Some residents in Mountain View are keeping close tabs on their small pets, especially at night, after reports of cats being mauled by coyotes.
According to officials at Santa Clara County Vector Control, the coyotes may be taking advantage of Stevens Creek, which runs through residential neighborhoods in Mountain View. The agency says it has received about eight calls regarding coyotes over the past few weeks, and that’s unusually high.
Wesley Brandemuehl said his cat Mario was the Alpha cat of the block. Mario was the first pet to come into contact with a coyote.
"I can’t count the number of times, late at night, we would hear him yowling at some cat or another around our house," Brandemuehl said. "We think he probably tried to scare off the coyote, to be honest."
The next door neighbor actually saw a coyote attack Mario.
"She looked outside from her window and saw the coyote on her front lawn eating a cat," Mariel Van Dalsum said.
The neighbor said her sister ran down from her room and scared off the coyote, but Mario didn’t survive.
A couple days later, another dead cat turned up on the lawn.
"She just walked out in the morning and saw a little cat head and four paws; that was all that was left of of the cat," Van Dalsum said.
Vector Control officials said the coyotes are likely using the Stevens Creek Wildlife Corridor to search for food.
"This is typical," Vector Control spokesman Russ Parmin said. "This time of year they’re raising new pups, and some of the older pups, now they’re starting to disperse and go out into other territory."
Coyotes are not considered a threat to people, so there are no plans to trap or kill them. But because they're clearly a threat to pets, officials are advising residents to not let their animals out at night.
Parmin said the coyotes eventually will move on if they have no prey and people don’t leave food out at night.