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Dog owners report ‘aggressive’ behavior from coyote in Presidio

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A coyote alert sign is posted along John F. Kennedy Boulevard in Golden Gate Park on Wednesday, August 13, 2008. (Cindy Chew/2008 S.F. Examiner)

A coyote acted aggressively toward at least two dogs on Monday in the Presidio, near the closed part of the park’s hiking area where coyotes have a den.

The Presidio Trust received two calls about the coyote Monday near the section of the Park Trail that has been closed since last month. The trail has been closed during the pupping season, which usually runs through summer, said Dana Polk, a spokesperson for the Presidio Trust, in an email. The coyotes and their pups could be in other areas of the park as well, she added.

“We received two calls yesterday about aggressive coyote behavior toward dogs,” Polk said in the email. “We are investigating the incident.”

The Department of Animal Control hasn’t received any information about the incidents, the department’s spokesperson Deb Campbell said.

Protective behavior toward other canines is typical for coyote parents when their pups are around, Polk explained.

“The pups have begun to venture out of the den in early summer, to learn from their parents how to be a coyote,” she said.

The animals are also more active when hunting rats and gophers. Currently one breeding pair of coyotes and two pups reside in the park.

“The best course of action for dog walkers is [to maintain] general awareness of surroundings and to leave the area if they see coyotes,” Polk said. “The parents are essentially ‘telling’ the dog to ‘get away from here now.’”

Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously reported that the coyote had attacked dogs. The coyote acted aggressively toward the dogs, but did not attack them.

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