The word on the street is the coyote that has been stalking our neighborhood since the end of the summer is living in the abandoned house across the way. The neighborhood eyesore, the one with the huge yard filled with falling down fences, trailers and such. I can see it from my second story living room window. To be honest, I’m not opposed to the place. It’s the single hold out against the hand of the developer. When we moved here about ten years ago, it was a quiet Japanese neighborhood where you could walk to eat sushi or noodles on Sawtelle, a four block area with no chain stores, not a single one. You can still walk to eat sushi or noodles, but many of the old places are gone and now there are outposts of upscale chain restaurants and two burger joints. Young tattooed hipsters from all over town now fill the sidewalks. I have nothing catty to say about hipsters, or restaurants. But, I’m growing weary, weary of three story condos with football fields of plate glass. I miss the old ladies who graduated from Manzanar High School, who have died and whose children have sold the land for development. In their place are the arrivistes who drive Porsches and live in condos that take up every square foot of land. Parking is becoming a problem. Lot more rich white folks than there used to be.
Amidst all of this growing boom, now the urban coyote. Is it a he or a she? My neighbor and friend Kady swears it’s a she. And I’ll go with that.
She was spotted darting out from the rotted gates by one denizen. And loping across the dried up yard by someone else. Henry, my husband and I have seen her twice. Both times after ten at night. She’s big, she’s brown, she’s not in the least afraid of the sight of us. She slinks down the middle of the street like she owns the place. Little Osaka is guarding its cats, its dogs and its occasional rabbit. There are signs on street corners. Everybody is a little scared. We can all feel it. The wrongness of this wild creature who has now come down to dwell among us in safe, anodyne suburbia. California has endured the drought, the fires, the floods, the mud… no doubt once upon a time there were more coyotes here than people. Maybe she knows once again it is the time for her and her kind to take over.
Apocalypse now or in a few minutes? Like it or not, coyotes are the new normal in the flats of West LA. Just like they are the new normal in the flats of Glendale, Sherman Oaks, and Santa Monica. A few coyotes have been spotted near the mall in Century City. Once upon a time, coyotes did not come down from the mountains. The drought, and maybe other factors we don’t understand have caused them to lose their natural shyness.
Animal welfare activists argue that is now up to humans to adapt and find a more peaceful way to co-exist with the coyote population. The number of coyote attacks on humans has jumped, growing from 2 in 2011 to 26 in 2015.
Maybe the West Coast should talk to the East Coast where Animal Rights advocates have created the present deer population, and its attendant joys including no leaves on any bush unless it’s surrounded by a prison yard of deer fencing. Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, never leaving the house without dousing the skin with carcinogenic sprays from May to November. This is the legacy of the lovers of Bambi and Tawny, our fictional deer friends.
Please don’t get me wrong. I love animals. I haven’t eaten meat in decades.
But I’d be way pissed, if Henry cut loose and landed in the jaws of my new neighbor, the urban coyote. Though maybe she would have a thing or two to learn from my little ferocious terrier. The other night Henry was pulling on his leash dying to get at her. She just stood there, taunting him, “I might not get as much to eat, but look at me, I’m not wearing a leash!”
As I write this, in response to my searches of a few minutes ago, a window has popped up informing me of a sale on ammo!
Cabela’s end of year ammo sale. 50% off.
Illustration by the fabulous Aimee Levyby