'That's not a dog': SJ community rallies for agencies to help coyote in poor health

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Saturday, November 12, 2022
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Members of San Jose's Willow Glen community are rallying for local agencies to aid a coyote in poor health that has been a frequent visitor of the neighborhood.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In the South Bay, and on more than a dozen occasions, residents in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood have captured a coyote wandering through the community.

Beyond countless calls to local and state agencies, there was also a petition demanding action to help the animal who appears to be in poor health.

"A real shout out to those in the community that have rallied around her," Rebecca Dmytryk with the non-profit Wildlife Emergency Services told ABC7 News.

While she said her agency was only notified several days ago, residents have spent months documenting the coyote's movement.

MORE: 'We were ambushed:' Coyotes kill several pets in SJ senior community, residents demand action

More recently, there's been an increased demand for city and state agencies to act and get it help.

Resident Isaac Nitschke described having seen the coyote, early Thursday.

"My wife pointed out that there was, what looked to be a dog. And it was pretty mangy looking," Nitschke said. "And we were like, 'No, that's not a dog. It's a coyote.'"

The city's Animal Care and Services division said they've taken dozens of calls on the coyote since September, with their officers responding on at least five occasions.

However, Director Jay Terrado explained immediate action by Animal Care and Services is typically only taken if an animal is injured, aggressive, or is a threat to public safety.

VIDEO: Coyote spotted wandering around SF's Laurel Heights neighborhood

Since the coyote didn't fit that criteria, it has roamed free.

"When you have an animal that has already established a home, and it's not threatening the public, it's not injured, what are your options at that point?" Terrado reflected. "And so, that is the reason why this situation is currently being evaluated by multiple organizations."

Terrado said the city is working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on the case.

"They have been part of the community for many years now and where the sightings are in Willow Glen, there is a creek nearby that is within its range," Terrado detailed.

He said the agency believes they are dealing with one coyote in that neighborhood.

Terrado explained Fish and Wildlife is the primary agency in the coyote response, but the city has offered its assistance.

Ken Paglia with Fish and Wildlife noted the animal appears to have a leg injury and most likely mange.

In the days ahead, he says a small crew of biologists, wildlife officers and animal control will be in the area to respond.

"We're trying to figure out a plan to safely capture this coyote, take it to a permitted wildlife rehabilitation facility to treat it, and then to hopefully release it back into the wild," Paglia said.

However, the upcoming care doesn't come without critique. Dmytryk with Wildlife Emergency Services - who has long worked with coyotes - said agencies should've acted sooner.

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"I'm glad to hear these two agencies are coming around and trying to do something now," she told ABC7 News. "It's been over a couple of months since this animal has been out there, that they've been aware of it."

"And it's too bad that it took a petition to get them to do their job," Dmytryk added.

She said her organization did attempt to capture the animal.

"But she's still quite active and weary," Dmytryk said. "And we have some equipment failure. The good news is she's still in pretty decent shape energy, wise. But she is suffering from mange."

Paglia with Fish and Wildlife told ABC7 News, "Just imagine how many wildlife in California right now are struggling, or ill, or injured, right? It's a lot. And we don't have the capacity or the resources to rescue and try to save all ill or injured wildlife. So, that's kind of a reality."

However, he followed up by saying, "At the same time, we are here to serve the community. We are here to serve the people. And we hear the people in this community saying that they want this coyote helped. So that's definitely contributed to our decision."

He said the coyote is ear tagged and was possibly born in 2017. Additional details about the coyote are still unknown.

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