Since the middle of June (2009) there have been an increasing number of reports that domestic pets are being attacked and killed by wild animals. The majority of the attacks appear to be coyote related but some reports are suggesting that we may have one or more bobcats or mountain lions roaming the area.
Wild animals are certainly not new to the area. Groups of coyotes have been seen in the fields South of Santa Rosa Road on numerous recent occasions, and they can be heard barking and howling many days from sunset until very late at night. The horse trails and arroyo provide them natural paths into our neighborhoods. They have been especially active in the Western area of Bridlewood and Eastern portion of Rancho Santa Rosa. The loss of pets and other domestic animals appears to have been the greatest on Pradera Road where their access to open space is impeded by residences.
Although the open space on the Western end of the Valley offers the wild animals more opportunity to hunt and migrate without being entrapped in a developed neighborhood, that corridor is also partially blocked by the Presilla hill-top and some cats and a bear have recently been seen there.
The important point to be made about all of this is that these are wild animals, and they are dangerous! Most of the time they are just looking for food, and given half a chance they will help us control our rodent, squirrel, and rabbit populations. Unfortunately, however, if they feel cornered they will aggressively defend themselves. Likewise, if they become over populated they will elect to kill other animals that they normally would not pursue.
It is important the everyone be aware of the current problem. Please discuss the situation with your family and neighbors. All of these animals hunt for food starting in the late afternoon and continue all through the night. Small pets and children should not be left alone outside during this period.
You are encouraged to report actual sightings of coyote packs or any other wild animals to the Sheriff's Department Communications Center (654-9511). They will determine if California Fish and Game should be called to investigate or intervene.
If you have information to share on this issue, please use the Santa Rosa Valley - Information Website Blog to post your comments so others can benefit from your experience.