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By Terry Miller
After months of debate and approximate a $12,500 price tag thus far, Arcadia City Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to shelve the controversial coyote trapping program.
Concerned citizens have been on a foremost quest to educate council and residents on the delicate eco system in our foothills in the hope of stopping what they believe is a cruel and unusually insensitive trapping program.
Since the highly contentious program began, 20 coyotes have been trapped and euthanized. Additionally, other animals have been killed by the traps but there are no official figures as of deadline.
Bonnie Barron of San Gabriel Valley Friends of Wildlife and countless others have been critical of the council’s decision to hire the trappers and were overjoyed at the outcome Tuesday evening.
During the last Arcadia City Council meeting, more than 20 concerned residents descended upon city hall to voice their strong objections to the trapping. Sarah Rosenberg presented a petition to council members with signatures of more than 1,000 Arcadia residents who vehemently oppose the program that has gained a great deal of media attention.
“Only two coyotes were trapped in the last month,” said Councilman Gary Kovacic. “Fiscally speaking, I‘m not sure it makes much sense to continue (trapping) …. my preference would be to suspend it (trapping) at this time.” Kovacic concluded at that meeting.
It seemed fairly clear where the council had to go on this issue with such a huge public outpouring.
19 people spoke at the study session Tuesday. The last to speak was Arcadia resident John McDonnell , who inferred that some on the council were disrespectful to the speakers by not paying attention and passing notes to one another during Tuesday’s public comment . “If you want our respect, then don’t be disrespectful” he said. While he didn’t single out any councilman, it was obvious to those in the audience to whom MacDonnell was referring.
Bonnie Barron spoke with Beacon Media on Wednesday morning and said she was delighted with council’s unanimous decision but hoped that this would lead to more public education on the issue of living with wildlife in general. She was particularly concerned that local schools adopt a program of educating young children of the importance of our ecosystem.
Former Arcadia resident Bonnie Barron said even though the council agreed to suspend the program, she wants to see it in writing. According to the city website the program doesn’t official end until Feb 1.
Barron added that Arcadia has a bit of a black eye now with the Arcadia Woodlands destroyed by the county and the subsequent publicity implicating the lack concern for the environment. The Coyote trapping program too has gained a great deal of ink and now come to a halt. Those in attendance on Tuesday said they hope this sends a strong message for education on all issues before council, but particularly in preserving our wildlife.
The council’s initial decision to hire the trappers was based on less than a handful of residents’ complaints. The overwhelming number of residents who voiced their opposition won a major victory, Barron said.