly remove dishes when pets complete their meals outdoors. Store bags of pet food indoors.
- Always use a secure, sturdy leash when walking your dog. Retractable leashes are not recommended as they tend to jam and can make it difficult for you to protect your pet from a predator.
- Do not leave small children or pets (20 pounds or less) outside unattended.
- Be aware that coyotes are more active in the spring, when feeding an
- d protecting their young.
- If followed by a coyote, make loud noises. If this fails, throw rocks in the animal’s direction.
- Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.
- Do not put trash cans out the night before the scheduled pick up. Put them out in the morning. Coyotes are intelligent and learn to knock them over to access the contents.
- Remove sources of water, especially in dry climates.
- Put away bird feeders at night to avoid attracting rodents and other coyote prey.
- Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry, etc.
- Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
- Trim ground-level shrubbery and low level tree branches to reduce hiding places.
- Close off crawl spaces by installing secured wire mesh.
- Ask your neighbors to follow these tips.
Coyotes visit at nighttime and during the day. Please be very cautious when leaving animals and small children unattended outdoors. Coyotes can jump up to 14 feet and
Use Negative Reinforcement Each Time You See a Coyote
Residents who see a coyote in their neighborhood should stay calm and attempt to frighten it away by hazing:
- Waving arms
- Throwing rocks
- Squirting it with a water hose
Blowing portable air horns
- Using noise makers
- Bang pots and pans
- Do not run from the coyote
The coyote may not leave at first, but if you approach them closer and/or increase the intensity of your hazing, they will run away.
If the coyote runs away a short distance and then stops and looks at you, continue hazing until he leaves the area entirely.
After you have successfully hazed a coyote, they may return. Continue to haze the coyote as you did before; it usually takes only one or two times to haze a coyote away for good.
If you see a coyote in your neighborhood look for coyote attractants and reach out to your neighborhoods to ensure control measures are in place.
Take Special Pet Precautions
Cats and small animals (20 pounds or less) should not be allowed outside alone, even in a fenced yard. (A dog or cat can be taken from a backyard enclosed by a six-foot high fence or wall in a matter of moments.) Always accompany small pets when outside. Don't allow your dog off leash. Coyotes generally hunt between sunset and sunrise, but can be observed at all hours of the day and will not pass up the opportunity to attack.
City of Downey Coyote Management Plan
In response to coyote sightings in Downey, the City Council, at it's June 13, 2017 meeting, adopted the City of Downey Coyote Management Plan.
Coyotes Out Of Downey Volunteer Group
Building on the Downey Coyote Management Plan, the City created the Coyotes Out Of Downey (C.O.O.D.) volunteer group. C.O.O.D. assists the City in educating neighborhoods regarding coyote behavior, activity, attractants, and recent coyote sightings. The group also assists with coyote hazing.
If you are interested in joining C.O.O.D., please contact (562) 904-7284.
If you see a coyote, please contact the City of Downey's Coyote Hotline at 562.299.6625 or use the City's online Coyote Reporting System:
Click on the map below to view recent Coyote sightings in Downey.
If you see an aggressive coyote (i.e. ears go back, fur comes up on its back, it snarls, growls, shows teeth, and charges a person) or there is an actual attack on a human, contact the City of Downey Police Department by dialing 9-1-1.
- Living with Urban Wildlife - Coyotes City Brochure
- Coyote Yard Audit Checklist
- California Department of Fish & Wildlife- Coyotes
- Keep Me Wild Brochure
- Humane Society of the United States- Coyotes
- Coyote Information - UC Agriculture and National Resources
- Coyotes, pets, and Community Cats
- Hazing Tools
- DIY Noise Makers