Coyotes Killed After Attacks On City Dogs


Animal Control officials in San Francisco shot and killed two coyotes for attacks on dogs while they were walking with their owners in Golden Gate Park. Officials say that the coyotes may have been fending for their young or may have been sick. A debate over the killings also sparked a debate.

The Associated Press report did not mention whether these coyotes may have attacked cats in the area. City officials say two more may be still residing in the park. But as many as 8 coyotes may be roaming the San Francisco area. Interactions between city life and coyotes are rare, but not unheard of. Earlier this year, a Chicago coyote decided to take a nap in a sub shop’s fridge.

According to Deb Campbell, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Animal Care and Control Department:

“Fish and Game saw them, observed them and in their expert opinion decided they were a public safety risk and had to be destroyed, it was only a matter of time before they hurt someone.”

The wild canines were spotted and shot late Sunday near Speedway Meadow, a popular pedestrian area where the dogs were attacked on Saturday morning. They bit one of the pets, a large Rhodesian ridgeback, and lunged the other dog along a path. The ridgeback suffered minor injuries.

The killing of the coyotes sparks a debate between people who felt they posed no danger and the authorities. Some argued that they should have been relocated instead of shot.

City animal control and park authorities said the order to shoot wasn’t their call, and declined to say if they agreed with it. They said they understood the rationale even while sympathizing with the coyote defenders.

Officials said that relocation would have caused a different set of problems:

Officials said they have a hard time finding suitable habitat for coyotes not already taken by one of its own kind. An area without resident coyotes probably doesn’t have enough food to support them, meaning any relocated animal would be doomed to starvation, said Larry Hawkins, regional spokesman the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Service.

(Source: AP and the SF Chronicle)

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11 Responses to “Coyotes Killed After Attacks On City Dogs”

  1. wescott20 says:

    “Fish and Game observed them and decided they were a public risk….had to be destroyed”. Well, that’s typical of Fish and Game, isn’t it? Kill the animal…that’s always their answer. It disgusts me that my tax dollars are used to fund this despicable agency. If they gave a damn about the animals, they would have taken the time to tranquilize them and move them to a proper habitat.

  2. Elaine Vigneault says:

    This is so sad. I hate it when they act as if they had no choice but to kill them. “They had to be destroyed.” That’s bull. Of course you have a choice. Animal shelters know it’s a choice each and every day. And often, if you just make enough phone calls, you can find a sanctuary that can take the animal. They just weren’t willing to make the effort.

  3. SF Residents Fear Coyotes | Itchmo says:

    […] An Itchmo reader is reporting that coyotes who have been a problem in San Francisco’s Golden Gate area may be attacking feral cats. Two coyotes were killed last week after attacks on 2 dogs being walked. […]

  4. Lisa in the SF Area says:

    This is typically shallow thinking about wildlife. Golden Gate Park’s vector control manager, for example, insisted on putting out poisoned rat bait for a year (and ongoing) after the City banned it, despite extensive protests. He managed to kill 4 out of 5 hawks that were poisoned by eating dying rats. That has led to a HUGE increase in rats there….which is why coyotes were thriving there. Now, I ask you to continue thinking this through. The feral cat colonies that “disappeared” most likely were killed by eating poisoned rats. There were not enough cats in that park to feed coyotes. Will more coyotes move in to take advantage of the abundance of rodents some time soon (maybe the puppies that the older animals tried to protect from walked dogs?). And when those are shot to death too, after that? Smart thing to do would have been to trap the adult coyotes, gps collar them, build them a den somewhere far away from pathways, give them vacinations neuter them, and leave them alone.

  5. jbonnet says:

    This totally smacks of the juvenile mountain lion killed in Palo Alto a few years back. The response is so reactive and definitely feels as though agencies responsible are taking the “easy” way out. I think of all the species who pose a threat to me while hiking in Arastradero Preserve or Muir Woods — perhaps we should send Fish&Game out to destroy all the snakes, mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, etc., that might possibly pose a threat. Come to think of it, how many people are there on the streets of San Francisco who might pose a threat to residents and their pets? Hm, perhaps we should destroy them too…

  6. a says:

    i hate that they use the word “destroy”. they saw them as a threat and decided that “they had to be “destroyed”. it’s like a video game to them. total war language. why not cop to it, take responsibility and say WE decided that WE should KILL them. instead of “they had to be destroyed”. no, their viciousness, stupidity and disassociation with wild animals would be too evident to all in saying we decided to kill them.

  7. max says:

    yes, using the word “destroy” is quite telling. you don’t say “i’m gong to destroy that rat” or “we’re going to destroy our dog”. it sounds excessive and overly violent, and it’s basically treating the animal as if it’s not a living being but a building of bricks or something.

  8. John says:

    Agreed, its also too bad some forthinking animal lovers didnt sneak out there and night and try and save them and relocate them. Its a shame when animals are in danger and our organizations like the Humane Society of the United States.. Two of the wealthiest non profit organizations in the world or their members didn’t care enough to help those poor animals before they were destroyed… Makes me sick to my stomach they were posing half naked and lobbying congress with my donations instead of helping these poor animals.. Its just disgusting the way they claim to help animals but then dont even run any shelters with their 125 million dollar bank accounts like the Humane SOciety of the United States does or hire folks like Hinkle and that other beast to drive around and pick up dogs at shelters claiming to help them find homes and then they loaded them in the back of their PETA van and gave them shots of illegal drugs and euthanized them stuffed them in garbage bags and threw them in dumpsters like the PETA people did in North Carolina and the two that did it are still on the payroll!!!! The hypocrisy is truly sickening isnt it??? ANd what really makes me sick is the folks that fall for their propoganda and dont bother to find out the truth blindly following the idiots to the cliff….. Truly a tragedy how pathetic our animal rights organizations are isnt it???? Is it any wonder why we cant help the animals in the park???

  9. Lee Texas says:

    Screw the coyotes. They have killed my cat, I can’t stand them.

  10. Amanda says:

    I hate coyotes. Some of them killed my friend’s dog last year. Kill coyotes is a best solution so no more coyotes in future.

  11. Ann says:

    Our pet dog of 9 years was attacked, killed and dragged off by a coyote within 5 minutes of our dog going out and within 10 feet of our door. Our neighbor’s cats are missing. Any coyotes sighted near homes or in the city should be shot. They have lost their fear of people. Stop feeling sorry for the “poor animals”. If one kills your beloved pet, or attacks your child, you’ll know what a vicious, horrific thing this is.

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