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Seal Beach takes steps to destroy problem coyotes

Photo by AutoMotovated Cyclist via Flickr Creative Commons

The city of Seal Beach will begin trapping and euthanizing coyotes this week, in a response to residents’ complaints of increased aggression by the predators.

"This program is necessary, because the coyotes in Seal Beach have become habituated," said Seal Beach Mayor Ellery Deaton. "They have become brazen, they have come out of their natural environment, and they are not acting naturally."

The Seal Beach City Council approved the trapping plan last week. Deaton said that in the short term, the city will more strictly enforce fines for leaving food out for wildlife. City workers will also begin putting lids on public trash cans on beaches. 

Deaton said that the city has had an education campaign for residents on co-existing with coyotes since November, but that it hasn't made much of an impact on coyote habituation.

“We have educated and educated and educated. Unfortunately, regardless of the education, the coyotes still have become a more highly habituated population,” Deaton said.

Recommendations to the City Council also included considering the possibility of developing a sterilization program for coyotes that have become habituated to humans.

The city has contracts with Long Beach to provide general animal control services. An official with that agency said that reports of coyote incidences have seen an increase. 

“[In 2014] so far we’ve had roughly 26 attacks on domestic animals — that would be cats and dogs — and we have recorded a little over 100, about 112 sightings,” said Ted Stevens, manager of Long Beach Animal Care Services.

Stevens said that the number of reported attacks has doubled from 2013.

Deaton said that city staff members have begun the search for a private company to conduct the trapping campaigns. So far the city is planning for two campaigns, each lasting for two weeks. 

She said she hopes to identify an animal specialist who can provide residents with classes on how to haze and harass coyotes. However, she was concerned that even those classes would not be very helpful for the city's elderly citizens while out on walks with their dogs. 

"Hazing [coyotes], chasing them down, making yourself big, yelling at them — that, a younger person can do," Deaton said. "But a 90-year-old woman walking her dog cannot do that."