Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beware of coyotes if walking your dog at Mussel Rock Park

Coyotes live with us on our hills, in our neighborhoods, and may visit our yards. 

......"Not picky,  I'll eat pets, ...... 
small children and you."
Pacifica Tribune, Letters-to-the-Editor, 3/20/12. "Coyotes kill dog" by Helen Nicely 
This is the second time this March that a poodle has been attacked by coyotes."On Saturday, March 10, at 5p.m., a 15-pound dog was seized, stunned and dragged away by two full-size coyotes at Mussel Rock Park. The owner of the poodle was unable to find his pet; he is certain his dog was killed by the attack. The attack occurred during daylight on the hilly path leading to the paragliders' airfield.

The area of the attack was near rabbit warrens, and it is thought that the dog may have looked like a rabbit in size and color. The Peninsula Humane Society mentioned a similar incident in which a small poodle was attacked by coyotes, but was successfully retrieved.
Mussel Rock, north Pacifica/Daly City

The low rainfall this winter has brought the rather unusual sighting in February of a pack of 5 coyotes out together at 4 p.m. around the same site, close to the swamp where they drink water below the copse of willow trees, in full view of hikers, paragliders and pet dogs. Dog owners are urged to keep their dogs in view all the time while at Mussel Rock near to the gate, paths and swamp area." 

Reference:- Coyotes in our San Mateo Neighborhoods, .Coyotes in  San Mateo County Park Lands.  Note:  Helen Nicely also posted the article on  Pacifica Patch, 3/12/12. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I'm a Pacifica resident and frequent Mussel Rock visitor. I recently have been seen the coyotes there and noticed they seem to be protecting a den near the road (About 200yds from the gate). I usually have my dog off leash, a husky, but my dog went and attacked the coyote the other day. They both parted ways quickly, but I couldn't help wondering how often the poor coyotes are getting harassed by larger dogs going after them.
This prompted me to post a sign warning people to keep their dogs on leash at least for the first 200 yds.
Today there was a group of people who ignored the sign. Their large dogs went toward the den. I was just coming out from surfing, and asked that they leash their dog. I had my own dog with me, on leash. They got all defensive and mad at me for calling them on it.
Do you know who has jurisdiction over Mussel Rock? Any idea whether it is an off-leash park or not? Of course I much prefer it be off-leash, but the lack of respect of some makes that tough. The poor coyotes are minding their own business in what must already be a hard life, and then irresponsible dog owners let their "cute" dogs go and attack the coyotes (like mine did). I felt awful when my dog went after it, but it could as well have just been killed by the coyotes as in the story here.
Would appreciate learning the regs in the park.
Thanks for spreading the story.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I also have seen coyotes and now always keep my dogs leashed, even though I used to be a big no-leash dog walker. Trust me, coyotes are out and about, foxes too.

Anonymous said...

The same pack killed my 20# mix dog 3 days ago. My bigger dog was not attacked, rather than protecting the coyotes from big dogs it is time to protect small dogs from this growing pack. I also want to know who has jurisdiction over this place.

Jack Waldbewohner said...

Last Saturday 24 November, 2012 we lost our 15 month old dog Cassi to coyotes in that exact spot.My wife Elena literally saw the animal in the jaws of one of the coyotes. We had walked dogs off leash there for 9 years without incident. If we had read this blog post earlier,Cassi would still be alive.
What is more concerning is what happened after Cassi was taken.To coyotes came up to Elena and our 60 lb dog Copernicus. Copernicus barked. Elena started throwing rocks. This did not scare the coyotes off. Elena had to swing her heavy Canon camera at the coyotes.A $445.00 lens was destroyed in the meelee. 4 coyotes could have attacked Elena and killed her.A bite would have caused Elena to have a painful series of rabies shots. One day these animals are going to attack and kill a child. By the way, the Daly City Police Department has jurisdiction there.

Anonymous said...

A pack of coyotes attacked our
15 lb dog today.My teenage daughter was walking our dog around 4pm when a pack of 5 coyotes begun to stalk my daughter,her friend and the 2 small dogs they were walking. One of the coyotes grabbed one of the dogs by the neck. My daughter then proceeded to pick up a large orange cone , screaming at the top of her lungs and managed to scare off 4 coyotes !
This is VERY scary and my daughter could have been hurt or killed not just our dog.
Please be careful !

Anonymous said...

Where did this happen?

Unknown said...

