Mostly Trapping

Another California town considers trapping coyotes
Oct 18, 2019 09:30 ET

(Reprinted from above link)

A San Dimas coyote management plan that includes trapping and euthanizing problematic animals was largely dismissed by community members who turned out for a recent forum.

Residents from San Dimas and neighboring cities are calling for the city to take a more aggressive approach and implement a coyote culling program, or widespread trapping and euthanizing coyotes without cause.

“You’re not going to be able to kill your way out of the problem,” said Jim Hartman, with Los Angeles County Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures. A culling program may appear to fix the problem for six months or even a few years but eventually the coyotes will return, he added.

San Dimas presented revisions to a proposed coyote management plan at a community forum Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Senior Center.

Tensions grew at the start of the meeting as those in attendance called on the city to be proactive in its efforts to control coyotes. For almost an hour, city and wildlife officials also heard from residents in San Dimas, La Verne and Glendora about the increase in coyote attacks on their small animals and fears that young children may be next.

Phil Talarico, who has lived in San Dimas for 31 years, said the city’s updated plan is not proactive enough. Talarico was taking care of his son’s dog, Henry, a miniature schnauzer, in May when it was killed. Talarico said the dog got out in the middle of the night through the doggie door when he was attacked by a coyote.

“We’ve lived here a long time and never had problems with coyotes,” Talarico said after the meeting. “He didn’t deserve to die that way.”

Talarico said he believes coyotes in the area are no longer hunting rabbits or squirrels but instead people’s animals.

Phil Gately lives in La Verne but attended the meeting because he has five family members who live near the La Verne-San Dimas border, and he frequents the San Dimas Dog Park.

Gately said he’s noticed a coyote problem for at least 10 years. It’s gotten to the point that he doesn’t let any of his nieces and nephews in his backyard alone.

“You have the expectation of safety, where your own little kids can run and play catch in the backyard,” he said. “It’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room, when is this (a coyote attack) going to happen against a child?”

Hartman, meanwhile, cautioned against a coyote culling program.

“It’s only those occasional coyotes that become over habituated that create a situation where it’s a domino effect toward potential human interaction,” he told the audience. “That’s where we need to step in and do something. Just wholesale killing coyotes doesn’t make biological sense.”

One of the issues is the lack of studies on the effectiveness of hazing, or scaring coyotes away from entering backyards and play spaces. The county is in the midst of its own three-year hazing study, Hartman said.

In San Dimas, the City Council in August got its first look at a proposed coyote management plan modeled on a regional program that moved away from trapping and euthanizing the animals and focused on hazing. Several city leaders questioned whether relying on hazing strategies was effective and directed staff to look into trapping methods.

The San Dimas plan initially recommended hazing, said Brad McKinney, San Dimas’ assistant city manager, but he later learned that method works with coyotes that are new to an urban environment.

The city’s revised strategy is a multi-pronged approach that combines public education, enforcement and a tiered response system based on the type of encounter with a coyote.

“No plan is going to eliminate the coyote challenges, however, the intent of the plan is to provide guidance in dealing with coyotes in the city,” McKinney said.

Under the city’s modified plan, residents will be asked to report any sightings of coyotes. The plan includes educational outreach and staff will visit homes and other areas to ensure there’s nothing to attract the animals, hazing is also recommended. Finally, a coyote may be euthanized under the following scenarios:

If the animal enters a yard and injures or kills an unattended pet, or a pet on a leash;
If it follows a person with a pet, or follows a person without a pet;
If it bites a person.
These incidents would have to be reported to the city, which then would contact Los Angeles County. The decision to trap or remove a coyote would come from a recommendation by a county specialist, McKinney said.

If there is a recommendation to set a trap, it would be checked daily. The trap would be left in a location for 10 days but there is no guarantee that it would catch the problematic coyote, McKinney said.

The cost per trap is $3,000, McKinney said.

Under state law, it is illegal to relocate a coyote. Once it is trapped, the coyote will be euthanized, he said.

Any other additions to the plan, such as culling, must come from the direction of the council, Duran said.