Not so long ago, someone who lived in the Northpark community of Valencia had told me a sad story of their beloved chow dog being killed by a coyote in their own backyard. Seeing their yard, I noticed a small green belt running behind their home with some shrubs and trees. I’ve also heard of snakes and other animals in people’s yards. During the summer season, people with pools may find all kinds of animals drinking from their pools, or even in their pools escaping the heat.

For those of us who live here, we think of ourselves as living in a city, and there aren’t supposed to be any wild animals in the city right? Wrong. Who do you think lived here before we did? What wild life was here was forced into living in HOA greenbelts, parks and any field or mountains in between the housing developments and although we don’t see them out in the open very often, when they are hungry enough they come out.

Even a Hawk or Owl can easily swoop down and pick up a small dog or cat out of your yard. There’s really not much you can do about it, that’s how the animal kingdom food chain works.

If you have a small to medium sized pet, keep them inside if possible, have a doggie door going into your house or provide a dog house for them to have some refuge. Don’t leave dog or cat food outside your home especially at night. That attracts not only raccoons, rats and other animals, but if they know there is going to be food they will keep coming back night after night and then bring their babies with them too. Unfortunately, your dog can’t tell you that someone’s been eating his food. Definitely lock your doggie door at night, otherwise you might find a raccoon in your kitchen in the morning.

There have been sightings in the Santa Clarita Valley of coyotes, foxes, bobcats, mountain lions, as well as snakes, and other animals. Unfortunately, there are some people who think they are doing the animals a favor by feeding them. Not only does this make the wild animal stop hunting its normal prey of rabbits, squirrels and rats, but it makes the animal become dependant on humans for food such as a house pet. So when the coyote sees a human they think “oh there’s someone who will give me food”. They are no longer afraid to approach humans and actually see people as a food provider. This disrupts the natural flow of life and can put others in dangerous predicaments and face to face with a hungry wild animal that would normally never come close to a human.

Many SCV residents seem to think that we can hire people to go around and either kill or remove all of the wild animals that live around us to protect their pets. Obviously, this is not only ridiculous, but would also cause an imbalance in the local animal kingdom as we would have more rats, squirrels, raccoons and rabbits than we could stand and all carry diseases that can pass to our pets and maybe even our children.

So before you go out and buy that tiny dog that will fit into your purse, think to yourself where am I going to leave him when I’m at work? Think of your living conditions and your pet’s survival before getting one.