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Aggressive coyotes close Arastradero dog trails

Original post made on Jun 6, 2012

Some trails on the western side of Pearson Arastradero Preserve are temporarily closed to dogs after coyotes in the area exhibited aggressive behavior toward domestic pets.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 9:22 AM

Comments (26)

Posted by Annoyed by off leash dogs, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 6, 2012 at 11:21 am

If only all dog owners had kept their dogs on a leash when at Arastradero, maybe things would not have reached the point of trail closures for dogs. How many times did I see dogs off leash there, which is against the rule? Too many times to count.

Posted by Cur Mudgeon, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 6, 2012 at 11:55 am

I agree with you, and I am a dog owner as well. Off leash dogs harass wildlife (nesting birds, rabbits, small rodents, deer, reptiles) and are a risk to themselves--picking up foxtails and getting snake-bitten, as well as annoying and frustrating to dogs who are properly leashed. It's a PRESERVE, not a dog exercise area. You want to run your dog off leash, go pay the fee and join the horse park where dogs are allowed off leash.

Posted by Haters, a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Wow! A lot of potential dog-haters out there! If you loved your dog, you'd know how important it is to them to be off-leash once in a while! They are not "pets" - there merely for our recreation. The issue isn't whether or not a dog is leashed, it's whether or not the dog is under control. I've been bitten/attacked by dogs that were leashed, and they broke away because they were not trained. Well trained dogs are happier and don't need to be leashed! How many owners have we seen with big dog packs straining at their leashes - barely under control? They are not happy pups!

Posted by Alphonso, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm

"If only all dog owners had kept their dogs on a leash when at Arastradero, maybe things would not have reached the point of trail closures for dogs."

What difference would that make? I have been on the trail with a dog (on leash) and without a dog - coyotes have approached us in both cases. And I have never seen any dogs (on or off leash) bothering any wildlife. Seems to me you are complaining just to complain. The bigger problem is people trying to befriend the wild animals fy feeding them.

Posted by Dog Lover, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm

If your dog needs to be off leash, take them somewhere where that is legal. Any issues with that? If so you have faulty logic.
If you loved your dog enough you would obey the law.
Just because you WANT to let your dog run free does not mean you get to do it anywhere YOU decide its appropriate.
This is a typical case of selfish entitled people ruining things for all.
We have laws, obey them or work to change them, but don't ignore them.

Posted by ann, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 6, 2012 at 8:22 pm

i pay taxes on that dog should be allowed to run free.......dogs are man's best friend....coyotes are the enemy and are killing our beloved pets...even in our own back usual the coyote huggers have gone too far....if a dog attacked or acted agressive towards a pet or person...they would be nabbed and euthanized....what is wrong ......?

Posted by some guy, a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by a guy, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm

i agree, some guy, i'm not sure assualt rifles are the right choice, better to place sniper rangers, near the parking lot areas especially looking for the second the dog is off a leash, this could pass in municipal code

Posted by Anonymouse, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 6, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I was there with my 4 y/o son, riding bikes, on the Memorial Day Monday. A coyote approached us on the trail, opened its mouth and bared its teeth at my son.

Posted by GrizzlyAdams, a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I grew up and still live in this area. I keep my dogs fenced in, and on leash when off my property. It's the law, it's that simple. Coyotes are pupping at this time of year. So dont worry about it, they will bite you to protect their young. Coyotes are completely unaware of property taxes and the wants of the civilized.

Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 7, 2012 at 6:32 am

The Coyotes are drawn to the dogs smell, they could care less about leashes. Leashed dogs are generally more aggressive than unleashed dogs, just like humans would be. I agree that unleashed dogs can disturb other wild life in preserves such as Arastradero and are more likely to be beaten by snakes, so my dog is always on leash when I walk him up there, just like he is always on leash when I walk him in Palo Alto, but the coyote attacks have nothing to do with leashed or unleashed dogs, it's all about smelling potential prey.

Posted by Think, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 7, 2012 at 6:44 am

Behold! The mindset of entitled citizens who's selfishness is ruining this community:
"i pay taxes on that dog should be allowed to run free"
Yes, darn the actual laws that exist, Its whatever YOU want right?
Lets see if this statement is laughable or legit with a comparative statement.
"i pay taxes on that road...I should be allowed to drive as fast as I want"
See the selfish "Me first" attitude?
Yep, a complete joke. This is one of the main reason's PA is becoming a less enjoyable community, because its quickly loosing its sense of community.

Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2012 at 9:11 am

Quite frankly I don't see there being much of a debate in this matter. Common sense dictates that a dog on a leash is much less likely to create or find problems than one roaming free. If someone can make a case for changing the law, then by all means attempt to do so. That's how a democratic society works. Otherwise run your dog in a designated off leash park or private property.

Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2012 at 9:16 am

You're leaving out one important point Daniel. A leashed dog is presumably in the company of a human. A coyote would be less likely to take on a dog in that scenario by virtue of that alone. It could happen no doubt, just much less likely in my opinion. Coyotes seem to avoid human contact for the most part.

