San Francisco Chronicle

Coyotes Win Tolerance From Dublin, San Ramon

July 18, 2000
Michael Pena, Staff Writer

Dublin and San Ramon have heeded the call of wildlife experts who say coyotes and humans can peacefully coexist.
Despite increasing coyote attacks and encounters starting last spring, the general feeling in the community is that the critters have been cornered by development.
Although no formal decision has been made, both Dublin and San Ramon officials have said they will follow the direction of the state Department of Fish and Game.
The department has ruled out the use of leg traps because the coyotes are not considered a danger to humans. An option to have them shot has also proved unpopular.
“It’s pretty much status quo,” said San Ramon Vice Mayor Ron Raab. “We’ve had an expanse in development out there, so we’re putting pressure on their space.”
San Ramon held a community forum last week, called “Coexisting with Coyotes,” after a family of coyotes was discovered in Dougherty Hills Park in Dublin.
“Just going in and killing coyotes isn’t going to resolve it,” said Christopher Papouchis of the Animal Protection Institute in Sacramento. “We can’t expect them to change their behavior, but we certainly can.”
In May, a Dublin woman’s dog was killed while running through the park, and later that month, a San Ramon resident said a coyote jumped into her backyard and nearly killed her cat.
The Dublin City Council then sought the advice of the Department of Fish and Game, which sent a letter last week stating that leg traps could not be used on the coyotes because they were not posing a threat to human health and safety.
Wildlife experts at last week’s meeting were told that some neighbors might be feeding coyotes and that, in one case, a coyote den atop a hill was completely surrounded by new houses.
Residents are advised to keep small pets and their chow bowls indoors or yell and throw rocks at a coyote if it gets too close. Wildlife experts may return to San Ramon to help homeowners come up with ways to keep coyotes out of the yard.
Warning signs have been posted at the main entrances of the 90-acre park off Stagecoach Road, but the Dublin City Council has yet to decide on a further course of action.
Ranchers in Portola Valley have called for a similar meeting on August 17 to address problems with coyotes that have been fed by humans, said Mary Paglieri, sponsor of the Urban Wildlife Information Network.
“Our behavior influences their behavior,” Paglieri said.
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