Editor’s Take: Alas, coyotes are here

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Charles M. Kelly is editor of the Paramount Journal. Email stories, photos, suggestions and questions for public officials to ckelly@localnewspapers.org.

Opinion

The Paramount Journal recently reported the bad news that coyotes have been seen in town.

Sigh. I covered the coyote problem in Seal Beach years ago for one of our sister newspapers.

Coyotes are a problem.

They will eat anything—including your pets.

The law will allow you to use force to protect yourself or another human being from a coyote, but not your pet.

Doesn’t seem fair that some animals have more rights than others, but that’s the law of the land at this point in time.

As I wrote in 2018: ” Animal control experts recommend the public “haze” coyotes, which basically means people should try to frighten the animals off. According to the U.S. Humane Society, examples of hazing include standing tall, yelling and waving arms while approaching the coyote; using a whistle, air horn, bell or other device; banging pots or pans together; stomping your feet; using a water hose, pepper spray, or throwing tennis balls or rocks at the coyote.”

The manager of animal control in Long Beach at that time told me that you can throw rocks toward coyotes, but you probably should not attempt to hit them.

He did say that he did not know if someone would be prosecuted for protecting their pet. (I certainly wouldn’t want to be the prosecutor assigned to sending someone up the fiver for defending their dacschund from a coyote.)

Some folks advocate relocation of coyotes, but the city of Paramount recently reported that SEAACA, which provides services to Paramount, is not authorized to relocate healthy wildlife.

Perhaps more to the point, no one is suffering from a coyote shortage and local coyotes are unlikely to welcome relocated competitors for food or mates.

Coyote trapping is controversial and can trigger protests. The effectiveness of killing them has been debated and the meathods used to kill them are also a subject of heated debate between advocates for domestic pets and advocates for wildlife.

The city of Paramount recently issued tips for dealing with coyotes that didn’t use the term “hazing,” but essentially advised using the methods that are collectively referred to by that term.

Since coyotes adapt, I’m not sure how effective it is, but it’s apparently the best, least expensive and legally acceptable option.

Coyote hazing reportedly works, at least according to “Using Resident-Based Hazing Programs To Reduce Human–Coyote Conflicts In Urban Environments,” by Mary Ann Bonnell and Stewart W. Beck. (I’m not a coyote expeert, so there may be new studies out there on the subject that I’m not aware of.)

“Coyotes moved (more than) 10 feet away from the person hazing 49% of the time when no dog was present, but only 23% of the time when a domestic dog was present,” the report said.

Maybe it’s time for the city to invite a group such as the Humane Society to teach coyote hazing to the community.

Until then, please consider the 2013 video on the subject, “How to Haze a Coyote.” It’s available on YouTube.com

Charles M. Kelly is editor of the Paramount Journal. If you agree or disagree with his opinion—and frankly, he enjoys friendly arguments—email him at ckelly@localnewspapers.org.