Tinkerbell is gone.
Lucas and Sparky carry scars. Throughout the neighborhood, signs for missing cats are posted on telephone poles.
All assumed to have been carried off by what are now called “urban coyotes.”
A Ring camera video of a pack of five running through a Woodland Hills yard was posted online this week, picked up by television news and went viral.
The new breed of coyote is not just skulking around the edges of suburbia any more, but brazenly walking down the middle of west valley streets at 4 pm.
Some say the animals are drawn into our community seeking water during the drought.
Others say they’ve just learned there are easy pickings.
Coyote supporters say they are an important part of the food chain.
Nervous homeowners say the food chain shouldn’t include Fluffy.
Woodland Hills resident Sandra Mariscal, whose two dogs have been attacked more than once when they are let out, has tried everything she could think of since we first reported the attacks on Lucas, Sparky and herself back in March.
An aggressive coyote knocked her down trying to get to the dog in her arms.
She hired traps and baited them to humanely catch the coyotes to have them relocated. Not one trap was sprung.
Flashing lights before sending the dogs out to do their business didn’t stop coyotes from jumping the fence and hiding in the bushes.
She now carries an air pistol and a sharp stick when she goes out at night.
“It’s easier to see them in the daytime,” she told Valley News Group, “But horrible that they’re sitting in the yard waiting at 10 am.”
Her neighbors are reluctant to take their dogs on walks anymore, even on streets in the flats that are miles away from open space.
Tinkerbell was snatched from her yard near Topanga and Oxnard, just seconds from Warner Center.
There are reports that there is actually a pack of wild coyotes living on the abandoned grounds of Anthem Blue Cross, which was vacated in 2019.
So what’s a homeowner to do?
A single coyote is less threatening than a pack, though still scary.
Wildlife experts say when confronted make a lot of noise, act threatening and above all, don’t turn your back to them.
Not so reassuring.
Many residents are simply not allowing their pets outside unless there are two humans present.
Another resident built a six by 10-foot chain link dog run sunk into the ground to protect her animals.
Mariscal keeps the traps in the yard baited, but so far that’s only brought out raccoons who can reach through the trap and grab the food without triggering closure.
She now gears up for battle during nighttime rituals.
“We’ve called Animal Control. We’ve called Fish and Wildlife. They were no real help, just giving us suggestions that don’t work. So really now, it’s us against them. And they’re winning.”