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Mayor seeks alternative option for coyotes

Trapping and putting down the animals isn't the only answer, she says

September 14, 2011|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com

Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman is calling on city officials to use the techniques of animal welfare groups when dealing with coyotes in the future rather than turning too hastily to traps.

During the City Council meeting Tuesday, Friedman said several animal welfare organizations contacted the city after a media frenzy broke out earlier this week as Los Angeles County officials planned to catch a pack of coyotes that was roaming a North Glendale neighborhood and using a fire-gutted house as their base.

The coyotes would have been euthanized.

Some of the organizations even offered to come to Glendale and help residents, Friedman said.

And while she’s willing to consider assistance from animal welfare groups in the future, Friedman said she wanted city officials to vet them first.

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Traps had been set earlier this summer on a resident’s private property in the Brockmont Drive neighborhood after he requested them, officials said, but no coyotes were caught.

Ken Pellman, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures, said in an email that officials had first advised the resident how to make his property less attractive to coyotes, including clearing brush and securing trash.

But complaints continued, so county officials returned to the neighborhood last week to assess where traps might be most effective, said Michael Pearson, also with the office of the agricultural commissioner.

Following a public outcry, county officials decided to not use traps, citing the fact that the animals are not aggressive and the fire-damaged house, which was gutted last fall, is slated to be demolished within a week.

Friedman said she understands that lethal measures should be used if coyotes are aggressive, but when they’re not, she prefers options from animal welfare groups, such as encouraging packs to move on.

“I hope that as we get those complaints, we try some of those solutions as kind of our first line of defense,” she said.

Clearing brush, for example, gives coyotes fewer places to establish dens. Bringing pet food inside, securing trash cans and picking fruit off trees can eliminate food sources.

Pellman said some cities don’t use the county’s services at all when dealing with coyotes, and others want the county to do more.

“That’s an example of how there’s no pleasing everybody with our program,” he said.

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