Settlement follows lawsuit challenging Arcadia’s approval of plan to harm, kill native wildlife without environmental impact assessment
PETA settled its lawsuit today against the City of Arcadia, which alleged that because the city council voted to approve a plan to trap and kill coyotes without first considering the impact on the environment—which is required under the California Environmental Quality Act—its decision was illegal. The city will pay PETA $15,000 in legal fees.
While preparing the lawsuit, PETA obtained documents revealing that the City of Arcadia had exaggerated the number of citizen complaints about coyotes in the area. Only a handful of written complaints preceded the council’s February 7 approval of the coyote-trapping plan—far short of the frequent and abundant citizen complaints cited by the council—but hundreds of e-mails opposing the lethal plan followed its approval.
In addition, a plan for nonlethal coyote management wasn’t thoroughly attempted prior to adopting the plan to trap and kill the animals. When questioned, none of the city council members said that they had inquired about the means of killing employed by the trapping company that they planned to contract with, which was most likely snaring then gassing with carbon dioxide. Snaring is illegal in Los Angeles because of its extreme cruelty, and gassing dogs with carbon dioxide is illegal in California since death is not immediate and animals can suffer for several minutes before succumbing.
“The Arcadia City Council squandered time and taxpayers’ money by circumventing the law in its baseless plan to trap and kill coyotes, who are an important part of our ecosystem,” said PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “PETA is calling on cities across California to take a gentle approach to all wildlife, rather than trying to exterminate animals who are simply trying to live.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that coyotes suffer when caught in painful snares, which could also indiscriminately harm companion animals and non-target wildlife. Coyotes, or “nature’s dogs,” are also an integral part of California’s ecosystem. In addition to eating vegetables and fruits, as predators, they help keep populations of smaller animals such as squirrels and rats in check.
Nonlethal means of living together with coyotes include informing the public about deterring them through habitat modification and repellents as well as strictly prohibiting feeding wildlife. It’s also important to ensure that companion animals are supervised and cats are kept indoors.