Letters to the Editor

Reader Sorry to Hear City of Arcadia was Forced Into Litigation

Arcadia’s trapping practices with coyotes to protect citizens and pets led to a $15,000 dollar settlement with PETA. – Courtesy photo

Dear Editor,

So sorry to hear the City Arcadia was forced into litigation by animal rights extremist group PETA. Arcadia likely found it less expensive and time consuming to pay off PETA instead of taking this to court. This is a common tactic used by these groups called sue and settle. Look it up to see how many environmentalist groups do this. PETA has only succeeded in taking away taxpayer monies needed for personal and public safety and stuffed their pockets with it.

It’s interesting none of the groups are asking about the role Pasadena Humane Society played in this and how they failed Arcadia. PHS was the group paid by Arcadia to provide coyote education services and have been doing so for years. This group offers reasonable but unrealistic advice. It’s not a surprise when you understand canid biologists are rarely asked to provide input on their wildlife plans. PHS relies on information provided by the ASPCA and The Humane Society of the U.S. Both of these groups provide information from biologists and ecologists with degrees, but they never consult with actual, canid biologists who are experts on the matter.

These groups manipulate the public by focusing on emotional pleas rather than the facts. I think we all can hear the cries of “they were here first, and we’re taking their habitat” even though both of these ideas are demonstrably false. The Humane Society of the U.S. has written articles with coyote historical range maps that contradict the claims of “they were here first.” Also, although humans may have taken up our share of habitat, what we have taken is minimal in comparison to what we have provided coyotes. Coyotes thrive because of human modification of landscapes.

Coyotes do not live in dens except during pup rearing. The rest of the year they roam within ranges that can support them. Despite all the claims regarding urban sprawl, over 90 percent of California land is considered undeveloped. I think most would agree coyotes have plenty of habitats throughout the state, and the ones who come into suburbia should not be allowed to become aggressive towards pets or people.

Coyotes and humans have coexisted for centuries. It is only in the last few years coyotes have changed their behavior, thus changing our long standing relationship. As the only top predator in suburbia, it is our responsibility as a species to once again instill fear in coyotes by occasionally trapping when coyote behavior becomes unacceptable to the community. Regardless of personal opinions, public safety should come first over an invasive species.

Animal rights groups ignore the fact that coyotes will continue to breed and have no natural population controls in suburbia. Coyotes have few, if any natural predators, through most of their range and no predators in suburbia.

Many of these groups claim coyotes self-regulate, which is totally false. Coyote populations have always been controlled by food water and quality of habitat. Picking up fruit, birdseed or bringing in pet food is fine but is unrealistic and does nothing to remove enough attractants to make suburbia unattractive to coyotes. Considering the coyote carrying capacity for the sparse area between Barstow and Las Vegas averages one coyote per square mile, their ideas are unrealistic and fail to address the fact that coyote populations will continue to grow despite their well-intentioned claims. Several canid biologists feel it’s the intense competition for resources which drives the coyote to change its behavior. Eventually, coyotes figure out the people yelling, shouting, and shaking cans of pennies are not a threat.

I’ve seen representatives of these groups at Vertebrate Pest Management Conferences. They are all fully aware of the advancements of best management practices in trapping. Trappers have several tools at their disposal that would focus on target species while significantly reducing “non-target take.” The collarum trap has been around since the 90’s and has been found to be both effective and humane. When this trap is triggered, it throws two loops over the coyote’s neck. These traps were designed to hold the animal in place and allow for non-target species to be safely removed unharmed.

This obstructionist view by animal rights groups does nothing to address the increasing problem of urban coyotes and the public safely threat aggressive coyotes pose. This lawsuit will only embolden animal rights groups and uninformed supporters while lining their pockets at Arcadia taxpayers’ expense. Shame on PETA, Pasadena Humane Society and Project Coyote!

I certainly hope Arcadia follows up and applies for a CEQA exemption. After all, leaders do what is right, not what is popular.

I can provide source information upon request. Thank you.

-Steven Childs

July 6, 2017

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