California officials seek woman seen feeding platter of meat to coyote

SAN FRANCISCO — Authorities in California are asking for the public’s help in identifying a woman who allegedly fed wild coyotes in San Francisco.

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A recent photo snapped by officials with San Francisco Animal Care and Control shows the woman allegedly holding a platter of raw meat in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights Park, KTVU reported.

“You are looking at a woman bringing a tray of meat to coyotes,” Virginia Donohue, executive director of San Francisco Animal Care and Control, told KRON. “On days when she is not there, the coyotes wait for her. They know somebody is coming with a tray of meat. We need someone to tell us who she is.”

According to animal control officials, the woman has been identified as “a particularly egregious coyote feeder,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The woman, who Donohue said has been seen feeding coyotes at several venues, is causing a dangerous situation because the animals will lose their fear of humans.

“This is the first really good photo that we have gotten. We have heard she also goes to other parks,” Donohue told KRON. “The coyotes don’t need help. There is plenty of food around. They don’t need you to serve dinner.”

The television station reported that a person caught feeding a coyote is subject to a fine of up to $1,000.

In a recent case, a coyote at Golden Gate Park had to be lethally removed after the animal lost its natural fear of humans due to being fed by park visitors, KNTV reported.

“When you feed wildlife, wildlife eventually loses its fear of people,” Donohue said. “We just had a horrible outcome for that in July. We had a coyote that approached, on five different occasions, toddlers in the botanic garden, getting way too close. So, ultimately we had to eliminate the coyote. The situation was completely preventable because it had been fed, very often by very many people over the course of five years, and eventually it is the coyote that pays the price.”

Animal Care and Control officials have posted signs warning people not to feed coyotes in specific locations in the city.

“People need to stop feeding wild animals,” Donohue said in a statement to media outlets. “Continuing to defy the law -- and common sense -- will lead to a person getting hurt and an animal being destroyed.”