Animal activists upset over coyote traps in Laguna Beach

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The city of Laguna Beach waged a 6-month effort to rid the area of coyotes, but now the city is under fire from animal activists. (KABC)

The city of Laguna Beach waged a 6-month effort to rid the area of coyotes, but now the city is under fire from animal activists.

Kevin Franck, a resident for more than 20 years, said he has noticed a change in the city - there are more coyotes.

In November, resident John Fisher lost one of his Chihuahuas to a coyote that entered his home through an open door. Fortunately, his infant granddaughter who was also there was not hurt.

City officials said they stepped up measures, including posting warning signs, shooting coyotes with water and setting traps.

"The trapping kind of came as a last resort because of increased calls," Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Tim Kleiser said.

Authorities said since July they received 225 calls involving sightings of coyotes, pet attacks and attacks that almost happened. Since then, 11 coyotes have been trapped and euthanized.

On Tuesday, the City Council approved spending up to $30,000 to have the private company Critter Busters continue trapping coyotes, despite residents' concerns.

The city said it is also educating people, but some residents said it is not working as people have left food and water out for the wild animals.

A nonprofit called Wildlife Emergency Services has started a petition asking the city to change its approach to coyotes.

The group said trapping should only take place when people have been attacked or threatened, not pets.

"Part of our job here is public safety. What we don't want to have is an actual coyote attacking someone," Kleiser said.

Authorities said traps are placed in areas of coyote sightings or attacks. Every week or so, the traps are pulled and assessed.

Animal services report a decrease in calls. The first half of December had only 24 calls, and since then only three have been made.
Related Topics:
newsanimal newscoyotesanimal attackpetswild animalsLaguna BeachOrange County
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