Residents warned to keep pets safe after midday coyote spotting

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EL CAJON, Calif. -- An animal rescue organization is warning pet owners to be on alert after a coyote was caught on camera strutting through several East County residents' yards during the middle of the day.

Though the coyote appeared to realize it was being followed, it didn't run away. East County Animal Rescue posted the video on its Facebook page, warning pet owners to never leave their pets unattended outside.

"They are very smart," said Josh Hirschmiller, an employee at East County Animal Rescue. "They learn patterns just like your own animals learn patterns, and they can wait for you to leave or drive off before they investigate your property."

Hirschmiller encouraged pet owners to keep their pets on a leash no longer than six feet.

"If your animal can get 10 feet away from you, that coyote can nab it," Hirschmiller said.

The warning comes at a time of year when coyotes are out hunting in greater numbers.

"It's breeding season or pupping season," Hirschmiller explained. "They're going to be looking for more food because they need to provide for pups that they don't usually need to provide for."

If someone spots a coyote in their neighborhood, they're encouraged to use safe, humane methods to scare it away.

"You can use air horns or whistles if you're walking your dogs all the time. Use a whistle, carry a whistle; loud noises usually scare them," Hirschmiller said.

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