Expert warns against feeding Bernal Heights coyote

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A local Coyote has become a neighborhood icon in San Francisco's Bernal Heights Park.

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Neighbors say she seems friendly and tame. "She comes out to play very early in the morning," said resident Paula Hewitson.

"The problem now, is people are leaving food for her," said neighbor Tonya Ackerman. "And so she's coming down to cars on the street and walking up to cars."

Janet Kessler, who runs several websites about coexisting with coyotes says, although intentions are good, all this attention is bad for the animal. "People are actually killing the coyote with kindness," she said.

She took pictures showing the coyote playing fetch, walking along the road and chasing cars. Other residents have taken video and photos of the animal playing with and acting like a dog.

"Normally, you can pick up a rock and throw it at a coyote to kind of scare it off," Kessler said. "With this coyote, in fact, you pick up a rock and throw it and she will chase it. She thinks its a ball."

Kessler says this type of behavior is alarming. She's worried the coyote will get hit by a car, or get aggressive and bite someone.

Signs are posted all over the park, urging visitors to never feed a coyote.

"We're beginning to really fall in love with this coyote, and we want to protect her," said Hewitson.

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Kessler says the best way to do that is to stay away and keep the animal wild.
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