(ANIMAL WELFARE/PETS/OP-ED) A California community approves the trapping and killing of coyotes. This statement would normally enrage me, but today I’m torn.

The aforementioned area is my current home town of Seal Beach, and the reason the city council has approved such a desperate measure is because the coyotes are killing the residents’ pets.

Seal Beach City Council members approved a plan this week to immediately begin trapping and euthanizing coyotes who in the past year alone have killed an estimated 30 pets in their community. /Photo credit: OC Register
Seal Beach City Council members approved a plan to immediately begin trapping and euthanizing coyotes who in the past year alone have killed an estimated 30 pets in their Southern California community. Photo credit: OC Register

One of my favorite activities is walking my dog Monty. I’ve been doing it almost everyday for the past nine years. But since moving to Seal Beach, I now carry a five-pound dumbbell with me. I’m constantly looking over my shoulder and my stomach is in knots anytime we walk past an overgrown shrub.

Approximately 30 pets have been reportedly killed by coyotes in Seal Beach this year alone. The coyotes are being spotted not only at night, but also during the day on residential streets.

One woman said a coyote even followed her into her home after taking out the trash and then ran off with her dog in its mouth, ultimately killing her beloved pet.

Vicki Young, whose dog Winda was snatched and killed by a coyote from inside her home, says that a solution to the growing problem is long overdue./Photo credit: Harold Pierce / HB Independent
Vicki Young, whose dog Winda was snatched and killed by a coyote from inside her home, says a solution to the growing problem is long overdue. Photo credit: Harold Pierce, HB Independent

The idea of killing any animal is wrong to me, but my heart certainly goes out to these people and the anguish their pets must have endured.

That said, it’s important to remember that humans created this situation. Coyotes are only trying to survive in an environment that we’ve degraded. We built up houses where there were once open fields and let our trash cans overflow, so in a sense we’ve put out a welcome mat inviting coyotes to infiltrate our lives.

Some animal behavior experts believe a trap and kill program could cause more harm since the coyotes that get caught in the traps are usually the weaker ones, leaving larger packs of more aggressive coyotes.
Some animal behaviorists believe a trap and kill program could cause more harm for the coastal community since the coyotes who get caught in the traps are usually the weaker ones, leaving larger packs of more aggressive coyotes./Photo credit: KABC.com

Euthanizing the coyotes could also end up backfiring. Tim Revell, a Mount San Antonio College professor who sat on the Seal Beach task force that proposed the plan, argued this to the Los Angeles Times:

Weaker coyotes that pose less of a problem tend to be the ones that get caught up in the traps, leaving larger packs of smarter, more aggressive coyotes.

In addition to the trap and kill program, the task force recommended the city clean up overgrown areas where coyotes take shelter, impose fines of up to $100 to anyone who directly or indirectly feeds wildlife, and mandate all trash cans be covered.

People also need to keep food inside, stop feeding stray animals, pick-up any fallen fruit in their backyard, and be more vigilant when their pets are outside in their yard.

Residents with pets are relieved that something is finally being done. However, these policies should have been implemented last November after the city first met to discuss the coyote problem. Then maybe the the trap and kill plan, which according to the Orange County Register could begin this week, might have been avoided.

Now with reportedly five times more coyote sightings this year than last and quadruple the amount of pet deaths, can a coyote cull still be avoided? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

— Lisa Singer, exclusive to Global Animal

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