SANTA MONICA—Coyotes have been sighted in Ocean Park, heading towards the beach, though the number of coyote complaints has decreased throughout the past few months. The biggest incentive for encroaching on human property is food, whether it is in the form of trash, fallen fruit, pets left outside, food handouts, etc.

California law does not permit the relocation of coyotes, which can result in the increased risk of a coyote being attacked by other coyote families and finding other neighborhoods to roam. Police are required to either set free or euthanize any coyotes that have been caught in the traps, usually in the form of leg traps that spring shut and are chained to a stake in the ground.

There were no coyotes trapped in the area throughout the past year and Animal Control has yet to put down a coyote. According to the Humane Society of the United States, about 32,000 coyotes are killed each year on both public and private lands.

“Coyote attacks on people are very rare. More people are killed by errant golf balls and flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes.

Often, coyote attacks are preventable by modifying human behavior and educating people about ways to prevent habituation. In many human attack incidents, it turns out that the offending coyote was being fed by people. In many other instances, people were bitten while trying to rescue their free-roaming pet from a coyote attack. Less often, people are bitten by cornered coyotes, or even more rarely, rabid coyotes.

There have only been two recorded incidences in the United States and Canada of humans being killed by coyotes. One involved a child in Southern California in the 1980s and the other a 19-year old woman in Nova Scotia in 2009. These events, rare as they are, are serious and warrant serious response.

A coyote who has bitten a person will have to be specifically targeted and removed from the population. Most health departments will mandate testing for rabies, which requires that the offending coyote be killed. Under no circumstances does an attack by an individual coyote warrant killing at large, in an effort to reduce the population or simply ring up the bill on coyotes as an act of retribution” states the Humane Society.