Officer Hoang Dinh made an early morning visit to Windsor Village on Wednesday, Feb 18, in response to residents’ concerns about a coyote that has been seen in the neighborhood and killed a small dog and mauled another dog last week.
Arriving before 7 am when a light haze still hung over the streets, Dinh immediately investigated an empty lot near Lucerne and Frances, noting what appeared to be a narrow, worn animal track through the grass and dirt. He walked many of the area’s streets pointing out where overgrown shrubbery could provide a hidden den for coyotes, and pointed out an open crawl space under an apartment building that would provide perfect habitat, “a cozy den” for a wandering coyote to lay low and take protection.
“Coyotes have adapted to the human environment and will get quite comfortable in the habitat we provide them,” Dinh told the Larchmont Buzz. “They are patient and watchful and will drink from water bowls left outside, and feed off scraps that humans or crows leave behind. They are very resourceful and they have become comfortable with humans.”
Dinh said there is always a significant uptick in coyote activity in February and March when coyotes are protective of their new pups, and again in August and September. Trapping and killing coyotes is prohibited by law so making the area as inhospitable as possible is one of our only options.
“Clip your large shrubbery back, don’t leave water bowls or pet food outside, get rid of wood piles and fallen fruit off trees. Stand your ground if you see a coyote and make lots of noise,” Dinh said. He suggested we get good at “hazing” the animals – making loud and aggressive noises and raising arms or a stick – to send the message that this is not a safe environment for them to live. Keep your pets close by or inside. Even using long retractable leashes leave your small dog more vulnerable to attack, Dinh said.
Editor’s Note: This article was edited for a correction: coyotes may be more active in the spring not due to seeking mates but to protecting their young.