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Coyote pack prowls Altadena neighborhood

July 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A coyote pack is on the prowl in an Altadena neighborhood, and family pets are not safe.

The coyotes have killed three pets on the 1100 block of Mendocino Street in less than a week.

Parents are watching their kids more closely than ever. Coyotes in the neighborhood are prowling in packs and not just at night any more.

One of the victims is Sunny Lee, a 9-year-old miniature pinscher. Owner Sunny Murchison had just released her for a short romp in the backyard.

"This time I wasn't out here, and I feel so badly about that," said Murchison.

"This is what coyotes do," said Christropher Nyerges, author of "Enter the Forest." "They are predators, they are carnivorous and they chase down pets and eat them."

Nyerges is a specialist in wildlife of the Angeles National Forest which borders Altadena. He says when you see one coyote others in the pack are close by. And this year, conditions have favored robust breeding.

"We had a wet year," said Nyerges. "There was probably good conditions for new coyotes. They are not solitary hunters, they work in a team maybe two or three. That is how they take down the prey."

One attack happened in a yard surrounded by walls and fences. Coyotes can jump, climb and burrow in.

"The coyote is not seeing good, bad, cat, dog, child," said Nyerges. "It is just thinking food, just survival."

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