Nearly 100 residents from Glendale and the surrounding area learned on Thursday how to better live and cope with their encroaching coyote neighbors, with one important point made — be assertive when encountering one of the animals.
Much of the domestication of coyotes is due to a lack of aversive conditioning, or hazing, of coyotes by people who encounter them, said Cathy Schoomaker, urban wildlife conservationist with the National Park Service during an event at the Brand Library and Art Center that was hosted by the Northwest Glendale Homeowners Assn. in partnership with the Glendale Police Department.
If people ignore or feed coyotes when they see them, coyotes have no incentive to leave the area, Schoomaker added.
"Be big, be loud, be aggressive," she said. "It doesn't really matter what you say, just be aggressive."
Coyote hazing includes making eye contact with the animal, raising your arms or stomping your feet to appear larger, creating a loud noise or throwing items at the coyote, if possible, while maintaining a distance of at least 20 feet.
Maintaining a fear of humans among coyotes is the best way to deal with a population that simply cannot be transported or killed off. It's the preferred way to avoid conflicts with the animals while still allowing coyotes to play their important role in the ecosystem, Schoomaker said.
In addition, much of the longstanding advice holds true: Supervise children and pets when outside, don't leave food sources out in the open, limit or fence-off potential hiding spaces and consider installing motion-activated lights or noise-makers in yards or around homes.
Schoomaker also provided information about countermeasures that will stop coyotes from leaping into yards, such as raised or angled fencing. In addition, she advised using makeshift repellents such as scent rags, sprinklers or cayenne pepper.
Many residents asked about how to deal with neighbors who continue to intentionally feed coyotes, ignore warnings to coyote-proof their yards or are simply too worried about looking silly while hazing.
The city of Glendale has had an ordinance against feeding coyotes since 1995, according to Lt. Oscar Rodriguez of the Glendale Police Department, who also said the department gets roughly 10 calls a month about the animals.
"If you see [a] person feeding the coyotes… you have to be the person that places them under citizen's arrest," Rodriguez said. "You call the police and say 'I saw my neighbor feeding the coyotes.'"
He added that residents not try to apprehend the individuals, merely be the one to speak out so authorities can follow up with a possible citation.