Laurel Canyon News
Coyote Snatches Pet Chihuahua From Home
By Daniel Antolin
Jul 27, 2011 - 11:42:08 PM

LAUREL CANYON—On Wednesday, July 27, a member of the Laurel Canyon Association alerted other members to be wary of a coyote prowling around the neighborhood. One day prior, the coyote ran up and snatched his three-legged Chihuahua in front of his very eyes from outside his upper Kirkwood Bowl home.

Penny, a Chihuahua Photo courtesy of Joseph Ellis
In an email, Joseph Ellis related how he was standing outside of his home on Tuesday, July 26 at 9:45 a.m. when a brazen coyote less than 15 feet away took away Penny, a pet female Chihuahua missing one leg that he rescued from the streets of South Central Los Angeles. Ellis said that his 6-foot-tall frame and his other dogs were not enough to scare off what he called a very aggressive coyote.

"When taking small dogs or children outside be especially vigilant. I would hate for anyone else to have to experience this, especially my nearby neighbors," Ellis said.

"I'll never forget the look on Penny's face as she was taken away," Ellis further said.  

Coyotes are not rare in Laurel Canyon. They are one of the most common animals living in the area in addition to mule deer, bobcats, raccoons, opossums and skunks. And they are mostly supported by wildlife corridors in the Santa Monica Mountains.

And the Laurel Canyon Association encourages taking certain measures to keep a balance between people living in the neighborhood and not intruding on the local wildlife. Such measures include refraining from building home fences that might disrupt animals' access to feeding grounds, not using poison to kill the rats and gophers that scavengers eat and not leaving out food that makes them dependent.

Rosie the coyote six weeks into rehabilitation. Photo courtesy of
In fact, two summers ago in 2009, members of the neighborhood worked together to rehabilitate and rerelease into the wild a sick, hairless coyote they ended up naming Rosie. They even developed a website,, dedicated to her rescue and featuring tips on how people can coexist with these wild animals without harming them.

As for Ellis, he said he will now take care to keep his dogs on leashes when in the backyard in case the coyote comes back to his home sometime in the near future.

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