Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Coyote Encounter 

This coyote was out hunting this morning in Fremont Place.

I have seen coyotes for years in our neighborhood, but I’ve never actually had an encounter with one until this morning. 

Early this morning, I was walking our elderly dog, a 12-year-old black shepherd mix who doesn’t move as well as she used to and has definitely lost her hearing. As we were strolling back to the house I heard a scuffle noise. Odd, I thought. Maybe it was a bird landing? 

Even though she weighs 72 lbs, Bailey is no match for the coyote we encountered this morning.

It turns out it was a coyote approaching very closely the hind quarters of our dog. I turned around and let out a very loud scream. I don’t think I’ve ever screamed that loud in my life!  Needless to say, all three of us were startled! 

Moments later, it sunk in, this coyote was about to attack the dog! I let out another very loud scream, I stomped my feet, raised my arms, and tried to get very large to scare the coyote away from the dog. Once it retreated, then I decided I better get this dog into the house and did the thing you’re not supposed to do which is to turn and run. 

This only invited the coyote to chase us. I quickly remembered that you’re supposed to face the animal and try to haze the coyote with loud sounds and gestures which I tried to implement with some success. But this coyote was not going to give up easily. 

Each time, the coyote would retreat, I turned to walk towards the house. Seeing us retreat, the coyote would follow us. I kept turning around and screaming and stomping. Fortunately, all the ruckus I made got the attention of two gentleman gardeners who had just pulled up to work at my neighbor’s house. They came running over to help me. They started clapping hands and charging at the coyote which was ultimately successful. 

After I got the dog secured in the house, I left the house in my car. As I was driving out of the neighborhood, I spotted the coyote curiously sitting in the middle of the street. Then I saw a second coyote and realized they were probably working in tandem. Fortunately for me and our dog, we only encountered one of them. 

We frequently see coyotes in our neighborhood. Usually, they keep their distance, eyeing us as they walk around but I’d never seen one this close. It was a good lesson for me to remember to be alert and never to walk our dog without the airhorn that we bought to create a loud noise and haze the animals. 

Over the years, we’ve posted a number of stories about coyote sightings with recommendations from the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services. In 2016, Officer Hoang Dinh and California State Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Kent Smirl participated in a Buzz-sponsored Town Hall meeting on urban wildlife issues and provided some great information on how we can co-exist with these urban predators, who are a natural part of our neighborhoods. I got lucky because I did everything wrong as you can see from their suggestions below on hazing.

Coyote Encounter and Hazing Tips

  • The technique of making yourself big and scary to a coyote is called “hazing.” It works because coyotes calculate risks vs. rewards very carefully, and hazing lets them know they’re not welcome.
  • The first step in coyote hazing is to maintain eye contact, which is an intimidating gesture.
  • Hold and wave a stick (or other threatening-looking item) high up over your head, to make you look bigger and even more opposing.
  • Throw your stick or other item in the animal’s general direction.
  • Noisy items, like loud shakers (e.g. a soda can filled with pea gravel or pennies) and whistles can also help scare off coyotes, but they should be combined with making yourself look big and intimidating at the same time.
  • Don’t scream in a high-pitched voice – it makes you look vulnerable. Instead, growl or roar at the coyote.
  • Do something unexpected. Coyotes learn quickly, so if every time they see a human, the human just reaches for its phone, or puts its hands up in the same way, the coyote won’t read it as a threat. The gesture should be big and different from what the animal has seen humans do before.
  • Don’t get too bold in chasing the coyote, and don’t corner it where it has no choice but to fight.
  • Slowly back away.
  • Hazing coyotes teaches them to be afraid of you (and other people)…which doesn’t hurt the coyote, but makes it less comfortable, less likely to settle in, and more likely to move on from its current surroundings, which is exactly what we want.

For more information, the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services also has some great information about urban predatory wildlife (including why the city doesn’t just kill or relocate coyotes) at

This coyote was spotted several hours later still roaming the neighborhood.
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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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