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Stray cats bring coyotes to campus

July 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two battles on one local campus: As feral cats clash with coyotes, animal activists clash with school officials over ways of dealing with the problem. Officials at Cal State-Long Beach have a problem on their hands, how to handle the coyotes preying on the school's growing population of feral cats. In Long Beach, activists and school officials are at odds over which animals should go first.

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One incident, according to the Long Beach State official said a cat carcass was found near the Administration building on campus. The cat was probably eaten by a coyote. The concern is that the Administration building is directly across the street from a daycare center. For the university, this coyote issue has become a safety issue.

The university would like to see the more than 100 wild, or feral, cats disappear. The food and shelter here is not courtesy of the school; cat lovers have set up stations in a number of places on campus.

For Long Beach State, not only is this attracting wild cats, but also coyotes. A number of coyotes have been spotted on campus in recent weeks.

"We have seen them in the daytime hours, dusk, evening hours, moving through the campus," said Toni Beron, CSULB.

During the day, the university hosts a number of day camps for dozens of kids. The last thing it wants is a coyote attack similar to those recently in the Inland Empire. So the cats have got to go.

About a dozen cat supporters voiced their anger over the university's decision to get rid of the cats.

"We'll continue to stay out and do as many protests as possible," said Lesli Abrahams. "To get them to find a humane way to do this, not kill these cats."

"What we are hoping to do is to help our volunteers trap the cats and move them into adoptive homes, into shelter situations," said Beron. "That is our big hope: To move them into a better circumstance."

When you talk to parents who drop off their kids here at the day camp for the folks who live around here, it's a tough call for them, because while they love the animals, they understand the safety issue here.

"I still feel bad for the cats," said parent Shauna Concannon. "But I understand the university's concerns, of course."

"Oh gosh, I don't know. I have a cat of my own and I also have a couple dogs, so I hate to see that," said parent Patti Skelly.

The university is hoping to be rid of the cats over the next month and a half, right before the fall semester begins. What about the coyotes? The university is waiting for State Fish and Game officials to see what the agency will do about the coyotes on campus.

 

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