Executive Director’s Column by Randy Ankeny Executive Director
Coyote activity around Orange County, including Seal Beach, gives reason for reminding our residents of important safeguards to protect lives and property against these wild animals.
Springtime is typically the birthing season for coyotes.
With that, coyotes become more active in their search to find food to feed their offspring. Along with a decrease in their habitat, we are seeing higher than normal calls on coyote sightings.
The following information was supplied to us by the Seal Beach Police Department:
“Thank you for reaching out to me regarding coyotes. They maintain a constant presence in all areas of the Seal Beach community. Urban coyote movement and residency is based on available food sources.
If food is prevalent in an area, they will stay until the food source is eradicated and then move on to more fertile territories. The key to successful management of the urban coyote is to eliminate the food sources inadvertently provided by humans.
Outdoor pet food bowls, open trash cans, access to crawl spaces and small pets left out at night are common attractants for wildlife and can increase the number of wild animals in the neighborhood. Responsible neighbors never feed wild animals, intentionally or unintentionally.
It is extremely rare for a coyote to attack a human, especially an adult. Also, coyotes are not nocturnal by nature. They are naturally diurnal. (active at dawn and dusk).
They usually become nocturnal in urban settings as an adaptation. If a coyote is encountered, hazing tactics are encouraged. A lighthearted video on coyote hazing can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MOnDIx71Q0&list=PL0C27013CD3314172
I would encourage you to share the video link with your residents.
Concerned residents can purchase Citronella sprays relatively cheap at most pet stores. Citronella sprays are utilized by nature center staff and recommended by a local animal biology professor.
In California, wildlife issues are managed by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Beautiful beaches, parks and open spaces provide an abundance of opossum, coyote, raccoon, skunk, squirrel and other wild animals.
As the City’s provider for local animal control, Long Beach Animal Care Services manages domestic animals and works with state and federal agencies to manage wildlife. However, there are times when ill, injured or aggressive wild animals become threats to public health and safety.
When that happens, Long Beach Animal Care Services can respond and take appropriate action. The number is 570-7387( PETS).
State law requires healthy wildlife be left alone (California Code of Regulations 251.1). Healthy wildlife, by nature, avoids contact with humans. Most wildlife hunt and gather food at night and seek food, water and shelter from residential properties.
Trapping of wildlife can only legally be done in accordance with State Law ( Fish & Game 4152 and 4180) when the wildlife is causing property damage or is violent.
If you do want to trap, the city does not require permits. However, you be sure to follow recommendations and protocols established by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Furthermore, studies show that trapping is not effective and actually leads to a higher coyote population.
Their genetics are such that when a member of their flock is removed, their reproductive tendencies increase in order to regain numbers. I would not recommend trapping.
An effective strategy to deal with urban coyotes involves public education.
Get people to stop leaving things out that attract coyotes for food.
Here is a good public strategy:
• Never feed coyotes or any other wildlife.
• Keep pets and pet food inside. If feeding outside, feed pets during the day (no more than one hour) and remove the food and water bowls when finished.
• Stay close to your pet when taking them outdoors and always keep them on a leash, especially from dusk through early morning hours.
• Remove fallen fruit from the ground.
• Bag food wastes such as meat scraps or leftover pet food.
• Keep trash in containers with tight-fitting lids.
• Use “hazing” techniques to shoo away coyotes, such as standing tall, yelling and waving arms while approaching the coyote; using a whistle, air horn, bell or other device; banging pots or pans together; stomping your feet; using a water hose, pepper spray, or throwing tennis balls or rocks at the coyote.
• Never run away from a coyote.
Long Beach Animal Care Services (http://www.longbeach.gov/acs/wildlife/living_with_urban_coyote.asp) recommends calling them at 570-7387(PETS) to report all coyote sightings and determine if an Animal Control officer needs to respond.
If the coyote is posing an imminent threat to life, call 911.
