Following reports of wild animals entering Tri-Valley neighborhoods, experts are calling on residents to keep pets inside.
When Ruby Hill resident Ashley West posted a video on NextDoor of a coyote walking through her community – paired with a warning for others to keep their pets inside – her neighbors responded with photos of their own. They shared similar concerns that where once they only heard howls at night, the animals now seemed to prowl the streets.
Douglas Sousa, Livermore Area Recreation Park District (LARPD) supervising ranger, said he has not heard anything about the coyotes in Ruby Hill but that coyotes going after pets is not uncommon.
“The best thing to do is to keep your pets inside,” Sousa said. He has cats himself and said that he keeps them inside for their safety.
Sousa said that given coyotes’ high intelligence, they adapt well to human habitation. If they have been successful hunting pets in an area, they will continue to live and hunt there regardless of the human presence.
“In Ruby Hill, nature is right at your back door. I am shocked that this is not more common for (residents),” Sousa said.
The uptick in coyote sightings could be due to the fact that the coyotes have gotten used to humans and their pets living in this area, according to Sousa.
According to Humanesociety.org, coyote attacks are very rare.
“More people are killed by errant golf balls and flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes,” stated the website.
This webpage also informs its readers that if a coyote bites a human, it is supposed to be removed from that coyote population. They are also known to carry rabies, so it is important to contact a doctor if an attack does occur, according to the Humane Society.
“Coyotes are probably the biggest animal you will get around here that is comfortable where humans are,” said Sousa.
He reported that the Tri-Valley area does have mountain lions, but they are skittish. In his eight years on the job, he has never seen a mountain lion.
“Attacks by mountain lions are very rare,” Sousa said.
Sousa went on to say coyotes will typically run away if you make a lot of noise. If they do not move or continue to approach, he suggests calling Animal Services.
“Every time I come across one, as soon as it sees me anywhere close it takes off in the opposite direction,” Sousa said. “They are not super aggressive animals.”
For safety, Sousa said to pay attention, do not leave trash out and bring your pets inside, especially at night.
Frankie Ayers, an animal services officer for the City of Pleasanton, said he has not been contacted by anyone regarding a pet being injured due to a coyote attack.
“While animal services will respond to injured or sick wildlife, healthy wildlife attacking pets/people/livestock are actually referred to California Department of Fish and Wildlife,” Ayers said.
Overall, the experts agree that when encountering wildlife of any kind it is best to keep distance and not approach the animals.
For more information, visit www.larpd.org/. To contact Alameda County Animal Services, call 925-803-7040.