San Francisco

San Francisco Residents Complain About Increasingly Aggressive Coyotes

The scare tactics don't work, and the problem is getting worse. That's the angry message dozens delivered during a meeting about coyotes in San Francisco Thursday. They say the animals are becoming increasingly aggressive.

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At Stern Grove, a woman walking her dog says she faced off with a coyote just yesterday. The coyote came within five feet of Evelyne Barreneche and her dog. She says she's never been more terrified in all her life.

“This is beyond frightening,” Barreneche said. “That animal had demonic eyes."

Barreneche is still so frazzled by her close call with that coyote that she didn't walk her dog Ziggy Thursday. Barreneche and her 72-pound sheep dog came face to face with the coyote in Stern Grove Wednesday morning. She says it followed her and seemed unfazed by all the things city employees had taught her to do to scare it away.

“The hazing process which we were taught, that is to make yourself big, loud, stick in hand, all the precautions, clearly did not work,” she said.

Fortunately, she and her dog escaped unharmed and Animal Control arrived quickly to the scene. Signs remain posted warning other park goers to be cautious.

It has become an all too familiar sight in other San Francisco neighborhoods.

Jeff Marchi's dog was killed by a coyote just last week.

“What the hell's going on? We are getting more and more coyotes in the city,” he said.

Marchi joined about 50 residents at Thursday's hearing at City Hall to find out how city leaders plan to handle this situation.

There have been roughly 70 known coyote sightings this year within city limits. Many people didn't like what they heard Thursday -- relocating is illegal, euthanizing is done only in extreme cases, and at this point birth control is not an option.

“We have to largely learn to live with these animals,” San Francisco Recreation and Park Department employee Lisa Wayne said.

City leaders say that for now they will rely on educating the public with classes on what to do if you encounter a coyote. They will also be moving forward with aggressive hazing, which includes super soakers, strobe lighting, and fencing to try to keep everyone co-existing, safely.

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