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Arcadia activists want coyote killing stopped

January 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
There is a controversy over the trapping of coyotes in the city of Arcadia. Animal activists were making an attempt Tuesday night to overturn that policy.Activists want the Arcadia City Council to stop the practice they put in place a few months ago of trapping and killing coyotes in Arcadia. The activists say that it's something they should not be doing, that education really is the key, but the city says this is something that was necessary to protect the residents.

The beauty nature has to offer is one reason why Arcadia residents choose to live near the foothills. But their scenic backdrop is also home to wildlife and in recent months, coyotes have ventured into some backyards even south of the 210 Freeway.

Mayor Peter Amundson says residents called the city with their concerns.

"The coyotes are roaming in packs in our neighborhoods," said Amundson. "'We've lost our pets, we don't want to lose our children. Help us.'"

The city council launched a program in August to educate residents and to trap and euthanize coyotes using $30,000 in emergency reserve funds.

The killing of the animals has outraged some activists. They've collected signatures from more than 1,000 residents who support a moratorium on trapping.

"We're hoping that at least they'll put this on the agenda and let the residents talk about this because they haven't even had a full hearing on this issue and the residents need to be heard, they need to know what's going on," said animal activist Laura Ashmore.

Ashmore, a member of the group San Gabriel Valley Friends of Wildlife, says the city has killed 18 adult coyotes and two pups. She says education is more effective and would saves taxpayers money.

Ashmore says residents unknowingly invite coyotes by leaving small pets and their food in the backyard. Feeding other wildlife such as squirrels may also attract coyotes.

"I would urge residents not to feed their pets outside," said Ashmore. "You know, just feed the pets when they're in the house and if you have a small dog I'd urge you not to leave them outside."

But the city has no plans to end the program. So far, Mayor Amundson says, the program is working.

"I know we have a bunch of outsiders from all over the state, all over everywhere, who are upset because you know they love the coyotes, but our responsibility is to the residents of the city of Arcardia," said Amundson.

The city's website contains a number of tips for residents, things they can do if they do see a coyote in their yards.

The city also sent brochures to residents educating them about the same things that are on the website.

The city council meeting was scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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