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Coyotes and You - What You Need to Know *UPDATED 6/3

It's spring, and coyote activity is on the rise!

Over the past several years, during the spring and summer months, Palo Alto Animal Services receives dozens of calls from residents reporting dead cats and small dogs who all met their demise because of coyotes. It's always heartbreaking, but most of the time, it's preventable.

Already this year, we have started to receive calls about coyotes acting more brazen and aggressive around people and larger dogs, mainly in southern Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Most likely these incidents occur near a coyote den and with a pack of coyotes. It's important to remember that the local wildlife are our neighbors. It comes with living in such a beautiful place like the Bay Area. So it is important to learn how to live side by side peacefully.

We want to make you “Coyote Aware” by sharing information with you, and you sharing it with others. If we can prevent one cat from being killed, or resident from feeling threatened, it’s all worth it!

Keys to preventing coyote attacks include:

  • Keeping pets indoors at night
  • Never leave pets and children outdoors unsupervised
  • Always have your dog on a leash
  • Don't feed wildlife, keep trash can lids secure
  • Watch and share the April 2017 Coexisting with Coyotes video presented by the Los Altos Hills Open Space Committee: https://vimeo.com/217037023

Those simple actions, and general good advice, can prevent the vast majority of coyote related incidents. You can learn more about safety and hazing below:

Santa Clara County Vector Control's Urban Coyote Page

Project Coyote - Dogs and Coyotes
Project Coyote - Be Coyote Aware
Video about Coexisting with Coyotes

If you would like to report coyote activity, or would like a wildlife technician to contact you, please call the Santa Clara Co. Vector Control at 1 (800) 675-1155 or sccvector.org


Palo Alto Animal Services provides animal control to the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills. If you witness actively aggressive, injured, ill, or dead animals please call Palo Alto Police at 650-329-2413. We have Animal Control Officers on duty 365 days a year, and are on call for emergencies 24/7. Our officers respond to urgent calls for service as soon as they can. However Animal Control Officers will not trap and remove coyotes. It is illegal in California to trap and relocate any wild animal without a permit from the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. If a coyote were to be trapped, it would have to be euthanized on site. Additionally, there is evidence that trapping and euthanizing wildlife creates a vacuum for other wild animals and does not remedy a particular problem.

It is up to you to be vigilant, aware of your surroundings, and follow proper coyote hazing tactics described in the above fliers.


-Cody Macartney
Superintendent Animal Services
March 2017

Last Updated March 7, 2017