September 4, 2008

Los Alamitos to Cull Coyotes

By Joe Segura

LOS ALAMITOS -- Startled residents have been been raising Cain more regularly, following continued coyote sightings near the massive San Gabriel River channel this year.

However, Los Alamitos raised the ante this week, when the City Council unanimously decided to hire a private certified contractor to trap and kill the coyotes, a control strategy that's been avoided elsewhere.

Los Alamitos Mayor Ken Parker said the decision was made after several residents complained of pets being killed by the coyotes.

"They became a threat to the community," he said Wednesday. "They also pose a danger to small children."

The coyotes generally use the San Gabriel River as a highway into adjacent communities, including Rossmoor, Seal Beach and Long Beach's El Dorado Park and at Cal State Long Beach.

Trappings have been avoided in Long Beach, mainly out of a concern for pups that might be separated from their mothers. However, state Fish and Game officials noted that the pupping season is over.

John Keisler, acting business manager of Long Beach Animal Control, said the city's approach is supportive of healthy wildlife.

"We don't trap or kill coyotes," he said.

However, if the coyotes pose a threat, Animal Control will respond, Keisler added.

"We will do what we need to do ... to remove that threat," he said.

Keisler said the best response to coyotes is to remove food, water and shelter opportunities from homes. Don't allow pets -- a coyote food source -- to stray; keep them on a leash, he advised.

He added that pet food should not be kept outside and garbage containers should be sealed tightly.

Bushes and shrubs, which can be a source of shelter, should be kept trimmed or cleared away, he said.

"That's common sense," Keisler said.

[email protected], 562-499-1274 Other resources

* Long Beach Animal Control

* Map of Long Beach sightings

* California Fish & Game Department

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