The BIGGEST problem at Mussle Rock is NOT the Coyotes (they are part of the natural enviorment; they keep the mice & rats under control) the REAL problem is the 'feral Cat" station. As a person that worked at the S.F Zoos "Animal Resorce Center" handling many wild Species ..i can tell you that feeding the "feral Cats" is a VERY dangerous idea. It is causing the Coyotes to become "imprinted" (assoiciating the SMELL of FOOD with Humans); this in turn makes the Coyotes NOT have the NATURAL fear they would normaly have with Human contact. This is a HUGE problem since it puts us , our Children & our Pets in REAL danger.. i have tried to reason with these People that insist on feeding these poor abuse "feral Cats" and i have been met with complete rudness and lack of logical reason... The People feeding the 'feral Cats" are directly resposible for MOST aggresive behavior the Coyotes may be developing.. This is SO wrong on so many levels. In Austrailia "feral Cats" became suce a problem (wiping out HUGE populations of Birds & Reptiles) that the governmet started paying hunters to shoot them. This is a horribe idea; so then the People that love the Cats got together and bought closed enclosures that kept the wild Cats in and the Wildlife out.. this has worked very well. So i am saying WE NEED to come up with a better idea than these filty feeding stations that are just litter in reality causing the sperad of illness like Feline Lukemia etc..(which by the way many of these Cat borne illness's get into Ocean Waters and spread into Sea Lions , Porpoise etc..). There are also several feeding stations right on some of the Beaches around here...Can we PLEASE fix this before it is TOO late...eileen carey

Helen Nicely, PhD said...

Thanks for all these comments about Mussel Rock. Here is an update on the coyote situation, there. On February 11, 2013, a small <20 pound dog was approached by a coyote in day light, and ran off with it. This dog was never found alive.

Since then, I have worked with a Park Ranger and a wildlife ecologist, both from the GGNRA National Park Service. Ranger Lewis was very concerned about the situtation. She showed me a Web site that delineates the boundaries of GGNRA and Daly City. www.avenza.com or www.pdf-maps.com. This shows the paths and beach area are the GGNRA jurisdiction, while the wilderness areas are Daly City jurisdiction. Apparently, the entire Mussel Rock park is leash-only!! I asked for signage regarding dangers of coyotes to pets & humans, and got it. If your dog or you are attacked, you must report the "who, where, what and when" to this site asap: http://www.nps.gov/goga/contacts.htm. It is read at the highest level, so you will get action.

Smallwood said...

One of the problems is the more we build the more we force wild animals into the city's.

Anonymous said...

The problem is becoming worse. The coyotes are much bolder, there are multiple packs roaming the area, and they are showing NO fear of humans. One snuck up on my and my 60 pound ON-leash dog and would not back off. It was about 20 feet away and attempting to approach.

Only after throwing rocks in the vicinity did it back off about 10 feet, baring its teeth at me.

This was while walking along the road, just west of the big flat graveled area.

For 20 years we never saw or heard coyotes in the park. Now they are taking it over. This isn't a wilderness area - coyotes don't belong here. Especially fearless, pet-eating, human-threatening coyotes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this information! I am a longtime resident of the Fairmont area and a cat owner. I was in the habit of letting my 15 lb male (fixed) out at night but, in light of this new information, his night-prowling days are over. My neighbor sighted a coyote near my house in the early morning on 11/9/13.

We are experiencing record numbers of raccoons, opossum and apparently coyote. As those of us who have spent any significant time in our planets less develop areas already know, wildlife is beautiful, but dangerous as well. A little precaution and a healthy dose of respect goes a long way in keeping both humans and animals, wild or and domestic, safe.

My heart goes out to those who have lost pets.

Unknown said...

Adding another update. Our 45lb. Golden Doodle and 55lb. German Shepard mix were preyed on by approximately six coyotes this evening. Two coyotes started slinking behind the Golden Doodle as we were returning to the car. As they tagged along my dogs took notice but ignored them at first. The coyotes came very near in order to elicit a reaction and lured my two dogs by playing chase. As I ran after them the two coyotes led my dogs into one of the gullies near the rear cliffs, where four more coyotes pounced. If I hadn't ran after the coyotes and scared them off, we probably would not have all walked away today. The most distressing stage of this calamity was that my wife had to haul the dogs away while I continued to scream and throw rocks at the coyotes to keep them at bay. All of this occurred north of the flat clearing where the dumpster is currently located.
Don't put yourself in this position. As the previous, and original, posters have stated it is prudent to have your dog on a leash in the upper trails of the park. I have never seen the coyotes near the low trail off the beach or on the beach. Though, I have never seen coyotes packs working together like this either. This does not bode well for the future of the park.

Anonymous said...

I have been going to Mussel Rock Park a long time and the coyotes have only been there since 2007 or so. For a few years there were only 2 but I think they had a litter and now there are 6 or 7. There are people who feed them make them vermin and not wild creatures. They have attacked me and my dog about a dozen times and they have learned to be scared of us. Lets get it right; I dont go after them, they come out after me and I defend my dog. I let them alone if they let me alone. I call my dog off and leash her up when she smells them and goes in to hunting mode. I say to the coyote feeders: "They are not our wild brothers, they eat us".
As for the authorities, I hope they stay away from there. People keep trying to involve the GGNRA and I am sure they will do nothing about it. I wonder what will happen when the coyotes range inevitably extends in to Ft Funston? What will their "dog control" program do after the coyotes start chowing down on poodles there? Real national park rangers say " A fed bear is a dead bear" and I am sure that the same policy must apply to Coyotes who have lost their natural fear of man. Meantime if they do come out after you have something to throw at them and you will be OK.

