S.F. official warns residents not to feed wild animals

While city residents have no choice which animals decide to make their homes in San Francisco’s parks and open spaces, the San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control hopes they make the right choices about how they coexist with those animals.

The department announced Wednesday that it is launching an outreach campaign to educate residents on how to peacefully coexist with wildlife, particularly coyotes.

The announcement follows what Animal Care and Control Director Carl Friedman called the “tragedy” last week of two coyotes that were shot after they attacked pet dogs.

“One of the things we found from this latest tragedy, was that there were people actually feeding the coyotes,” Friedman said. “People have seen people feed them and watched them grow more bold and aggressive as time goes by.”

Friedman said that feeding wild animals essentially “signs their death warrant” because it causes the animals to lose their natural fear of humans. Without that fear, predators such as coyotes can become a safety risk, Friedman said.

The campaign will consist of fliers distributed to residents near parks, signs posted in parks and eventually print and broadcast advertisements, Friedman said. There is no estimate yet on the cost of the campaign. Friedman said he is hoping advertising agencies will work pro bono with the department.

“I’m going to do it anyway and find a way to pay for it,” Friedman said.

amartin@examiner.com

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