When Burbank resident Nick Mendoza walks his dog now, he carries a softball bat.
That’s because earlier this week, while taking his dog, Kody Bear, on a walk in his neighborhood near 5th Street and Walnut Avenue, the 47-year-old was chased by a large pack of coyotes, the Burbank Leader reported.
A few days before, he’d seen a smaller pack of coyotes in the neighborhood devouring an animal. While a survey of the neighborhood didn’t yield any missing pets, “it was loud, something got eaten,” he said. The coyotes left once a Burbank police cruiser came and shined its lights, he recalled.
Growing up, the Burbank native frequently saw packs of up to four coyotes around the neighborhood, but they’d usually scatter and run away if he yelled or threw a rock toward them.
But at 3 a.m. Wednesday, Mendoza took a break from working at his computer to take his 8-year-old, 135-pound Newfoundland out for a walk when he noticed five coyotes slowly advancing toward him from behind. Further out, he noticed about another 15.
He started making noises and waving his arms, but they didn’t move.
“At that point, I became prey, I really did,” he recalled.
With his heart pounding, Mendoza turned around and broke into a brisk walk, glancing backward to see whether he was still being followed. He was.
“Forget it,” he thought, after which he pulled his dog’s leash and sprinted home. Surveillance video shows the pack of coyotes galloping toward his home about 12 seconds behind him.
Mendoza shoved Kody Bear inside, grabbed a trench shovel and smacked it on the concrete driveway a couple of times. The coyotes scattered, but didn’t leave. Throwing lemons toward them didn’t work either.
“They were just standing there looking at me,” he said.
Finally, he climbed into his truck and flashed his high-beam lights at the pack, prompting the pack to finally leave.
With the recent heat, Mendoza, along with Burbank city officials, suspected the coyotes were thirsty and hungry.
“They’re desperate,” Mendoza said. “If you’re desperate and hungry, you would just about do anything.”
Alene Tchekmedyian writes for Times Community News. She can be reached at email@example.com.