Darlene Hoffman sat in her bedroom, relaxing when suddenly one of her dogs came dashing in from the back yard.
“She was barking like her life depended on it,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman and her daughter, Heidi, rushed outside and saw a coyote.
“It was 20 feet away from my bedroom window and just jumped over my fence like it was nothing,” said Hoffman, 51, an 18-year resident of Cris Avenue.
Coyotes have always had a presence in the city, especially in Anaheim Hills, but residents on the west side and other urban areas say they are seeing more coyotes roaming their neighborhoods – and hunting their pets.
Bobbi Craig, 62, who has lived in west Anaheim for 30 years, said a coyote last week killed her two dogs, Little Guy and Lulu, a pair of black and white chihuahuas.
“We didn’t even know this was a problem in our area,” she said.
Recognizing the uptick in calls and complaints about coyote sightings, the city held a workshop last week about the growing problem.
California Department of Fish and Game Lt. Kent Smirl told about 60 residents present the coyote sightings has been increasing all of Orange County.
Coyotes are being boxed in by more real estate developments and other factors and can no longer hunt in their natural habitat so they venture into the neighborhoods looking for food. Coyotes dig through trash, look for outdoor pet food and in some cases small pets or animals.
David Dodge, a wildlife volunteer with the state agency, said coyotes are wily creatures and have long lost any fear of man, making them dangerous. He said it’s no surprise to see recent sightings and attacks. Spring is when pups are born and reared so coyote parents are out hunting for food.
Dodge advises residents who encounter a coyote to try and scare the animal away – maybe by banging pots and pans. People should also call authorities right away and never try to trap the animal because of safety concerns.
Several residents spoke up and said it’s time for the city to…