Thomas Potwora, San Clemente

We live in Forster Ranch, and this past Saturday morning we had one of those things happen to us that you always hear about, but never think it could happen to you. Just before 8 a.m., I heard what has become a pretty typical sound of a coyote in a fight with a small animal. It only took a second to realize that the small animal that was squealing was one of my two dogs.

What I didn’t expect was for my 7-year-old son to scream, “Dad, there is a coyote in our backyard.” By the time I ran out, the coyote dropped our dog and jumped back over our 6-foot, wrought-iron fence with the greatest of ease. Fortunately, it looks like our dog will be fine, but two weeks prior our neighbor wasn’t so lucky. A coyote killed her dog, and the best estimate was that it happened about 2:30 p.m. in her completely fenced-off backyard.

For those of you who have dogs, please be extra careful. After this happened, there where multiple people who reached out to us who heard of coyotes attacking other dogs or having very close calls. For us, life has definitely changed. Our dogs used to have the backyard to themselves but that has changed after seeing with my own eyes how vulnerable they are. For those of you who have small children, I would be remiss not to write this letter to remind all of you to be extra vigilant and present, even in your own backyard.

The reality is that we live very close to nature. Speaking with Animal Service Officer Dana Friedman, he stated that many coyotes feed off the fruit that is not picked up, cat/dog food that is left out, and we discussed how sometimes people literally leave food for the coyotes, which is against the law. What I wasn’t aware of is that coyotes are a pack animal. If one coyote is eradicated, the pack will search the area looking for its lost member. If we can help eliminate their food source, there would be less of a desire for the coyotes to enter our neighborhoods.

Here’s to working together to help our community be safer. I do want to give special thanks to Dr. Ramsey and those at San Clemente Veterinary Hospital for taking extra special care our dog and providing wonderful care. They stated this was their third coyote attack in a week. Additionally, in what is a very difficult job, I would also like to thank Officer Friedman. This is the second time we have had contact with Officer Friedman, and he is always beyond gracious and thorough in his approach.

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comments (4)

  • Pet owners with a fenced yard might be interested in this product. I have not personally tested it but it looks like it could keep coyotes out. http://coyoteroller.com/

  • i live on avenida santa barbara street…the 300 block…i have seen what the internet calls aa”coywolf”…very large predator

    • Ive seen 3 of those called coy wolves huge like huskies and wolve face very large and fast ..ive met about 20 steps w them trying to trap a small dog a while back we do have them ,they dont look like the coyote they are wolves.

  • The Mega Construction in RMV is to blame.
    So much of their habitat is now unliveable..
    While it is sad your dog was attacked. You were living in a false sense of security.
    Forster Ranch is right on the edge of a Major wild animal habitat..(or whats left of it.)
    Bobcats, Mountain Lions and many other deadly creatures have been roaming these hills for centuries.
    There are ways to fence your yard or dog pen in so they can be attacked.
    Killing off coyotes is not the answer!

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