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Our View: Keep pets safe from predators

Posted: February 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

Yet another Santa Clarita Valley family pet met an untimely end recently from a wild animal coming in from the hills to look for food. It’s a sad, but common tale that happens several times each year in our valley, but there are some simple ways to avoid losing a furry member of your family.

Responsible pet ownership goes further than using leashes and scheduling vaccinations. You have to keep in mind that there are dangers to your pets beyond cars and unfriendly dogs.

Because the SCV is rimmed with undeveloped land, wild animals are going to be a common sight in the area, mostly at night and in areas that border wilderness. Coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, birds of prey and many other predators roam the local hills, and that’s just a part of life for residents, so we need to adjust to the fact that there are hungry critters out there.

For instance, if you live anywhere near a wild hillside or field and you have dogs or cats, don’t let them outside for very long — or ever — without being present. Small dogs and house cats are prime targets for predators, and even high fences aren’t enough to keep a hungry coyote out of your backyard. But most animals that come out of the hills are scavengers and tend to avoid people, so it’s unlikely a bobcat will attack if a pet owner is present.

Don’t leave pet food out in your yard, as that will likely attract creatures — wild and domestic alike — that pick up the scent of a free meal. And it invites a whole host of possible tragic outcomes if a family dog tries to guard its food from a hungry coyote.

That’s also the case with uncovered garbage cans. Just because it’s in the trash can doesn’t mean something won’t try to eat it. Keep your trash cans covered to lessen the chance of feeding the great outdoors.

SCV residents tend to get lulled into a false sense of security because they spend the majority of their days surrounded by humanity — office buildings, restaurants, shops. But keep in mind that there’s a lot more living here than just people.

This isn’t meant to be a threat or a means to scare local residents — simply a message that living in an area with natural wildlife all around comes at a price of increased vigilance and responsibility if you want to protect your family and your pets.

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