Living With Coyotes

Coyote sightings are common in Westlake Village and throughout Southern California. Contrary to popular belief, coyotes do not only live in the foothills or other "wild" areas. Urban and suburban areas are appealing to coyotes because they provide ample sources of food and water. Seeing a coyote on the street, even during the daytime, should not be cause for alarm. Most coyotes are not aggressive and do not typically pose a danger to adults. However, coyotes will display defensive behavior if they feel threatened and to protect their pups. Further, coyotes can pose a threat to cats, small dogs, and small children. There are steps you can take to reduce your interaction with coyotes and to protect yourself, your family, and your pets.

How can I reduce the likelihood of a coyote interaction?

  • Stay away from areas where you think a coyote den may be nearby or coyote pups could be present.
  • Keep cats and small dogs inside, especially from dusk to dawn when coyotes are most active. If left outside, keep cats and small dogs in a completely enclosed and covered run. Most coyotes can easily climb over, or dig under, back yard fences and walls.
  • When walking your pet, always keep them on a leash held by a capable person. Leashes should be no longer than 6 feet so that your pet stays close to you.
  • Make sure your back yard is well lit. Turn on lights before going outside or letting your pets out at night to check the yard for coyotes and other wildlife.
  • Never make food available to coyotes. Remove outdoor food sources such as pet food bowls, fallen fruit, and dirty barbeque grills. Cover and secure trash cans and compost bins. Never intentionally feed coyotes or any other wildlife.
  • Never make water available to coyotes. Remove outdoor water sources such as pet water bowls, bird baths, and watering cans.
  • Keep vegetation well maintained. Thin out or remove dense bushes and hedges that may provide shade and cover for coyotes.

What should I do if I see a coyote?

  • Do not walk toward the coyote. Calmly increase the distance between you and the coyote. Do not run and do not turn your back on the coyote. Never approach a sick or injured coyote.
  • If the coyote comes toward you, do not run away. If the coyote is displaying defensive behavior because a den or pups are nearby, calmly back away and leave the area.
  • If the coyote is in the street or in your yard and not near a den or pups, haze the coyote by making loud noises such as clapping, yelling, and banging on objects to try to scare the coyote away. Make yourself appear as big and scary as possible such as by waving your arms. If the coyote does not retreat, throw small objects at the coyote such as sticks, rocks, or balls, and/or spray the coyote with a hose or with a water gun filled with water mixed with a small amount of ammonia. Do not stop the hazing activity until the coyote has left the area.
  • Do not allow the coyote to get between you and your child or pet. Keep children close to you and pick up small children and pets.
  • Do not attempt to capture or kill the coyote.
  • Do not call animal control, the City, or the Sheriff's Department to report coyote sightings unless a coyote has attacked a human. Except in cases where a coyote has attacked a human, animal control agencies will not attempt to capture, relocate, or kill coyotes, as these strategies have proven ineffective at controlling coyote populations. If a coyote attacks or injures a human, call 9-1-1.