Letters to the Editor
The writer (The News April 24) reporting on Leisure World’s plan to halt the coyote intrusion seemed to be trying to be funny when he wrote, “squirrels scream at my wife if she misses their daily peanut ration (Don’t tell anyone she does that, okay).”
That isn’t funny, but exasperating.
As an elected director (Mutual 2), one of my duties is to remind shareholders about our policies that help us live in health and harmony.
I thought I had heard every dirty word in the book, but apparently not. When I asked a shareholder not to feed the “bunnies,” first, he irately questioned my intelligence, then spewed out some unspeakable words that unintentionally increased my vocabulary.
LW’s Policy on wildlife (No. 7590.G) incorporates California Code 251.1 Harassment of Animals – harassment is defined as any intentional act that disrupts an animal’s normal behavior patterns (including feeding them).
Further, leaving food out for them invites the furry creatures to accumulate in small areas, which in turn lures aggressive predators to the area.
People think it’s harmless to feed these “cuties.” But actually it’s dangerous because these critters can be deadly and costly. They carry bacteria, viruses, fleas, mites and ticks and drop feces that can get on our shoes and subsequently brought into our homes.
Moreover, they damage our gardens and chew through our electrical wires. Feeding a peanut to a squirrel may seem innocuous, but it puts all of us in jeopardy, plus it’s against the law.
I am very disgusted with having negative and possibly slanderous articles placed into my mailbox with opinions and accusations against some directors on the board.
No one tells me how to vote,. and my mailbox should have only mail with postage.
Such actions indicate failed leadership and reminds us to choose our directors carefully.
Last week residents in Mutual 3 woke up to discover “Tornado Alley,” a very strong wind that whipped down the walkway, picked up a picnic table and umbrella and dropped them on the nearby sidewalk.
Pete and Jean Enkhorn
In regard to the story on page 1 (The News May 1) about the safe driving of GRF employees, whenever I’ve encountered any GRF personnel they have always been courteous and friendly. I’ve noticed that they do observe the speed limits and stop at all stop signs.
The people we need to watch out for are the ones who live here and don’t obey the rules of the road. They don’t stop at stop signs and think the speed limit is for everyone else.
I’ve even seen some run red lights.
Many thanks to Seal Beach Councilman Michael Levitt for his concern about coyotes in Leisure World.
Mr. Levitt and Long Beach Animal Control took the time to check the Leisure World perimeter to see if they could find where and how these animals are getting on to our grounds. Hopefully, they will come up with a solution to our problem.
We have been told “to keep your pets on short leashes and wave your arms” which is all well and good. But make no mistake: coyotes are very quick and often work in pairs.
In LW we are at the point where we see them in broad daylight, and as many as three together. They are no longer afraid of humans, which is a big problem.
We need a solution besides warnings, and we should appreciate Mr. Levitt’s efforts, with the help of others, to find one.
Les Cohen’s Outside the Wall Column
by Les H. Cohen, Mutual 15
Legislative Advocate Emeritus/ OC Ombudsman
I recently attended an important, timely meeting of the Orange County Ombudsman at the Council on Aging-OC to hear a presentation on Medicare fraud.
The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) was authorized by Congress in the Older Americans Act (OAA) and the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
The purpose of the SMP,which exists in all states, is to empower seniors to prevent healthcare fraud, including how to protect themselves and their Medicare benefits.
California Health Advocates (CHA) runs California’s SMP in collaboration with several other organizations to maximize their effectiveness in spreading the word on fraud and fraud prevention.
The SMP helps Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries avoid, detect and report healthcare fraud. The California SMP has recovered millions of dollars up to last year and is one of the original demonstration programs. It continues to play a prominent role in the fight against fraud.
SMP volunteers are seniors, professionals, doctors, nurses, accountants, investigators, members of law enforcement, attorneys and teachers.To learn more, contact California’s SMP at the Council on Aging-OC (HICAP).
The telephone number is (714) 560-0309.
Or contact SMP’s toll-free hotline at (855) 613-7080 if you have questions, seek assistance or want to volunteer.