State officials kill Golden Gate Park coyotes

Authorities shot and killed a pair of coyotes that attacked two dogs that were being walked by their owner in Golden Gate Park on Saturday.

San Francisco Animal Care and Control spokesperson Deb Campbell said she learned this morning that wildlife officials enlisted by the California Department of Fish and Game had shot and killed the two coyotes in Sunday night.

The decision was made after the animals were observedand determined to be a public safety risk, Campbell said, but she was “surprised” when she found out what had happened.

“It's an unfortunate outcome,” she said. “I hope everyone learns from this. Wild animals need to remain wild — for their sake as well as ours.”

Authorities had posted warning signs around the park after a pair of coyotes attacked one Rhodesian Ridgeback and lunged at another, according to reports. The dog’s injuries were said to be minor.

Though coyote attacks are extremely rare in The City, animal control officials are reminding park users to follow basic safety measures around Speedway Park, though there is no real concern in other areas at this time, according to Animal Care and Control spokesperson Deb Campbell.

“We haven’t encountered any threatening behavior anywhere else,” Campbell says, noting that coyotes do not normally pose any danger to humans.

“Coyotes are very skittish, solitary animals,” Campbell notes. “They generally try to stay away from humans.’

The best thing people can do is to try to frighten coyotes away by making lots of noise.

“The more humans and coyotes stay away from each other, the better it is for both the humans and the coyotes,” Campbell stresses.

Pet owners can protect their animals by keeping them on short leashes rather than long, retractable ones.

“Don't feed the coyotes and don't let your dogs play with them,” Campbell advised. This incident may not have happened if the coyotes had not become so accustomed to seeing people in the park.

There is speculation that the male and female coyote may have been protecting a den of cubs. Campbell could not say if the cubs were found or what might happen to them now that the parents have been killed.

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