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Coyotes are a public safety issue

February 15, 2013

I am concerned how Glendale is managing the city’s coyote population. I admit that coyotes are useful in controlling rodents, but they are doing more than this. They are hunting for pets, are harassing pedestrians and their pets, or are roaming in neighborhoods in packs and terrifying residents. If this trend continues, someone — most likely a child — will end up either being killed or seriously injured. Last time when a coyote killed a child in Glendale, the city trapped and killed 58 coyotes near where the child had died. I certainly don't want a child to get killed, and I don't want the city to have no choice but to kill dozens of coyotes.

The Pasadena Humane Society blames people’s feeding of coyotes as the reason for coyote problems. There is no evidence that significant numbers of people are feeding the coyotes; they are around because of rodents, easily available water, and they are hunting for pets. PHS encourages people to haze coyotes; peer-reviewed scientific studies state that in the long term, hazing does not work. City leaders should look outside of the Pasadena Humane Society for advice on coyote management.

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The city could encourage citizens to report missing pets and coyote encounters. It could map and analyze this data and make risk assessments based on sound literature on how to deal with coyotes. In instances where the risk of danger to humans or pets becomes real by specific coyotes, those coyotes need to be identified and removed from the neighborhoods. The city should also allow residents to build 8-foot-high walls or fences around their properties to prevent coyote intrusion. Residents should be allowed to use BB guns or pellet guns to chase away coyotes.

This is a sensitive and controversial issue, but an important one. I hope that city leaders have the fortitude and courage to address this important public safety issue.

Akop Baltayan
Glendale

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