SAN DIEGO — People across San Diego County are seeing an increase in coyote sightings.
Coyotes are a year-round concern in Southern California, but more so during this time of year, that’s because January-March is mating season.
"It is scary, I think they're losing their fear," said Antonio Kavaldjian who lives in Chula Vista.
Kavaldjian is one of the many San Diegans who has had close encounters with coyotes.
"We're seeing them often, I see them crossing the street running at night. I've seen people walking their dogs on leashes carrying golf clubs, and I've seen coyotes follow right behind them closely," he said.
Online many San Diegans have shared recent sightings, encounters, and in some cases, attacks.
"I looked out on the balcony I saw my black chihuahua in the coyotes mouth," shared Kavaldjian.
Kavaldjian’s beloved Chihuhua was taken by a coyote from their Eastlake Greens home several years ago.
"I got the call the next day from the Chula Vista Animal Shelter. They told me to come and pick him up, they had found him. So when I got there, I only found half of the dog. The other half was gone," said Kavaldjian.
Recently, one of his other dogs also had a terrifying encounter, but made it out alive. Kavaldjian says coyotes often roam through the large golf course behind his house.
"They've gotten so comfortable that they're walking around golfers during playing time," he added.
Andy Blue, Campus Director with the Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center, says coyotes are highly intelligent animals that can, at times, also be fearless.
"We used to say you'd only see them at dusk or dawn or overnight but they are, they're very resourceful. They're going to go wherever the food is," said Blue.
How to protect yourself, pets
Blue says part of the reason sightings are becoming more frequent is because coyote’s tend to eat almost anything.
"Anything they can get a hold of, they’re gonna eat. They're bold and they'll go after animals or predate your animals in the middle of the day," he added.
Blue says the best way to protect yourself and your pets is to not leave anything outside your home that could attract coyotes, that includes pet food, water, and trash. Never leave your pets outside unattended. And if you happen to run into a coyote, don’t turn your back on it.
"The best thing to do is just make noise and make yourself look larger than you are. You just want to really want to make yourself intimidating to them," he said.
To report a coyote, call the county’s wildlife services at 1-800-486-0010.
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