Letter to the Editor: Coyote frustration
I was filled with incredulity when I read your coyote story (“Residents Frustrated with Coyotes,” 4/11/19). The statements made by Mayor Rick Rodriguez fall well short of a focus on reporting and any potential solution.
I have been a homeowner in the Island community within the city of Downey for over three years. When I first moved to Downey, the coyotes sightings and interactions were far less prevalent than they are today. The experience is contrary to what was stated by Mayor Rodriguez.
The potential reporting gap is likely the tools used for information capture. Many residents in the Downey community utilize the NextDoor application rather than the city reporting tool. There are obvious advantages such as immediate notification and response with the Nextdoor Application. I would suggest that the City of Downey look to provide such advancements in notification. As such, it will lead to a more accurate number of coyote sightings and interactions.
Fearing a lawsuit from an animal rights activists group should only be half of the legal fear. Many residents rescue animals that become valuable family pets. Twice I have witnessed coyotes carrying lifeless cats and on four occasions found the partially consumed bodies of cats in local yards and Treasure Island Park. It would seem that a lack of action out fear of a lawsuit from some external entity will serve to force residents to press legal action against the city for slow / no action to address the problem. The residents of Downey are not asking for someone to exterminate the coyotes, but do want a community drafted plan to alleviate the issue.
The current rains have created great overgrowth of many plants and bushes. The overgrowth creates many hiding places for coyote dens or just can just serve as cover for lone coyotes. The Island residents have seen progress being made on reducing this issue in Treasure Island Park over the last week.
As residents we appreciate the action and ask that it become part of the routine maintenance procedures within Downey parks.
I am a retired 62-year-old, 10-year resident of Downey. I am a member of the Nextdoor app and have read a lot about coyote sightings and pet kills. I’ve spent the bulk of my life in Manhattan Beach and Torrance respectively.
Growing up, we never had a wild animal problem until the last five years or so. No one's pets were being attacked and killed by coyotes. So the argument that we are encroaching on their territory and must coexist is a farce.
Allow me to comment on the mayor’s points. First of all, the concern for many of us is not *our* being attacked, it is the ability of the coyote to scale a six foot cinderblock wall like a cat. No pet, dog nor cat is safe in their own back yard. Our pets are our family!
A friend in Torrance had her small dog killed, partially eaten and then, because the dog was too heavy to carry back over the six foot wall...buried in her flower bed for later consumption. My friend was home at the time and never heard a thing.
The mayor also mentioned the cost of lawsuits, but for what, I cannot tell: “What we’re trying to do is be intelligent as well as aggressive, because the last thing we want to do is spend tax dollars on a lawsuit. Any defense lawyer will tell you that any amount of defense for any court action, any litigation, starts at $50,000. That’s tax dollars…I’m very careful how we spend tax dollars.” Huh? What kind of lawsuit?
Also mentioned is the cost of setting traps at $200 a pop. What? Torrance has implemented trapping in response to their residents but if you are not willing to spend the money, get a bunch of us "hysterical" citizens together to set and monitor traps. When a coyote is trapped, proper authorities would then be contacted to remove and euthanize this predator. Many of us are keen animal rights proponents who are pro-domesticated companions over wild canines.
If our mayor feels unable to handle the expense on his own, please get together with our neighbor communities and start trapping and eliminating these predators.
Mayor Rodriguez called residents’ complaints about coyotes “exagerrated” and “hype.” It’s apparent he has never lost a pet to a coyote.
Coyotes are a growing danger in our community, and not just because they threaten our pets. These coyotes are growing increasingly comfortable around humans and it’s only a matter of time until a human is attacked and seriously hurt (if not worse).
The mayor owes an apology to Downey residents. But even better, he needs to stop talking, start listening, and take the concerns of his constituents more seriously.