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Friday, November 6, 2009

Where those missing pets go

A reader writes:

We just missed losing our Jack Russell terrier tonight. I let him out for his last potty break and went to my computer. Seconds later I heard him scream. I ran to the door and threw it open to find three huge coyotes in my SW Multnomah District front yard. Two ran out the gate and one jumped the fence with ease.

We checked the dog over and luckily there are no bites. But he sure is scared, and you know how fearless Jack Russells can be.

Maybe you can blog something about this, so that folks who might not be aware can avoid what might have happened to us.

Comments (46)

Not news unless one hasn't been paying attention. Have seen them myself on the street in residential areas over there. Same in North and NE near the slough and RR tracks, and on East side, especially near the buttes and along Johnson Creek. They are thriving.

Never let your pets out unattended, esp. cats. Coyotes will lure a dog away to romp and then gang up and tear it apart. Cats are a menace to songbirds and little critters, and turnabout is fairplay as coyotes kill domestic cats as competitors. Then there's the rabies thingies at large (skunks, raccoons, etc.).

Be a responsible pet owner. Never leave them unattended. I've seen coyotes in Eastmoreland for years. Btw, coyotes are everywhere in the U.S. -- even in Manhattan since at least the 1970's. If it's any consolation, cougars will chase and kill coyotes as competitors. I saw a werewolf drinkin' a pina colada at Trader Vic's and his hair was perfect. Ahhhoooo, werewolves of London....

Coyotes are domiciled in Woods Park in Multnomah neigborhood. My house is 3 blocks away. Two weeks ago at 9am my wife was in our garden and turned to see a full grown male standing and watching her. It then went about its business looking for a chicken breakfast at my neighbors

P.S. -- Saw a Cooper's Hawk snatch & dispatch a smallish domestic cat the other day.

P.S. -- Saw a Cooper's Hawk snatch & dispatch a medium-sized domestic cat the other day.

We used to have a dog/cat door on our back garage door, but we boarded it up for good when a large racoon came into the house in the middle of the day looking for the cat food. And in one week I counted no less than 15 items in the Lake Oswego Review police blotter about coyote sightings.

Funny thing is they were here first. The wildlife are one tenant that just won't be evicted! Where's a good FED lawyer when you need one?

I know a guy who was jogging over in SW recently (within the last 3 or 4 months) and he came upon a BEAR on the trail. I had no idea there were any within the city limits, but there you go.

Black bears have been sighted for many years in Forest Park, which is within city limits. Coyotes have been in the Alameda neighborhood in NE PDX as well.

Coyotes love people. There are more coyotes in US territory now than when Columbus landed. How many species can say that?

You mean they can talk?

Sounds like we need to import some roadrunners.

"Cats are a menace to songbirds and little critters, and turnabout is fairplay as coyotes kill domestic cats as competitors."

Love this argument. If a cat kills a bird or a mouse, they're evil. But a coyote whose regular diet consists of rodents, squirrels, domestic pets,etc., well, they're just so doggone wonderful! By the way, the predators don't restrict their diet to pets that wander off, they attack and kill them in fenced in yards, and on leashes.

Linda, "Funny thing is they were here first." Not true. Coyotes are a fairly recent problem locally, lured here by easy food sources, no natural predators (although that's changing - cougars are moving in fast), and no controls by humans over their population. Coyote sightings in these area historically had been very rare. This is a man-allowed, if not man-made problem. And it is a developing problem. There used to be controls in the not too distant past, but maintaining a safe environment within the city limits has not been very high on the city's to do list for a couple decades.

But what the heck? It's just so earth-friendly to worship anything non-human while disdaining evil, destructive mankind. It just "feels" right, huh? Until your pet is dragged out of your yard, or your kids can't play in the woods anymore, or your niece or nephew or grandchild makes it on the menu. Not only are the coyotes making themselves at home day and night, they aren't being frightened off by humans yelling at them or barking dogs anymore. So just wait. Attacks like the one in B.C. that killed the song writer will become more frequent. But since she is a competitor for earth's resources, after all, I guess "turnabout is fair play."

You mean they can talk?

Yes - but only with the aid of the ACME speech convertor.

Ron Popeil is working on one, too.

Is this one better Jack - sorry, I'm a cat lover.

I used to have an elderly neighbor near Mt Tabor who remembered there being wolves there when she was a girl and Mt Tabor was the rural outskirts of town. I am sure they kept the coyotes and a number of other species in check.

I recently adopted two kittens that are growing and starting to exhibit an interest in what's going on outdoors, especially when they greet me at the door each time I return home.

I am definitely concerned about letting them outside in light of the coyote risk. I also am concerned about the local wildlife because these young cats will chase each other and a toy mouse for hours. If I let them outside, I know that every small creature nearby will be at risk.

Yet at my place it will not really be possible to keep them inside during the summer.

We have coyotes over here in Hillsdale too. They live in the woods behind Gray Junior High. Cats go missing often here.

This summer, I was driving down Taylor's Ferry and I saw a coyote run with a cat in its mouth right by the Riverview Cemetery.
It was about 4:30 in the afternoon! Broad daylight!

