This week, I introduced legislation directing the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services to develop alternatives for coyote management including a program for the trap and release of wild coyotes discovered near populated areas of Los Angeles. Over thesummer, my office received numerous complaints of residents reporting coyote sightings in parks, open spaces, and in neighborhoods endangering children and domestic pets.
Trap and release is the most effective, humane way to address the challenge of wild coyotes in our communities. The longer a coyote spends in close proximity to residential areas, the more likely it is to attack people or pets or endanger itself from exposure to traffic and other urban hazards. By capturing the animal and returning it to the wild we protect both the safety of residents and the animal itself.
Currently, the Department of Animal Services educates and works with residents to avoid actions that may inadvertently encourage coyotes such as providing water, food, and cover. Despite this, problems with coyotes persist and in some cases have gotten worse.
Experts such as Wildlife Specialist Robert Timm of the University of California's Hopland Research and Extension Center have observed "an increasing problem with coyotes losing their fear of humans and becoming aggressive."
A recent example of a coyote attack occurred on March 14, 2017. A 5-year old boy was bitten on the leg while playing soccer at the California State University of Los Angeles. The coyote then aggressively approached a woman who flagged down campus police. There have also been reports of coyotes attacking pets in yards.
Coyotes can carry diseases such as rabies and Tularemia as well as parasites including ticks, mites, fleas, worms, and flukes.
In order to protect the safety of neighborhoods and residents, the Department of Animal Services must take a more proactive approach when it comes to coyote management. This legislation directs the department to report on regulations, current practices and alternative options for coyote management including a trap and release program.