There have been a heartbreaking number of posts on social media in recent years about loyal dogs and curious cats being attacked by coyotes. Often, the domestic animals don’t survive. Anecdotally, it’s felt like the attacks have increased. I reached out to a few local agencies this month to understand if there are any numbers that give merit to that assumption. They encourage awareness for living alongside these clever canines.
And speaking of our four-legged neighbors, concerns have arisen regarding the protection of wildlife during the construction of the Truckee Springs River Front Open Space and Trail System Project.
Lastly, a confrontation captured on video at The Sock Parlour in downtown Truckee last month between the retail store’s co-owner and a pair of first amendment auditors resulted in plenty of community conversation. Reader questions about the incident were addressed by the Truckee Police Department.
Howls in the Night
Have coyote attacks on domestic animals increased locally in recent years?
It’s not something we track or closely monitor. However, we can tell you that coyotes come into urban and suburban settings for one reason: easy access to food. Cities and neighborhoods provide all sorts of fare for coyotes — rats, mice, park squirrels, ground squirrels, rabbits, pet food, trash — and pets. These include cats and small to medium-sized dogs, backyard chickens, etc. If coyotes are around, pets are vulnerable and pet owners need to keep their pets indoors or on leash outside, plus remove pet food and any other attractants that may keep coyotes around.
~ Peter Tira, information officer, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Dogs, especially small dogs should not be left unattended outside. It’s important to use a leash when out hiking. Never let your dog interact with a coyote. When you do encounter a coyote while out with your dog, do not run away. Be big and loud. You can shout or throw something in its direction. Remain calm.
Please see the table below showing incidents of domestic animals versus wildlife over the years. It is important to understand that these numbers are just what has been reported to our Animal Services Division.
~ Deverie Acuff, public information officer, Truckee Police Department
Living in such close proximity to wildlife can be a balancing act. At Pet Network, we advocate for vigilance and responsible pet guardianship in order to coexist with wild animals who also call the Basin home. Taking a few additional precautions greatly reduces negative outcomes and unwanted interaction between your pets and local wildlife.
I recently wrote a blog post about pet safety during coyote season based on increased sightings and attacks in our area.
Here is a link to that blog: petnetwork.org/post/keeping-your-pets-safe-during-coyote-season.
~ Sybile O’Neill, marketing manager, Pet Network Lake Tahoe
Truckee Springs: Habitat Impacts
Is wildlife being protected by the mitigation measures approved for the construction happening at Truckee Springs?
[California Environmental Quality Act] provides mitigation for endangered/threatened/special status species animals, although the biologist usually lets us know if they observe other animals nesting. Mitigation for the project includes doing biological pre-construction surveys and if a site has been inactive for too long. If a nesting area is active, construction is not allowed near it until fledged, reared, etc. Some areas we avoid, as they might be potential habitat for special status animals or plants. Orange construction fencing is used to protect areas that are not to be disturbed.
In addition, we have prepared a restoration and revegetation plan for the entire project. There was a small area of wetland that was disturbed. However, the restoration and revegetation that was included as part of the project mitigated this disturbance above and beyond the permit requirements. This included restoration of the creek crossing at the end of South River Street and adding a bridge instead of driving through the creek, decommissioning dirt roads and restoring them in wetlands and flood plains, and restoration of the Donner Creek confluence area.
~ Jessica Thompson, senior civil engineer, Town of Truckee
Truckee Donner Land Trust places high priority on habitat protection as a conservation organization. In addition to the mitigation measures underway as part of the project, the land trust has been monitoring the property since acquiring it to observe wildlife habitat and movement on the land. The land trust has also fenced off or otherwise protected specific habitat sites. Next spring, the land trust plans additional native landscaping near the parking area. The board and staff of the land trust look forward to the completion of the project for everyone to enjoy.
~ Greyson Howard, communications director, TDLT
Sock Parlour Incident: The Legalities
What are the Truckee PD guidelines for filming in public/semi-public spaces?
In California, the filming of others only carries potential criminal consequences when it is conducted under certain conditions, such as filming someone in locations where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists. Examples of some of these kinds of locations are inside a home, bedroom, changing room, locker room, bathroom, etc.
Under current California law, there is no criminal consequences for the filming of others in a public place, where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. Although acts involving the recording of others in public could potentially end up being found illegal in civil court, it’s important for the public to understand that the police department only deals in matters pertaining to the enforcement of criminal law. We recommend anyone seeking to explore violations of civil law to consult with qualified legal counsel for further guidance in the matter.
Was any legal action taken by either party involved in the altercation?
In California, citizens seeking charges for misdemeanor crimes not witnessed by an officer generally need to file a request for charges. However, exceptions apply, such in cases of misdemeanor domestic battery where law enforcement can proceed without a citizen’s request.
A report was filed, and when the report is completed and approved, it will be forwarded to the custody of the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office. We are unable to release anything at this time, per CA Government Code §7923.615(a)(1), which states the “local law enforcement agency shall make public the information … except to the extent that disclosure of a particular item … would endanger the successful completion of the investigation or a related investigation.”
A complaint was filed against a Truckee police officer by an individual who believed the officer should have recused himself from the situation, allegedly being a fan of the YouTube channel. Where does it go from here?
The Truckee Police Department acknowledges its responsibility to establish a system of complaints and disciplinary procedures, which not only will subject personnel to corrective action when appropriate, but also will protect personnel from unwarranted allegations during the proper discharge of their duties.
Complaints against department personnel will be handled in a prompt and unbiased manner. Every complaint will be investigated. It will include a conclusion and a recommendation concerning appropriate action to be taken.
All completed investigations are sent to the chief of police, who reviews the complaints and makes a final decision. All complainants will be notified of the disposition of the investigation.
~ Deverie Acuff, public information officer, Truckee Police Department