Pixel Tracker

Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 2:36 am | Fair 46º


Coyotes Spotted More Frequently, Killing Pets in Santa Barbara

Coyote sightings are being reported with increased frequency in the city of Santa Barbara

Although no humans have been harmed, there have been several reports of pets being killed or injured. In some cases it has been reported that the wild animals appear comfortable around people.

Coyotes are medium-sized animals that belong to the dog family. Most adults weigh between 25 and 40 pounds and resemble a small gray or brown dog. 

Their natural diet consists of mice, rats, ground squirrels, gophers, and rabbits; however they also eat insects, reptiles, amphibians, fruits, birds and their eggs, and deer fawns. In urban and suburban areas coyotes can also eat domestic house cats, small dogs, poultry, and other animals as well as available pet food and garbage. 

Coyotes are typically nocturnal, but during cooler seasons or in drought conditions they may be seen during daylight hours.

Santa Barbara City Animal Control has received complaints of people purposefully feeding coyotes raw chicken near La Mesa Park. 

Never intentionally feed a wild animal. Once wild animals have lost their fear of humans through unnecessary interaction they can become aggressive or too comfortable with humans for their own safety. 

Not only is feeding wild animals like coyotes irresponsible and dangerous, it is illegal if it results in a change in an animal’s normal behavior patterns. 

If you see someone feeding wild animals such as a coyotes, please call 9-1-1. Please respect and help protect these wild animals.

Helpful tips to avoid coyotes: 

— Remove sources of food and water, especially at night. This includes pet bowls, fallen fruit from trees, and water in bird baths.

— Secure garbage can lids or store them indoors.

— Ensure outdoor enclosures for rabbits, poultry, birds, etc. are well secured.

— Put away bird feeders and leftover poultry food at night to avoid attracting rodents and other coyote prey.

— Do not leave small children outside unattended.

— Do not leave dogs, cats, and other pets outside unattended, especially at night. Santa Barbara’s Municipal Code 6.08.020(a) states that it is unlawful to cause, permit, or allow any animal to run at large, untethered and unattended, in any unenclosed lot or place; this includes cats.  Failure to do so may result in a fine.

What to do if you do see a coyote in your neighborhood: 

— Do not approach it.

— Make loud noises.

— If you have a close encounter with any large wild animal, pick up and hold children and small pets. Do not turn your back, instead make loud noises and calmly back away.

For more information on coexisting with urban wildlife, residents can visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website

For wildlife emergencies (sick or injured animals) residents can call SB City Animal Control at 805.963.1513, Wildlife Care at 805.681.1080, or SB County Animal Services as 805.681.5285. To report conflicts or sightings of wild animals, citizens can call the local Fish & Wildlife office at 805.568.1231.

— Sgt. Riley Harwood is the public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.