I'm keeping my cats in. They don't like it.

"Cats are a menace to songbirds and little critters..."

Yup, my cat is a major menace to the mice and rats that meander over from a nearby vacant lot. Birds, not so much and I suspect he's catching the weak ones.

I started letting my cat out when he was nearly full grown. Now, he sometimes spends an entire night outside. It's the old freedom vs. security conundrum. I know I would rather have more freedom, even if it does come with the risk of being torn apart by the teeth of a larger predator. The cat seems to feel the same way. Actually, my biggest fear for him is catching a disease from another cat.

Coyotes talk? You bet and they can sing as well.

Police and fire sirens at night can get them going and it will last longer than you want.

Ah diversity!!

So instead of trapping or poisoning the mice, voles, gophers and rats I have a "working" cat.

And the cats only manage to catch a bird rarely--evolution at work.

Also we haven't had a cat eaten by a coyote in twenty years--guess we have faster cats here in Washington County.

The only predator who has gotten close to killing my cat was (I suspect) the pigeon breeder who missed his kill shot by about a quarter inch. Cost me a bundle to fix the shattered leg. The vet said that if the cat was "worrying" the livestock then it would have been a "good" kill. Yeah, this is the type of animal lover who may be responsible for the lack of birds of prey in the area.

Ah nature.

The only coyote Ive ever seen out here was riding the empty MAX red line :)

One thing I forgot to mention. I do a lot of walking in the West Hills and around Forest Park, etc. I see a LOT of missing cat flyers on telephone poles. I have thought of doing a photo study of them and probably will one of these days.

Dear PDX Lifer, I hope that someday at least your mind gets paroled from confinement. You jumped to too many non sequitur conclusions. And who said anything about "evil" or "wonderful" anyway? Nobody.

"Just the facts of life, m'am. -- Sgt. Mojo Friday

Beep! Beep!

Here's a story about coyotes that has been getting a lot of coverage in Canada where a woman was attacked and killed by them recently.


PDX Lifer - I'm with Mojo. Take a deep breath and chill. I never said mankind was evil. The whole "they were here first" and "where's a good FED lawyer when you need one" was a joke. Maybe not a good one, but a joke nonetheless.

Bears in Forest Park? Pics or not true!

Animals, both 'domestic' and wild, are the second best reason to get and use a concealed handgun license. There are many reports from all over the country where people have had to dispatch a loose dog, coyotes, even cougars in residential neighborhoods.

So correct me if I'm wrong but I assume that you have to trap coyotes in the Cities but are otherwise free to kill outside the Cities?

If so how come the coyote population is growing?

Just to add to the sightings - Rose City Golf course (I've seen them, and my neighbor saw one this summer, standing in the tee area around 11:00 a.m., and no one could get it to move for some time), and Rocky Butte - unsure if it's the same pack, or even same ones, or not. I saw one when taking out my Jack Russell mix for the last bathroom break of the evening, but she was on a leash, and the coyote was by itself, standing in the intersection.

And, in response to earlier comments - if coyotes weren't here before humans settled the area, where did they come from?

I photographed a lone coyote in my backyard at 9:30am a couple of weeks ago (near 148th and NE Halsey). Then I heard a smallish pack of them (sounded like three) during their successful 1:00am hunt about a block away earlier this week.

Sorry, Mojo. Not sure when the word "menace," in your post, took on a positive connotation. And I admit, 50+ years in Portland does tend to allow for observation of how things change, for better or worse. But I wasn't kidding when I ask why it's okay for coyotes to kill and eat cute little critters, but not cats. Especially since both species are allowed to be in this environment artificially.

And Linda, I'm chillin' as we speak. But the "they were here first" mantra is very often repeated with great sincerity and even greater inaccuracy. So I do like to call attention to the ridiculousness of that statement, even though I admit I missed your humor. Things change. Man changes things. We've evolved to be able to do so. Too many people these days are quick to point out humankind's folly and disregard the greatness of our achievements and spirit. I find this default to "Things were so much better before we came along" is tiresome.

As far as the coyote population at Robert Gray Middle School, last year a 70lb. black lab was attacked by a group of coyotes as its senior owner was walking it on a leash. She was unable to scare them by yelling, and had to throw some food from her pocket to distract them. $5,000 in vet bills. This is on PPS property, on the lower playing field. Not half a mile up the hill, a dog was attacked in its yard about a week ago. The group of coyotes dragged it into blackberry bushes and the owner couldn't scare them with a stick. He got a flashlight and apparently the light in their eyes caused them to release the dog. But you won't read about these stories and others in the local publications. You'll only read about how if we all grow a tomato plant in our backyards, we can put corporate farms out of business.

