Wildlife Workshop

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If you want additional information, or want to ask specific question, the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services will be holding a Wildlife Workshop at the West Valley Center this Tuesday, August 21, 2018.  The Center is located at 20655 Plummer Street in Chatsworth, and the workshop starts at 6:00 pm and ends at 7:30 pm.

There have been numerous reports of pets lost to coyotes and other predators right in homeowner’s backyards!  A coyote can easily jump a fence and attack a dog or a cat. Many residents have also encountered aggressive coyotes while walking around the neighborhood.  Flying predators, such as eagles and hawks, have also been known to attack small animals in backyards.


Due to our proximity to wildlife habitats, such encounters are inevitable.  The best we can do is to be informed and to implement measures to help protect ourselves and our pets.  This special edition of our email includes information on managing encounters with coyotes, as well as information on an upcoming Wildlife Workshop.


The following useful information was taken directly from the City’s Department of Animal Services brochure, which can be downloaded at this link.

Deterrents & Scare Tactics:

  1. Sprinkle cayenne pepper or chili powder in areas where coyotes sleep to deter them from staying. These types of deterrents do not last & will need to be repeated if they become wet. Do not use these methods where children have access & do not use near air ducts.
  2. Use motion activated strobe lights, sprinklers, or radios that are set to talk o news stations to help deter the coyotes.  Use caution as strobe lights can trigger seizures in people or pets with epilepsy.
  3. Use a coyote shaker can. This is a can containing a few coins which can be shaken & thrown towards a coyote. Throw tennis balls, open & close an umbrella towards the coyote, bang two pans together, blow a whistle, use an air horn, or use a high pressure water sprayer. Alternate the deterrents to prevent coyotes from getting used to one method.

Regarding Fences

Studies have shown coyotes are capable of scaling various types of fences upwards of 6 feet in height and often able to clear jump over fences of 5 feet with angles of adjacent hillside playing a factor. Increasing fence height to at least 6 feet and add an angle at the top facing outward at 45 degrees that is 16 to 18 inches wide, or use a device known as the coyote roller® which can be purchased off the Internet. Fences over 6 feet in height may require a variance so check local laws beforehand. The bottom of the fence should be at least 12 to 18 inches underground and line the trench with rock or have a stone footing; alternatively an apron at the base of the fence extending an additional 18 to 24 inches outward can be used. Wrought-iron bar gaps should be no wider than about 3.5 inches.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if a coyote approaches me? Wave your arms. Shout in a low, loud tone. Throw objects at the coyote while maintaining eye contact. Make yourself look as big as possible. If you are wearing a jacket , take it off & swing around over your head. If possible go towards active or populated areas but do not turn your back & run from the coyote as that could trigger a chase.


How can I keep my dog safe? Closely supervise your dog. Do not leave small dogs unattended in your yard. Walk your dog on a leash at all times & stay close to high pedestrian traffic areas. Try not to establish a regular routine & route to avoid setting up a pattern for the coyote to detect. Avoid dense brushy areas or paths near abandoned properties. If you notice a coyote when walking your dog, keep your dog as close to you as possible & move towards an active area. Never encourage or allow your dog to interact or “play” with coyotes.


How can I keep my cat safe? Keep your cat indoors at all times. If your cat must be outside, consider constructing an outdoor 6 sided enclosure that is made of heavy gauge wire or chain-link with an enclosed access way to the house.


How can I keep my children safe? Make sure that your children never play outside in the same clothes they just ate food in. Wildlife may be attracted to food odors in clothing. Make sure children wash thoroughly after eating. Provide children with a whistle & breakaway necklace they can blow it if an animal approaches. Never let them approach any stray animal. If a coyote approaches, they should face the animal, move slowly to another person or dwelling entrance, raise their arms over their head, clap their hands, stomp their feet, blow a whistle, & call out in a stern loud voice “There is a coyote here.” The best thing to do is avoid leaving children unattended.

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