RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Coyotes are running rampant in the city of Rancho Mirage, according to residents, and longtime desert dwellers are warning their neighbors to keep their pets inside.
Residents living off Tamarisk Lane near Gerald Ford have reported a handful of coyotes in their neighborhood and they say the most disturbing thing is that the coyotes are walking around during the day.
"You just have to be aware that we live in the desert and yes there are coyotes out here," said Maggie Dibona, a resident who says she saw a coyote two days ago while she was walking her 12-year-old Austrailian Silky named Princess.
Dibona spotted it near Palm View Road during the day.
"Some other workman confirmed that it was a coyote and someone got out of their car and shooed it into the golf course," she said.
Stuart Schofield also lives nearby.
He has three terrier mixes and had a run-in of his own.
"I walked right into him and he wouldn't go away," he said. "I was throwing rocks at him. I threw a good handful of rocks before he got chased away. But I was surprised by the fact that he wasn't backing down."
Animal Control in Rancho Mirage has fielded about 8 coyote sightings in the past month. But it has found no evidence that there are any dens in the area.
"Animal Control told me the only thing we could do is frighten them off with an air horn (and) loud noises," said Dibona. "I carry pepper spray."
Authorities say you should also take a photo of the coyote and send it their way.
They need physical evidence that they are in the area.
No humans or pets have been attacked by coyotes in Rancho Mirage in at least two years, according to Animal Control.
"It's very dark out here," said Schofield. "So, after dark, you definitely don't want to walk out with your animal or by yourself."
"We've made fliers. We're putting them in everybody's mailbox around here," said Dibona. "We're gonna start posting them up on the light posts around the neighborhood just so people are aware that if you're walking the dog to keep the dog close to you and to run when you have to run."
Animal Control has made the city council aware of the complaints.
It has also contacted California Fish and Game.
If enough evidence is collected proving that the coyotes are a problem, it's possible that fish and game will trap and relocate the animals, authorities said.
Concerned Rancho Mirage residents should call Animal Control at (760) 770-3220.