Community Editorial: Don’t Kill Garden Grove Coyotes

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Reading once again another Orange County city council, Garden Grove, is being tasked with solving their coyote issue, I was reminded of this quote from Bradley Millar:

“Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.”

Often times cities look for easy “silver bullet” solutions. But I feel killing rarely is a permanent solution for anything.

Physics tells us that nature abhors a vacuum.

If the Garden Grove coyotes are killed, it would only be a temporary solution. Experts say they will likely return. I believe in treating the cause of the problem and not the affect so I agree with City Council Member Steve Jones who said he wanted to see a more comprehensive solution than simply killing the coyotes.

Since the coyotes have apparently been an issue with several Orange County cities, wouldn’t it be more cost effective for all the cities to collaborate on a solution rather than individually?

Perhaps even a town hall meeting of sorts for county residents where discussions are open and root causes of coyote conflicts be addressed and most importantly professionals included, such as Project Coyote who have the expertise in wildlife-related education and experience.

Programs for urban coyotes should begin with public education and untangling facts from myths.

Such as the fact in the spring, when coyotes give birth and begin to raise young, they stay near their dens. The parents may become highly defensive and challenge any other coyote or dog that comes close to the pups. Even people walking their dogs may be challenged. This may simply be parents defending space and young, not random attacks. The solution may be to enforce leash laws in open spaces and natural areas to keep dogs and humans safe. We must learn to coexist.

I remember a coyote “incident” not too long ago in a nearby community and how a television network news program was spouting exploitative words of fear, capitalizing on it to the point that residents were afraid to walk in their neighborhoods for weeks. In my opinion, this type of reporting does not serve the public’s best interest and only instills fear.

While I have empathy for the people who may have lost their beloved innocent pets to coyotes and applaud the city council for listening to their residents, I find it curious the city appears to have done nothing about the amount of domestic animals from Garden Grove who are killed at the county shelter annually.

In 2012, 3,648 animals were received in at the shelter from Garden Grove and 1,802 innocent animals wound up being killed. (Of course we humans like to use the word “euthanized” because it makes some of us feel better about it. The result is still the same)

Why haven’t Garden Grove officials done anything about stopping the killing of those innocent animals? If not the city officials, why hasn’t their District Supervisor Janet Nguyen who is on the OC Board of Supervisors which is responsible for the county animal shelter addressed this issue? In the 21st century, why is this tolerated? What are we teaching our children?

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