HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — The Huntington Beach City Council approved on Monday a plan to deal with coyotes amid an uptick in coyote sightings and attacks this year.
In recent months, residents have become increasingly concerned about an increase in coyote sightings. Last month, residents attended a packed town hall meeting to express their concerns that the animals are threatening pets, kids and the elderly.
The Huntington Beach Police Department said residents have witnessed 78 coyote attacks on pets this year. There have been about 400 additional non-violent sightings — both numbers are up steeply from prior years.
“We’re so terrified, we won’t even take our dogs to the grass to go to the bathroom,” Huntington Beach resident Terri Kaz said.
While coyotes have long populated the area, a lack of available food and water due to drought is believed to have pushed them farther into urban environments.
With that in mind, the city council approved a plan to better educate the public on how to scare them away or take away their food sources. The emphasis is on deterring coyotes from the area without killing them.
Trapping or killing the animals is allowed under the plan, but only if a coyote has been seen biting or killing either a pet or a human, or displaying aggressive behavior on a resident’s property.
The plan closely resembles those in Seal Beach, Newport Beach, Calabasas, and Rancho Palos Verdes.
The city council said it will continue to study the coyote issue and develop its approach.