There are many more coyote incidents and not a week goes by that I or my neighbors don't see one or a group of them scouting the neighborhood streets at any time of day or night. It isn't cute, it isn't a warm and fuzzy return to nature, it's a major menace (in the old style of the word). The city used to control menaces or potential threats to residents' well-being. But they stopped that quite a while ago. So now it's just a matter of time. And since much of the wooded areas in the southwest where the dens are multiplying are privately owned, I guess the property owners get to deal with the resulting liabilities for any injuries or loss of life. Yeah, I'm old-fashioned. I don't believe a problem should be ignore so that it can become an even greater problem. Coyote populations, once established, compensate for loss of their numbers by increased rates of fertility. So unless you get rid of them all, they just breed more vigorously. That's a problem.

They city's "animal control" used to trap "wild dogs" but they buckled under pressure from special interest groups after they trapped a den by the airport. They are worthless now. I believe trapping by residents is not allowed. And we aren't supposed to discharge firearms in city limits. Poison runs the risk of being non-selective.

Thanks, Joey Link, for the most realistic and prudent assessment of the situation.

Why don't we just tell the PPB that we saw them urinating in public?

Yeah, we shouldn't kill rats either. They were here before we were. And there not even a menace like coyotes.

Ah, good, we're all ok here, thanks Linda & PDXLifer, esp. for the added details. I referred to domestic cats as menaces because they are non-native animals and great numbers of them indiscriminately and unnecessarily kill lots of native and migratory birds in the U.S. Not a good thing. Btw, one tactic that often works when you need to stop or scare off an animal is to clap your hands a couple times to mimic the *pop* sound of a gunshot. Repeat as needed.

In memory of Old Yeller....

I believe we Euro-Americans brought the rats with us, actually.

Norway (or "brown") rats, yes, George -- but there are many native species and kinds of rats and their relatives, doing their things in the grand scheme here in the "New World." See:


All of this reminds me of several scenes from the film version of Farley Mowat's excellent "Never Cry Wolf."

Ah, good ol' anthropomorphism!

Pick up a copy of Jack London's "White Fang" and read therein "The Law of Meat". He does an especially good job of removing the human perspective.

I remember those cold Christmas nights all snuggled in with an electric blanket at the house my Grandpa built in South Lake Tahoe.

We would all go to bed by 11:30-midnight and laying there trying to go to sleep you would hear the most God awful blood curtling scream.

Well, that scream was some Janie Joe's little terrier going out for his/her night time potty and BAM! 3 coyotes hop their 6 foot fence, snatch little terrier by the neck, hop back over, and they eat it alive like Hyenas on the African Savannah tearing up baby Zebra.

God I love Mother Nature's brutal honesty. Too bad a lot of PETA types don't realize it.

The few coyotes I've seen in wilderness areas were always in the process of getting away from me - their human interactions were few, but they instinctively seemed to know not to mess with us.

The many I've seen in my neighborhood next to Forest Park, on the other hand, are quite used to humans, and act like they own the place. Their behavior is quite different, because they have learned to coexist with us in order to benefit from a plentiful food supply - pet food left out, garbage, gardens, cats, etc. - that supports them at a density level that could never exist in nature.

We cause the problem, and until we stop acting like it's a coyote problem, it's not going to go away.

I am with Joey Link on this one. Personally, my pets are my family. If I chose to live in a house like my Grandparents in Lake Tahoe, I would have a couple of handguns to adequately deal with the situation. Hopefully, I would also be able to get a hold of a silencer or two for one of the handguns.

I am sure that PETA types would want you in jail for 2 years for blowing away some coyote's head in the defense of your family, but that is a risk I would take.

When I was living on NW Skyline adjacent to Forest Park and just down the road from Germantown I saw bears several times. The most tenacious specimen was a young black bear that tried to take out my beehives. The barking of the dogs scared him away and we put up an electric fence that completed the job of discouragement. I later learned that this "juvenile bear" had been making a 20-mile loop of the west hills and was finally tranquilized while looting garbage cans on Cornelius Pass. He was relocated.

During our time on the hill - 12 years in all, 80s and 90s - I saw bears, coyotes (never bothered us), deer, a wildcat of some kind, many elk migrating through to Jewell, lots of small critters, and - once - what looked like an emu. It had escaped from somewhere nearby and survived in the woods for at least two weeks.

And of course the usual loose cattle and the occasional horse, before the Street of Dreams and encroaching development on Springville and Germantown.

They tranquilized and relocated a bear. This is what I have been saying for years. Why not train the police force to be ace, sniper-level shots with tranquilizer darts? And yes, train them to be medics too. Then they would really be earning their keep without killing unarmed people on a regular basis.

I like the idea of a fentanyl net. The Russians managed to save a number of theater-goers (and kill, unfortunately, a number of children) by gassing out the hostage takers with, essentially opiate gas. Just imagine a precision projectile tent that lands around an unruly person and delivers a dose of opiate gas. So much more elegant than all that ugly adrenaline-laden tussling with guns and such.

If you have a hunting license, you can legally dispatch coyotes. You cannot, however, legally discharge a firearm inside Portland City limits. You could probably (legally) kill it with a bow or a steel pellet. Thoughts?

My thoughts: Screw on a supressor, then shoot, shovel, and shut up.

I could use a shovel right about now.

Speaking of rats, looks like we'll be getting plenty of chances


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