COSTA MESA — Costa Mesa Animal Control increased its morning patrols this week after two pet cats were recently killed by coyotes apparently searching for food, police officials said.
Many residents have reported seeing coyotes in the Mesa Del Mar neighborhoods near TeWinkle Park and the Irish street tract near Halecrest Park, said police Sgt. Phil Myers.
"When they're hungry, they get a little more bold," Myers said.
Two residents' cats were fatally attacked by coyotes in the last week when the felines were outside, he said.
Residents should keep their pets inside, especially small and vulnerable ones, according to police. Coyotes typically come out between dusk and dawn and are drawn to easily available food, he said.
The animals also search for scraps of food from open trash cans, fruits or vegetables grown in the backyard or pet food bowls.
"Coyotes, like them or not, are a part of our ecosystem," Myers said. "As populations grow and rural areas shrink, they're coming into more populated areas. Co-existence is something we have to, in essence, do."
Though there hasn't been any incidents in the city, officials also want to recommend parents don't let their toddlers outside unsupervised.
Animal control officers are starting their days earlier, coming in as early as 5 a.m., Myers said. If a resident spots a coyote, they should immediately call the Police Department's animal control at (714) 754-5255.
More information on coyotes and animal control is available at http://www.costamesapd.org.