Coyote Attacks a Man and His Dog

By Lindsay Hood
|  Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011  |  Updated 11:01 AM PDT
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Coyote Attacks a Man and His Dog

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 09: A nursing mother coyote limps through Griffith Park, the nation's largest urban park, after fleeing flames May 9, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. The pups were not seen. The Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles Zoo, Travel Town, and various other park features were threatened but did not burn in the wildfire that broke out yesterday afternoon and forced nearby residents to evacuate their homes later that night. So far the fire has consumed 840 acres of brush and is 40 percent contained by firefighters. Five fires have broken out in the park, which is mostly native chaparral habitat open space, since December including one near the landmark Hollywood sign. Los Angeles is experiencing the driest rain season since records began in 1887. Two years ago, the city had its second-wettest winter. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

A coyote that wandered into a Vista neighborhood and attacked a man and his dog last week probably didn't wander into town from the wild, but is probably part of pack of "urban coyotes," officials told the North County Times.

Sheriff's deputies responded on Friday just before 8:30 p.m. to a coyote attack on Bonair Road in Vista, the paper reports. The man did not have any injuries, but his dog was rushed to a local animal hospital, the NCT said.

After a through search of the neighborhood, Sheriff's deputies told the NCT the coyote was not found.

Animal experts say coyotes can live among us without us ever seeing them.

"They can be elusive, and they can live for years in neighborhoods," said Kevin Brennan, a state Fish and Game wildlife biologist of urban coyotes. "We can't predict when their behavior changes, and when it does, there’s not a lot we can do."

Researchers believe there as many as 12 coyotes per square mile living in North County, the paper said.

"One of the common misconceptions that people have is that coyotes are coming out of the hillsides into the neighborhoods, but it's almost the other way around," Brennan said. "They have a lot of food ---- more cats ---- and no natural predators keeping their numbers under control, so they flourish in urban settings.

Brennan said attacks on people are rare. He added that once they become a problem, there is nothing authorities can do to change their behavior, they must trap or kill the animal.

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