Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct a misspelled name.
Humans are largely to blame for the recent string of coyote attacks on pets and humans in the Los Angeles area, according to at least one wildlife expert.
“Typically, coyotes are very shy and want to avoid people. They’re skittish,” Rebecca Dmytryk, CEO of Humane Wildlife Control Inc., told KTLA’s John Fenoglio.
A coyote expert, she’s on a mission to prevent unwanted encounters with the highly intelligent animals.
“The real story here is how humans caused this behavior in the coyotes,” Dmytryk said. “They’re easy to keep away, but in this case, they were trained to come to people for food.”
There has been a string of recent coyote attacks.
On Sunday, two Chihuahuas – Gizmo and Salem – were in the backyard of their Granada Hills home when a pair of coyotes jumped a 6–foot wall and fatally attacked them. That incident was captured on home security cameras.
In a similar attack, 87-year-old Alvin Yousen lost his beloved Schnauzer mix named Nokia after coyotes scaled his fenced property and killed Nokia in the backyard.
There was also the terrifying coyote attack on a toddler in Woodland Hills that was captured on video. Fortunately, state wildlife officials identified, captured and euthanized that coyote.
“L.A. city has got to change how they’re dealing with this,” Dmytryk said.
The coyote expert provided KTLA with photos and videos that she claims show people leaving out food and water for the wild animals in Shoup Park, located just blocks from where the toddler was attacked.
“In one of these videos, you’re seeing some folks that regularly fed the coyotes at a particular spot on the back side of Shoup, daily, at a particular time,” Dmytryk said.
Dmytryk says that eases coyotes’ natural fear of people and leads to more dangerous encounters. She points to public trash bins that are not sealed, another food source for the wild animals. Finally, Dmytryk said she’s calling on the City of Los Angeles and surrounding communities to implement a formal response plan.
“We want the city to make changes. We want them to adopt a progressive coyote response plan and to commit to following it through,” she said. “And we want the state to prosecute the people who were feeding these coyotes.”
Experts also say it’s important not to leave your pet’s food outside, especially overnight, which can attract coyotes, and small pets shouldn’t be left alone outside either. If you do encounter a coyote, officials you should try to scare it away because it’s important for the animals to fear humans.