Santa Barbara Animal Control reported on Thursday that several cats and small dogs have been injured and killed by coyotes roaming around town in recent days.
According police spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood, three coyote sightings near the Mesa and San Roque areas were reported on Wednesday alone. “Cousins” of dogs, coyotes usually weigh between 25 and 40 pounds and, when they’re in urban areas, feast on garbage, rodents, pet food, and sometimes domestic animals.
To avoid coyotes — and “keep them wild” — Animal Control advises residents to secure outdoor trash can lids, enclose rabbit, poultry, and bird cages, put away bird feeders and leftover pet food, remove any food or water sources, clean up fallen fruit beneath trees, and keep household dogs and cats outside inside at night.
Although typically nocturnal creatures, coyotes have been spotted in daylight during colder months. Harwood said no humans have been harmed since reported sightings have increased.