Anonymous said...

Coyotes do not belong in urban/suburban areas in 2014. They should be removed completly. They have been extinct in the area for 100 years and there is no benefit to animals, plants or people to have them return. There is great danger from them being in close proximity to humans and pets. Is it going to take an attack on a child before people wise up?

Anonymous said...


You are talking about wolfves. Coyotes and wolfves are different.

Anonymous said...

Believe me, I know the difference 814. In Wyoming we shot tons of Coyote. They are considered vermin. Still there at least they have open range. Coyotes do not belong in the city. They need to be removed.

Anonymous said...

In anyplace else the only debate would be about what ammo to use on the coyorts. There is no quota or season on Coyotes in California. The Daly City police do have strong objections in anyone wants to go "Varmint plinking" anywhere on their beat. So whats to be done? The root of the problem is this countys lack of an urban wildlife management and abatement program. Coyotes, crows, rats, racoons and skunks all fall in to this category. The county leaves it to the SPCA. Who are usless. They actually told me to go pee on my back fence if I wanted to keep wildlife out of my yard.
The county needs a guy with a cage truck,traps, nets and a Marlin .22 long, suppressed with subsonic ammo.

Anonymous said...

Imagine the uproar in good old P-town if anyone went varmint plinking! Remember when
SF gassed the squirrels that were digging tunnels through the levee?
How about the feral cat showdown at
Rockaway? Coyotes and skunks are a different problem but I'm sure they have their fans in Pacifica. Just harm a hair on their little bitty heads and see what it gets ya.

Anonymous said...

Coyotes were here first, lets start blasting rounds at these feral cats if open season is your idea of a fix. Maybe we start killing skunks and raccoons next since they are equally a nuisance? Leash your dogs, keep your cats inside or move. I, and many others enjoy the urban-wild interface and will do our best to keep it the way it is. My dog was nearly attacked, but as a responsible owner I had her leashed (in accordance with State, Federal law and responsible ownership).

Anonymous said...

First, I found out who to call if your dog has been attacked by coyotes. I found the state game warden at Mussel Rock park today. Checking the fishermen for licences,
His name is Dan Wait. Daniel.wait@wildlife.ca.gov.
415-471-0042. You can bet I complained to him about the coyotes.

I might point out to some of the posters that the coyotes were the solution to the feral cat problem there-- they ate the cats!

As. To who was threr firdt that area is all created bu the hand of man. It is the old Daly city dump covered over by about a dozen feet of earth and rock. I have been everywhere in that park and I olny started seeing coyotes thete about five years ago.

Anonymous said...

To whom it may concern: The Coyotes need to be thinned out! I love wild life as much as anyone but when they are in my front yard, back yard, driveway, up and down my streets daily looking for an easy meal, that is a problem. They are not here because we have invaded their land, they are here because hunting unsuspecting cats and dogs is easier than hunting the wild animals they should be hunting and that is the reason we believe they are so important to our ecosystem. Same with raccoons, they choose to live off our garbage because it is easier not because we stole their land, we all do our best to contain garbage but there are always accidents. I am sure that many of them are doing their rightful job somewhere but the ones in neighborhoods or living next to them for easy meals need to be relocated or put down, to put it bluntly. They are a danger to our pets and our children, they do not need the right to be in our neighborhoods. It is wrong to take the rights away from people to protect themselves and then do nothing as a government who's job is to serve and protect. If a dog kills a cat or 2 in this county, it is likely to be put down but if a coyote decides to move in and live off pet cats, there is nothing done. That is insane! I was actually laughed at by San Mateo County humane society today for asking if there is any thing I or the government can do about this problem besides hope I have some pots and pans in my hand when I see them. I don't know if fish, game and wildlife is who we call but we need to do something because as they get more and more over populated, they will get more and more aggressive. Obviously this was learned in the past but we failed to put a plan in place that keeps balance. It doesn't have to be kill them all or save them all, black and white, we just need balance. No one should be expected to deal with being in danger of a pack, walking on a trail near their neighborhood or being afraid if their pets and children go outside to play! Our government should either do something or allow us to do something because doing nothing is not working! We have to write letters and call whoever is in charge of this problem and if no one is in charge them the laws need to be changed so we can at least trap them and relocate them ourselves! Is the government that protect the coyotes instead of us going to wait until a child gets killed and it is all over the news world wide to do something?

Anonymous said...

"It doesn't have to be kill them all or save them all, black and white, we just need balance"..........
Finally someone with common sense about the natural environment.
Take note faux-enviros.

Anonymous said...

I have been walking down to Mussel Rock since I was old enough to walk. Coyotes have been roaming around that area well since the beginning of time.

I hear them on occasion in Park Pacifica at night.

BTW I have the same Marlin .22!

Don't Concrete our Coast ! said...

Coyotes in Mussels Rock is just another reason why we should never ever widen Highway One!