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Coyotes belong in these hills

September 23, 2011

Congratulations to the Glendale City Council, as rationality defeats hysteria over Glendale's Brockmont Drive coyotes (“Mayor seeks alternative option for coyotes,” Sept. 14).

At least until the burned out house is demolished, the coyotes will not be trapped and “euthanized” (euphemism for killed). I am especially pleased to read Mayor Laura Friedman's comments advocating using other methods for dealing with non-aggressive coyotes besides thoughtlessly killing them.

In my mind, the coyote is the icon for our treasured Verdugo Hills’ de facto wilderness. How my family and I love to hear its yips and howls at night and see them on our street and on our walks in the hills. The coyote demonstrates to us that the hills are not a sterile, lifeless place, but a haven for bobcats, occasional mountain lions, skunks, raccoons, rabbits, snakes and a plethora of birds, including the quail and hummingbirds that constantly visit our feeders.

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Yesterday, a Cooper's hawk swooped swiftly down at our feeder trying to grab a mourning dove for lunch — it went hungry on that swoop.

The hills are also a haven for people to enjoy the simple pleasures of a quiet walk, run or bicycle on the roads and trails, leaving the urban cacophony behind. On my walks, I always look for bobcat or mountain lion tracks, and it is always intriguing, particularly in the fall, to observe the smooth, twisty tracks of snakes crossing the road or path.

Coyotes have an eclectic diet, including rats, rabbits and ground squirrels and, if someone carelessly leaves their little pet unsupervised in the yard of a home in or immediately adjacent to the hills, the coyotes will see a meal and grab it if they can.

For 15 years, we never left our little Shih Tzu alone in our backyard because we didn't want her to be a meal for a coyote or bobcat, or get bit by a rattlesnake. We love living in the semi-wild of the Verdugo foothills, but we do realize that for that pleasure it is necessary to take certain precautions because we luckily live in the midst of wildlife.

People who move to the hills and then want to extirpate (kill) the deer that eat their roses, or the coyotes and bobcats that might eat Fluffy, or the skunk that might spray Fluffy, should move out of the hills into the sterile urban environment rather than seek to create a sterile hill environment.

I'm sure there are many others who would love to take their place in the hills and savor the Verdugo Hills “wilderness.”

Robert Morrison

Glendale

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