Yes even more cities debate trapping, euthanizing coyotes
(Reprinted from above link)
Cities across the San Gabriel Valley are considering adopting a regional coyote management plan that moves away from trapping and euthanizing coyotes, a controversial practice gaining support from frustrated residents in many communities experiencing more frequent attacks on pets — with some reports of coyotes entering homes.
The plan comes from the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, a joint effort of 30 local cities from Monterey Park to Claremont. It calls for ordinances fining residents who intentionally feed wild animals, which biologists say makes the urban creatures more accustomed to people and therefore more brazen.
Other parts of the Council of Governments plan include:
- Not leaving out pet food.
- Erecting fences with roller bars.
- Hazing the animals by shaking cans filled with beans and making other loud noises to scare them away.
- The Council of Governments plan has received letters of interest from a dozen cities. It will go before the body’s governing board for approval Thursday.
A task force made up of mayors and council members developed a framework offered for free and an implementation plan, including ongoing educational workshops and tracking programs that cities can buy into for $10,000 a year for two years. Neither includes trapping.
State law prohibits relocating coyotes because they become a problem in another neighborhood or often, they die when transplanted. Any coyote that is trapped must be euthanized.
The COG task force worked with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which says killing coyotes only makes the problem worse because the next alpha male will move into the vacated neighborhood, establish his territory and begin breeding with a female, producing larger litters.
“The consensus was they didn’t want to include it (trapping and euthanizing),” said Alexander Fung, management analyst with the regional governmental agency who helped draft the plan. “The task force believes wildlife and residents should be able to coexist.”
The San Dimas City Council agreed last week to enter into an agreement with the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments for the implementation plan, but the city may add to its plan in the near future, Councilman Denis Bertone said.
“We will bring back more options if we want to be more aggressive,” City Manager Ken Duran told the City Council.
San Dimas on Thursday began offering free coyote whistles to residents. “Whistles can be taken with you while you are out walking your dog and can be used to repel coyotes,” according to a notice on the city’s website.
During an open comment period at the July 9 City Council meeting, many San Dimas residents recounted stories of of unprovoked coyote attacks. Some told the City Council they witnessed coyotes jumping over fences into people’s backyards while homeowners watched in horror as pets were eaten or decapitated.
Barbara Short lost her dog Truffles to a coyote attack two years ago. She said she’s still traumatized. “I haven’t gotten over it yet. I go out to her grave in our backyard, and I cry.”
Short, along with Adriana Gonzalez and Rhonda Placita, called the Council of Governments plan weak and asked the San Dimas City Council to begin trapping and euthanizing. “We want to reduce the population,” Placita said.
Nick Amato said there were seven pets killed by coyotes last week. He said he’s spoken to several dads in the city who will take matters into their own hands if the city does not start thinning the coyote population.
“The dads are talking about shooting them on the spot,” he warned. “Maybe there will come a period of time when we will eliminate them ourselves.”
He worried that bullets could ricochet and hit an unintended target.
A more aggressive approach
West Covina is one city that isn’t buying in. Instead, it adopted its own, more aggressive approach. Using a color-coded threat chart, the plan includes removing coyotes by trapping and killing them during red-level threats if circumstances warrant.
These conditions include a coyote following or stalking a person either alone or with a pet; a coyote entering a yard or a home; a coyote biting or injuring a pet; a coyote showing teeth, lunging and acting aggressive; a coyote biting a person.
The COG plan lists the same conditions but does not offer trapping, removal or euthanizing as solutions.
John Keifer of Downey told the San Dimas City Council that Downey’s plan calls for trapping and euthanizing coyotes. The city is one of a growing number in Los Angeles County moving toward trapping and euthanizing problem coyotes.
West Covina has already contracted with the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office to do the trapping. The city is concerned about coyotes on the northwest part of town near the flood control channel at the border with Baldwin Park, city spokeswoman Nikole Bresciani said.
None has been trapped or killed so far, she said.
“We have contacted the county trapper,” she said. “They have not set up traps yet. We are waiting for the county to make a determination and then we can once we get a recommendation from the county trapper.”
Bresciani said it’s impossible to wipe out an entire population. Instead, the city and the county Agricultural Commissioner’s Office will target the worst offenders only when there are extenuating circumstances.
Scientists concur that feeding wildlife attracts them into neighborhoods. “Some people intentionally feed wildlife because they think they are doing them a favor, but it is having the reverse effect. It only encourages them to come around,” Bertone said.
San Dimas has a law against feeding wild animals dating back to 2000 that carries fines of $100-$300, Bertone said, but it has not been enforced.
“It is something we will be discussing and most likely start enforcing,” he said.