It always amazes me when I hear about people being forced to put up with coyotes running rampant in their communities. Like most Western outdoorsmen, I try to make sure no self-respecting coyote sticks its nose out within a mile of my home because of the damage coyotes do to other wildlife species (that most of us would prefer to have in our backyard)—not to mention the threat they pose to humans, livestock and pets as their populations expand. Yet despite escalating coyote attacks on humans and pets even in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, cities like nearby Torrance, Calif., are being forced to conduct a coyote study in the form of an environmental analysis before it can implement a new enhanced coyote management plan.
But if baby steps must be the path forward, the good news is that on Tuesday, Nov. 27, Torrance, Calif., residents finally made headway at the city council’s second meeting on the coyote issue since September. With some concerned residents dressed in “Evict Coyotes” T-shirts, their goal was to put the safety of their children and pets first and push for a more effective coyote management plan that would include actually trapping the animals. As reported by the Daily Breeze,the city committed to a coyote culling program but it will not begin before the fall of 2019. Why? Because it first must conduct a $75,000 state-mandated environmental analysis, or California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review. One step forward, two steps back. Then a part-time civilian program administrator will be hired at a cost of $91,500 annually to oversee a five-month trapping program set to run from October 2019 through March 2020.
Of course, hunters would assist with the culling program at minimal or no cost to the city, but those against hunting refuse to acknowledge its critical role as a necessary wildlife management tool. Considering that city officials noted that a year-round trapping program could cost $100,000 annually, a five-month program clearly will cost tens of thousands of dollars.
“If I hear one more person tell me that we need to stop feeding the coyotes and learn to co-exist and need to supervise our pets, I am going to scream!” wrote Marsha Bannon on a Facebook page on Wednesday, according to the Daily Breeze. For those living or visiting Torrence, she added, “Forget enjoying your yard unless you are watching your pet at all times. … Torrance is a very dense area and … not a suitable environment for wild predators.”
If I’m still scratching my head over having to do an environmental analysis before culling coyotes, imagine being Torrence City Councilman Mike Griffiths, who argued it was “bureaucratically insane” to spend $75,000 on an environmental analysis before being able to take action. “We didn’t do a CEQA review before the coyotes got here, why should we do one after?”
Like most of the state’s predator-management schemes, I call that mind-boggling.