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Authorities Should Back Pets Over Coyotes

Commentary

One of the odd stories I’ve covered over the years is coyotes in urban Southern California. I’ve always backed trapping and killing them. Too bad for them and the animal rights crowd.

The predators are making the news again. This month, Manhattan Beach’s City Council voted against trapping and killing them. And the Los Angeles Times just ran a story, “Inside the war against Southern California’s urban coyotes. ‘Horrific’ or misunderstood?”

I have personal reasons for saying “horrific.” The coyotes have attacked countless people’s pets, including my own.

One day in the afternoon around 2015 I heard my cat Tinkerbell screeching outside my apartment window in Huntington Beach. I picked up a cane I sometimes used when my knee arthritis kicked up, rushed down the single fight of stairs, and saw her huddled under a parked car, still screeching. A coyote was in the middle street about to pounce should Tinkerbell come out.

I charged at the coyote, hoping to clobber him. But he backed off. I used my cell phone to call the Huntington Beach police, but the officer on duty only said, “I’ll make a note of it.” I waited an hour until the coyote finally departed and Tinkerbell raced up the stairs.

My roommate and I tried to make Tinkerbell an indoor cat, but she wouldn’t cooperate. Soon she disappeared. We put up posters, but nothing.

The same thing happened about the same time to a neighbor, a nice young lady. She put up posters. After a couple of weeks, she hired a pet detective, who found her cat’s DNA in coyote feces.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
A Papillon named Casper.

A year or two later, a friend was walking her dog, Casper, in Costa Mesa. He was a fun, goofy Papillon. A coyote came out of nowhere at night and grabbed Casper, trying to carry him away. But by then he was old and too fat to carry. The coyote dropped him and fled.

My friend took Casper to the vet. He had two puncture wounds on one side. His rabies shots were up to date. The vet gave my friend some antibiotics to administer just in case. He lived a couple more years and died at a regular age.

A couple years after that my friend was walking another dog, Ollie, this time in Huntington Beach, when a coyote grabbed him and ran with him, yanking the leash out of my friend’s hand. Ollie is a Pomeranian weighing only nine pounds.

My friend ran yelling at the coyote, who eventually dropped Ollie. He also had puncture wounds. The rabies record was good and the vet gave my friend antibiotics to administer.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
A Pomeranian named Ollie.

I own Ollie now, and I’m happy to report he’s well at age 11 and as cute as ever.

The duty of government is to protect our lives and property. Pets are our property, and government needs to protect them. That’s why they tax us at high levels.

Sometimes coyotes do attack humans. The Associated Press reported in May, “DNA from a coyote that bit a girl on Southern California’s Huntington Beach last week matched samples from one of two coyotes shot and killed following the attack, authorities said Monday. The 2-year-old child was hospitalized with bites to her head and face that were not considered life-threatening after she was attacked near the Huntington Beach Pier.”

The Pier area is densely populated with businesses and tourists. That shows how brazen these coyotes are.

There are two cases of a coyote actually killing people. One was Kelly Keen, a 3-year-old girl, in 1981 in Los Angeles. Another was Taylor Mitchell, 19, in 2009 in Canada.

Desert USA, an educational website, explained what’s going on:

As humans expand their living areas and coyotes expand their range as well, contact is inevitable. Most of the time, coyotes go out of their way to avoid humans, but they’re discovering that humans are a good source for food. Resourceful and adaptable as coyotes are, they will take advantage of this when they can. In urban areas and in some national parks, coyotes are changing their behavior.

The most serious problem is that the animals may become habituated to people. As they lose their fear of people, they will become bolder in approaching people and may put themselves in hazardous situations they would normally avoid.

Another good source is the study “Coyote Attacks: An Increasing Suburban Problem,” by Robert M. Timm, et al (pdf). It’s just as relevant today as when published in 2004. From the abstract:

Coyote attacks on humans and pets have increased within the past 5 years in California … Attack incidents are typically preceded by a sequence of increasingly bold coyote behaviors, including: nighttime coyote attacks on pets; sightings of coyotes in neighborhoods at night; sightings of coyotes in morning and evening; attacks on pets during daylight hours; attacks on pets on leashes and chasing of joggers and bicyclists; and finally, mid-day sightings of coyotes in and around children’s play areas.

That’s obviously still happening. Here are the reasons why:

In suburban areas, coyotes can lose their fear of humans as a result of coming to rely on ample food resources including increased numbers of rabbits and rodents, household refuse, pet food, available water from ponds and landscape irrigation run-off, and even intentional feeding of coyotes by residents.

Their remedy:

Corrective action can be effective if implemented before coyote attacks on pets become common. However, if environmental modification and changes in human behavior toward coyotes are delayed, then removal of offending predators by traps or shooting is required in order to resolve the threat to human safety.

But the animal rights group PETA has a whole section on its website dedicated to Coyote Rights. They have fought against getting rid of the coyotes in many localities.

Sorry, PETA, but when it comes to coyotes vs. Ollie, I’m with Ollie.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Seiler

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John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com

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