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Coyote Season

Residents encouraged to take precautions against coyotes

The City of Mission Viejo Animal Services Center (Southern California) is urging residents to beware of coyotes in response to a recent increase in sightings and activity in the area… But the general information is applicable to many areas.

The public-safety message comes as residents have expressed concerns about coyote sightings and have lost their pets to the skilled hunters.
Coyotes are found throughout Orange County and – contrary to popular belief – don’t require open space or “wild areas” to survive. In fact, most coyotes within the urban setting are the offspring of generations of coyotes who survived and flourished in urban areas such as Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel and Aliso Viejo.

Although they live in the City year-round, coyotes usually stay hidden in the brush or wooded areas. But sightings increase this time of year. They give birth in the early spring, when warmer weather is more hospitable to mothers and baby coyotes. By late spring, coyote pups are bigger and demand more food, so instead of staying in their dens, coyotes venture into the open.

Though coyotes are far from domesticated, they are comfortable living near humans. They have little fear of man and are often seen trotting along within a few feet of joggers and walkers. While not normally a threat to humans, coyotes will display defensive behaviors if threatened or cornered. Therefore, it is important to leave a comfortable distance between you and a coyote.

When adult coyotes are caring for their young (May through September), they can become aggressive when their young are threatened. Domestic dogs are especially vulnerable to an attack during this time. If you identify a den, keep dogs out the area and exercise caution. Dens are found in steep banks, rock crevices and underbrush. Coyotes are most active at night and during the early morning and late evening hours, but young coyotes tend to be more active during daylight hours.

Cats and small dogs should not be allowed outside alone – even in a fenced yard – as they can become prey for hungry coyotes, which can easily scale any residential fence. Small pets should always be accompanied by their owner. Though coyotes generally hunt between sunset and sunrise, they can be seen at all hours of the day and it’s not unusual for a coyote to “stalk” a residence for several days observing the routine of their prey before attacking.

Eradicating or relocating the urban coyote isn’t effective, as doing so actually provides a vacuum in nature causing the animals to have even larger litters, ultimately increasing the coyote population.

The following steps can help minimize encounters and potential conflicts between coyotes and other wildlife including bobcats, raccoons, skunks and mountain lions. Remember, no matter where you live in Orange County (or in many other suburban areas) you could encounter some of these animals.

· Fence off animal enclosures (fully enclose if possible).

· Keep cats and small dogs indoors or in the close presence of an adult.

· Keep your dog on a short (6 ft.) non-retractable leash.

· Feed pet indoors.

· Keep yards free from potential shelter such as thick brush and weeds.

· Enclose the bottoms of porches and decks.

· Eliminate food and water sources, such as fallen fruit and standing water.

· Never attempt to feed a wild animal.

· All children should be taught from an early age to avoid strange animals, whether domestic or non-domestic.

· Be sure older children walking through trails or parks are instructed on coyote safety.

· If a coyote ever approaches too closely, pick up small children immediately and act aggressively toward the animal. Wave your arms, throw stones and shout. Make yourself appear larger by standing up (if sitting) or stepping onto a rock, stump or stair. The idea is to convince the coyote that you are not prey.

Residents are urged to contact their neighborhood association and arrange for removal of overgrown brush and weeds.

Thanks to the City of Mission Viejo for this information. The Mission Viejo Animal Services Center is available for residents’ needs If wildlife becomes an immediate threat or contact has been made such as a bite to a human or domestic animal, contact Animal Services immediately at 949-470-3045.  You can visit them at http://missionviejolife.org

Posted:  Just One More Pet

June 6, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alabama Dog Fighting Bust—45 Dogs Seized, Remains Found

Courtesy of Randolph Leader/Matt Shelley

On Monday, June 1, a dog fighting operation in Randolph County, AL, was raided by the state’s 5th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force. The ASPCA dispatched forensic veterinarian Dr. Melinda Merck and our Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation Unit to collect evidence in the investigation and aid in the prosecution of the case.

Dr. Merck examined 45 dogs who were discovered tied to heavy chains and living in deplorable conditions on two properties. She also examined partially buried skeletal remains of a dog found on site. In addition, controlled substances, illicit drugs and other paraphernalia related to dog fighting have been collected into evidence.

“These dogs definitely suffered abuse and inhumane treatment at the hands of dog fighters,” says Dr. Merck, Senior Director of Veterinary Forensics for the ASPCA. “So far, we’ve seen that one is unable to walk, another who is limping, and many who are injured, some severely.”

As a result of ASPCA participation, two suspects have been formally charged. William Alsabrook was charged with two counts of possession of dogs for fighting, and Artis Kyle was charged with one count of possession of dogs for fighting, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Source: ASPCA

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June 6, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments