Old Palo Alto residents are warning their neighbors to keep pets indoors after a coyote was spotted running through the neighborhood last week.
Two residents spotted the coyote in their upscale neighborhood on Santa Rita Avenue between Waverley and Webster streets on Dec. 3 at 9:30 a.m. and 10 p.m., including Jeanne Fleming.
"At around 9:30, I did indeed see a coyote loping down the middle of Santa Rita in the block between Cowper and Webster," she wrote in an email.
"We don't want to lose any of the dogs and cats or chickens in the neighborhood," she added.
With the drought still plaguing the foothills and affecting wildlife habitat, some predators may be following prey down the creek in search of food, Palo Alto Animal Services officials said.
Officers have received a few calls about the Santa Rita coyote, said Cody Macartney, lead animal control officer, but they have not seen it and cannot confirm that it is indeed a coyote.
"It may be a dog or fox," he said. "We usually see the most coyote activity in the spring and summertime, so this is a tad unusual."
Macartney reminded residents to "keep all small pets indoors, especially at night."
Residents can call 650-329-2413 to report a coyote sighting, he said.