July 21, 2011 Edition

Coyotes seen as friends, not enemies


“Please, I’m innocent.” “Please, I’m innocent.” Calabasas announced it will temporarily outlaw coyote traps within its municipal boundaries following complaints by four speakers at a recent City Council meeting about the “cruel and inhumane trapping” of the animals.

Normally, city officials don’t feel compelled to change policy at the request of a handful of residents, but in this case they did, and correctly so.

To be sure, coyotes have been known to eat house pets and make life a little scary for the city’s residents, especially those who live in homes next to open spaces, but there are larger issues at play here.

Contrary to the policy that has allowed Los Angeles County contractors to snare aggressive coyotes, we feel the animals in Calabasas should be protected because of the vital ecological role they serve. A single Canis latrans can eat some 20 mice in one day. Coyotes also serve to keep the rabbit population in check. Rabbits—cute and furry as they may be—insist on eating residential plants and flowers. And they also multiply like, well, rabbits. If residents would be more vigilant about keeping their pets and outdoor food secure in the first place, perhaps the coyotes wouldn’t come around as much. But alas, some people would prefer doing away with the wily coyote altogether.

Coyotes are hardly a threat to humans and to lure them into traps where they can sit hot and miserable for long periods of time waiting for their fate to unfold seems quite unnecessary. Luckily, the county has trapped only one in the past year.

The Calabasas Environmental Commission is expected to bring the city’s coyote policy under full review in the near future, and we hope the panel decides to make the ban on trapping a permanent one.

2011-07-21 / Editorials

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