“Oh, you must go to Griffith Park. But don’t let your dog off the leash after the sundown. Coyotes will kill him. I’m not kidding.”
…said the manager of the first apartment building I moved into as I signed my lease. I came to find out that while she had a flair for the dramatic, was a hypochondriac, and a terrible building manager, she was serious about coyotes. I wasn’t worried at the time. I was moving into the heart of the city far from the hills, and I was coming from Florida which has it’s own mélange of strange wildlife; I’ve lived in neighborhoods with bear, boar, and alligators.
However! I wasn’t chased by a single one of those wild animals in Florida. Last night, a coyote chased me.
I live near Larchmont, which is literally in the middle of everything: Downtown is east, Hollywood is north, Mid-City is South, and Beverly Hills is west. I’m a good two miles from Griffith Park, which is where coyotes in Los Angeles live. And with good reason: it’s the largest municipal park in the US of A. The more you know.
The neighborhood surrounding Larchmont is safe, which is reason number one why I love living there. I can take my dog out real quick at 2am and not worry too much about, like…being abducted into a human trafficking situation. I came home from work at around 8pm last night, and took Max, my sweet little nugget, out for the most routine of evening strolls.
While out and about, I saw a very large dog, off-leash, down the street. There were a bunch of cars parked around it with their lights on, so I figured it was a gathering of bougie folk who don’t believe in leashing their animal. Rather than worry about tangling with that, I turned and walked the other direction. Before I knew it, I realized the very large dog was not a dog, but a coyote. It had run down the road, about 500 feet, silently and within seconds.
Here’s the thing, y’all: COYOTES ARE BIGGER THAN YOU ANTICIPATE THAT THEY WILL BE. I thought it’d be like…dingo-sized. Maybe the size of like, a sinew-y German Sheppard. I don’t know if this thing was like, the alpha male of it’s group or something? But it was the size of a small wolf.
I didn’t know what to do. Max sensed danger and started yelping, which triggered the howling of every other dog in the neighborhood. I tried to get out of it’s way, but no matter how quickly I crossed the street, it followed. The faster I went, the faster it went. All I could think to do was yell at it, so I did, and that worked.
If you’re laughing at this? No offense taken, because I am too. Picturing myself holding my sweet little pound puppy, standing in the middle of an upscale neighborhood, yelling into the shadows is, out of context, hilarious. But at the time? It was real, true fear. I was prepping to be attacked, and I had no idea how I was going to get out of it.
The yelling worked. The coyote ran down the street and I ran home with Max in my arms. After a little bit of research, it looks like there is a coyote problem in my neighborhood, so that’s awesome. For your benefit and mine, here are tips from the Humane Society on how to “haze” a coyote:
- Stand tall, wave your arms, and yell at the coyote, approaching him if necessary, until he runs away.
- If a coyote has not been hazed before, he may not immediately run away when you yell at him. If this happens, you may need to walk towards the coyote and increase the intensity of your hazing.
- The coyote may run away, but then stop after a distance and look at you. It is important to continue to go after the coyote until he completely leaves the area. You may need to use different tactics, such as noisemakers, stomping your feet, or spraying the coyote with a hose, to get him to leave.
(I can not stop laughing at this video.)
The Humane Society also recommends carrying a whistle while walking your dog, which I’ll be adding to my leash immediately.
Stay safe, all!