Posted by peacemaker, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 7, 2012 at 11:33 am

It appears the trail area is unsafe for human or dog traffic especially where small children are concerned. The humane thing to do is relocating the coyotes or shut down the area to remove human exposure. This is a dangerous situation all around. Just waiting for a potentially life threatening incident is not an intelligent choice. Something needs to change in the equation.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2012 at 11:49 am

Humans are trespassing on the habitat's land.

PA is big on property rights so respect the animals' property rights.

Follow the rules set up for safe human intrusion in this area, or withdraw from using it. It's not as if PA has a lack of recreation opportunities.

Posted by Alphonso, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Several things to point out-

Coyotes are are part of the dog family, but they are wild and can be dangerous to domesticated animals and people - lots of attacks have happened in Southern California. We would not put up with allowing wild pit bulls to roam the area so why are overly aggressive Coyotes permitted to be there.

There are many more coyotes in the Arastradero Preserve area now than there were 40-50 years ago. I never saw any in that area when I was a kid but I now see them every time I go to that park. People are not encroaching on coyote territory - it is the other way around because we encourage them to live close by. Also they live almost anywhere - I have seen them in Beverly Hills.

Normally coyotes hunt at night and hide during the day. Approaching people and dogs during the day is highly unusal and is not a good sign. Coyotes that bear teeth at young children during the day should be removed because they have crossed the line of normal behavior and they present a danger. I think the real problem may be that people are feeding the coyotes and that should be the banned activity.

Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm

You're absolutely right on the feeding issue Alphonso. Coyotes have a natural fear of humans. Those that do approach humans have usually lost that fear because they have been fed. Coyotes that have lost their fear of humans and see them as a food source are typically put down or placed elsewhere. Obviously a practice to discourage because it puts both people and animals in jeopardy.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm

The lecture on coyotes was unnecessary. I have a Ph.D. in biology.

I lived in a canyon in LA for 10 years and had the hill coming right up against out house. A coyote "family" lived uphill 25feet from our house and whelped every Spring.

We stayed out of the coyotes' way --- did not ever have unleashed dogs outside --- and they stayed out of ours.

Posted by Anonymouse, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I've seen plenty of coyotes biking through Arastradero, Montebello, and Russian Ridge parks. Some have seemed avoidant of me, and others have looked pretty indifferent. This one that came towards us in Arastradero was the boldest one that I have encountered. It was coming toward us from the other direction on the trail, and instead of walking off the trail, it veered toward us as we approached. As it came near, I yelled at it, and it ignored me. It then came even closer towards my son as if it recognized that the smaller one of us was the one he could take on, and opened his mouth as if to snap at him, as we rode by (we were on a tandem bike). I talked with park officials later, and they told me that my yell, if it sounded like a bark, may have provoked the coyote as they are often inclined to take on dogs. I was told that I should yell in the future in a similar situation, but I should be sure to sound human. A couple days later, on the other side of Arastradero Preserve, I encountered a coyote again on the trail, and this time I yelled "Go away, get off the trail" and it promptly scampered off.

Posted by Another Dog Lover, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 8, 2012 at 10:45 am

To Cur Mudgeon re: "go pay the fee and join the horse park where dogs are allowed off leash." It's $550/year (maybe more now). I mean really? Paying to walk your dog? That's ridiculous. I joined the horse park and paid the fee a few years ago and the joke was on me. The times that you can walk your dog are very limited, not to mention that the horse park is filled with foxtails in the summer months so you can only walk your dog for 8-9 months out of the year. PLUS, the people there mostly walk their dog on leash any way. I was asked to put my dog on leash so as not to bother their dog(s) who misbehave around other dogs. One member informed me there is an ettiqutte where if someone is walking their dog on the inside trails, you should walk yours on the outside trail. What a crock. We badly need a dog park in the Portola/Woodside area where you don't have to PAY to walk your dog.

Posted by rattler, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:14 pm

you can pay the rattlesnakes all you want, but they will still bite you and your dog

Posted by Hills resident, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm

I live west of 280 and just south of Page Mill. We have a family of coyotes who live in our area. They sometimes come through our property during the day but only passing through or hunting rabbits and run when we go outside. We have a dog and no fence--it has never been a problem. But now that our golden retriever is almost 15, we walk him out at night to wet--don't let him out alone. You just have to be sensible--never leave little kids outside, don't leave small dogs out--nothing that looks like easy prey. There are plenty of small animals for these coyotes to forage so they should not be bothering humans. Learn to live with wildlife.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2012 at 7:02 am

Bad dog owners are some of the most entitled people in PA. "I pay taxes so my dog should run free, harass the wildlife and poop anywhere..."

Posted by Scared, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm

>I've seen plenty of coyotes biking through Arastradero, Montebello, and Russian Ridge parks.

This is getting serious, then, if they're that physically skilled.

Posted by anon, a resident of Stanford
on Jun 11, 2012 at 7:46 am

laws are for the weak-minded. i only obey those that make sense. for example, there's a law in San Francisco that says "Persons classified as "ugly" may not walk down any street." i'm sure most of the posters here have already violated this many times before. so try not to be so preachy about following the laws. and stop whining about dogs being off-leash, running free as they should be.
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