The City of Long Beach does not own or have any control of wild animals found within its boundaries, nor is the City responsible for the actions or damage caused by them. These animals are a common and integral part of our ecosystem, biosphere and the circle of life. The Bureau of Animal Care Services (formerly Animal Control Services) was originally created to deal with problems arising from stray dogs and to enforce laws pertaining to them. To a small degree, wildlife has been included in the scope of ACS services, as needs have arisen, primarily due to the proximity of natural habitat; which has resulted in wild animals’ involvement in distressed situations in which they require rescue.
Difficulties Managing Wildlife
Although Long Beach places a high value on its wildlife, some species that have adapted to urban environments have the potential for problems and/or conflicts in specific situations. In addressing such, the City promotes policies supporting prevention and implementation of remedial measures that do not harm the wildlife or their habitats. A wildlife problem is defined as any situation that causes a health or safety issue to its residents. In cases where problems with wildlife are associated with human behavior, such as leaving garbage exposed or intentionally feeding wildlife, ordinances and enforcement may be enacted to minimize conflict.
In some cases, particular or traditional management tools are ineffective. For example, the relocation of animals is not ecologically sound and is not allowed in California without permission from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). Generally, relocated animals do not survive the transfer, and if they do, they rarely stay in the relocation area and tend to disperse to other locations where they may cause problems, be involved in territorial disputes or introduce disease. The dispersed wildlife, especially coyotes, may go to great lengths in some instances to return to their previous territory or may adversely affect residents as a result. For these reasons, the DFW rarely allows relocation of wildlife.
State law requires healthy wildlife be left alone (CCR 251.1). Healthy wildlife avoids contact with people. Most wildlife hunts and gathers food at night and seeks food, water and shelter from residential properties. Outdoor pet food bowls, open trash cans, and small pets left out at night are a common target for predators and can increase the number of wild animals in the neighborhood.
Responsible neighbors never feed wild animals or allow pets to roam unsupervised. However, there are times when ill, injured or aggressive wild animals become a threat to public health and safety. This includes hunting pets during the daytime or approaching people without fear. ACS has created a coyote management plan to address coyote activity.
Residents are encouraged to Report Coyote Activity which we use for our Reported Coyote Activity Mapping to provide residents with information about their neighborhood. You may also download resources from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife such as the Keep Me Wild Brochure for distribution. All animal-related emergencies should be reported immediately by calling (562) 570-PETS (7387). If there is an immediate threat to a human, call 911.
- Living with Wildlife Tips
- Community Cats
- How to make your own effective animal repellent
- What to do if you find a baby Opposum
For more information about coyotes please visit our Living with Urban Coyotes page.