July 12, 2000
Portola Valley: Rogue coyotes to be
Within the last month, a pair of coyotes attacked a 50-pound dog
being led on a leash by two residents of Portola Valley Ranch
walking on a sidewalk.
As a result of this and other incidents, the Portola Valley Town
Council June 28 approved an exception to its ordinance prohibiting
discharge of firearms within town boundaries.
Now the Portola Valley Ranch Association can hire a commercial
hunter to dispatch the animals.
There's no doubt about which coyotes are to be shot, Councilman
Kirke Comstock assured the council. "They are staying in the same
area and appear when someone takes their dogs out," he said. "It's
very clear who they are."
In a letter to the town, Nancy Azzopardi, general manager of the
Portola Valley Ranch Association, noted there had recently been
three other incidents when the same coyotes attacked dogs within
their yards with adults nearby.
"The coyotes are completely unafraid of humans as they walk
boldly through residents' front yards," she wrote.
The fear is not just for dogs. The Game Warden considers the
coyotes "extremely dangerous to children and pets," Ms Azzopardi
The decision to shoot the coyotes has not come easily to the
Ranch, where residents take pride in preserving natural habitat and
living peacefully with wildlife. "However, our children are at risk
due to the uncharacteristically aggressive behavior of these
animals, and our children's welfare must be our first priority,"
Ms. Azzopardi wrote.
Other methods of disposing of the coyotes would not be
satisfactory, she explained. The Game Warden does not want to trap
and relocate them, because they would repeat their aggressive
behavior elsewhere, and teach it to their cubs.
They also can't be tranquilized and euthanized, Ms. Azzopardi
wrote, because it is impossible to get within 25 feet of a coyote,
which is the range of a tranquilizer gun, according to Urban
Wildlife Management, the company being considered for the job.
In moving for the approval, Mr. Comstock noted, "These coyotes
pose a danger to animals and people in Portola Valley Ranch."