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SANDRA ACKERMAN, Capistrano Beach

Thank you so much for the wonderful article from the expert on coyotes, Skie Bender.  I volunteer at the San Clemente/ Dana Point Animal Shelter, mostly answering the phone in the office.  All too often, sometimes four or five times a day, people call in who allow their cats (mostly cats, but sometimes dogs) to roam freely under the mistaken belief that the outside is safe.  It’s not.  They call, crying and hoping that their missing cat will somehow show up at the shelter.  Sometimes the animal slips out when a door is left ajar.  We take all the information on the missing cat or dog and tell them that we will put all the information in our computer and if we get any information on the missing animal we will contact them.  I also ask them to please let us know if the cat shows up so that we can remove the information from our system.  We seldom get that call.  I’ve been volunteering at the shelter for many years and taken hundreds, if not thousands of these calls and I know that very few of these cats are “lost” or just “missing”.  Sometimes the call is from a child.  I would never mention the word coyote to them, because they are in great distress and it would only hurt, not help.  So I’m taking this opportunity to make people of our community aware that we have coyotes.  Lots of them. You not seeing them only attests to their smarts.  All this land that we live on used to be their territory so they are starving and unable to reproduce and care for their offspring.  By letting cats out we are feeding the coyotes and bringing them into our community.  Please keep your cats inside and safe.  They don’t know the harm that awaits them.  That’s your responsibility.  You can call the shelter for tips on keeping your animal inside or look online for things like clicker training.  There are ways to make the outside less attractive and the inside, more attractive.

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