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Local Residents Appeal to Public Safety Committee for Help With Coyote Problem

Published on Friday, March 17, 2023 | 5:08 am

In letters to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, several local residents are calling for action to control the coyote population in Southwest Pasadena.

“Never have we seen so many coyotes in our neighborhood, brazenly entering our [fenced in] backyard during daylight hours,” said Claire Spiegel Brian.

According to Spiegel Brian, coyotes routinely pass within six feet of the family’s kitchen window. “This has put my visiting grandchildren at risk. They are toddlers and vulnerable. Of course, it also prevents us from letting our small Cavalier spaniel outdoors. Our family cannot relax and enjoy our property.”

The City Council’s Public Safety Committee was due to discuss the Urban Wildlife Management Plan and human-coyote interactions.

The plan focuses on public education, enforcement of laws and the categorization of coyote interactions to correctly identify and respond to threats.

In 2022, 159 coyote concerns were reported to the Citizen Service Center. In total, 12 of the 159 reports (6.9%) were related to an injured or killed pet.

Wednesday’s meeting was canceled due to lack of a quorum. 

According to a 2019 FAQ on the City’s website, the Pasadena Humane Society (PHS) does not provide field response to calls for service for normal wildlife behavior, such as coyote sightings.

PHS does respond to calls which involve sick or injured coyotes, and coyotes that jeopardize public safety, such as a coyote threatening people in a yard, park, playground, or school. 

All calls regarding the animals are documented and the humane society is available to advise residents on prevention measures to minimize interactions with wildlife.

Typically, coyotes are fearful of humans, but they occasionally venture into cities and suburbs in search of food, new territory, or because they have been displaced. 

But after coyotes identify a reliable food source in a residential neighborhood they become less fearful, will return frequently, and may even enter garages or homes. 

“My sister had her puppy over a couple of hours ago,” said  Carol Goldthwait. “We would never leave the puppy alone outside because of the coyote issues, but as soon as my sister left, not five minutes later, I looked out the window and saw this adult coyote investigating where the puppy had been. 

“I cannot tell you how many coyotes I have seen in my yard in broad daylight.”

Several other communities including Torrance have taken steps to control coyote populations.

In 2016, that city developed a four principal coyote management plan. The plan prioritizes human safety, preventive practices and pushes for solutions that address problematic behaviors from humans and coyotes. The program also calls for public participation.

A Rosemead Public Safety meeting on the program offered

 tips on how to prevent coyotes from wandering into local neighborhoods, including keeping trees and shrubbery neatly trimmed to eliminate hiding places for coyotes, coyote-proof fences and motion-triggered lights and sprinkler systems.

Officials also recommended residents not leaving food outside of your home or campsite, placing repellants like wolf urine, ammonia soaked rags, and moth balls in the yard and near garages.

In 2019, the San Gabriel Valley Council Of Government (SVCOG)  introduced a program designed to combat the threat and ensure the safety of residents and pets, according to a the Arcadia Quill

The program includes several resources designed to help deal with the problem, including pet safety planning, hotlines and workshops.

Ten cities across the San Gabriel Valley are a part of the program: Alhambra, Arcadia, Azusa, Covina, Irwindale, Montebello, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, and Temple City.

But many cities are hesitant to trap the articles, Arcadia was sued by PETA in 

“A 2017 City of Arcadia staff report recites the questionable proposition that trap and euthanize programs increase the coyote population, but mainly it expresses concern that wildlife activists may initiate legal action to block any effort to reduce coyote population, as they did in Arcadia in 2011,” said Robert Bonner in correspondence to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee. “That’s what activist organizations do. That does not mean our elected politicians and city officials should cave in because there is the threat of potential legal action.”

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