South Bay residents are seeing significantly larger numbers of coyotes moving into their residential areas. So far, 12 cats and 2 dogs have been killed in one Los Gatos neighborhood, and neighbors report "bloodcurdling" howls around 2-3 a.m. every night. Santa Clara County officials say they think the problem is that coyotes have been infected with canine heartworm, which renders them unable to hunt their regular game and thus more likely to go after domesticated pets instead. Also, San Jose and Los Gatos have passed ordinances which bar officials from being able to trap problem coyotes (the laws are being amended).

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a rather ominous list of steps you can take for coyote safety – seal up pet food and garbage, don’t let your cat or dog wander off-leash outside, rabbit hutches should have a solid bottom ("a hutch standing above ground, with only a wire bottom, makes your rabbit an easy mark"), dig a one-inch trench around your chicken coop, throw rocks at any coyotes you see, and, finally, contact your county agricultural commissioner for further assistance (will he or she throw the rocks?). SFist is digging a trench around our chicken coop even as we speak.