Coyote Week: Does Killing Coyotes Protect Humans And Pets?: Results Appear To Be Mixed

Coyotes are now a feature of the urban landscape? What to do about this? Many cities use a three-step system: Public awareness, enforcement of ordinances and monitoring of incidents. Some residents want cities to begin killing coyotes.


Killing coyotes is being studied in Pasadena, but it appears to be the policy in only one city in Los Angeles County. That is Torrance. Nearby Manhattan Beach has also discussed the option.

Coyote of Mexico by Charles
Coyotes have followed humans into Mexico and other parts of Central America

Torrance has been trapping and euthanizing coyotes since 2019, and is the city to be studied in the region. It is worth noting that the University of California is operating a CoyoteCacher website to help identify incidents by zipcode.

According to MB News:”

“Back in September, (2022) the council had heard a report from Rebecca Dmytryk of Humane Wildlife Control Inc., who conducted a field study of coyote activity in Manhattan Beach at the end of July.

Dmytryk cited research showing that there have been dramatic reductions in coyote traffic in communities that remove food resources including pet food, birdseed, compost, accessible garbage, fruits and berries, free-roaming chickens, and free-roaming cats.

She referred the council to a study showing that Torrance’s efforts to reduce the coyote population by lethal means had not resulted in a significant decrease in the coyote population – and might have actually been counterproductive as new coyotes took up the space and moved in. (Torrance reported more coyote sightings the year after it started trapping – 293 sightings and 11 coyotes trapped in 2020/21, versus 259 sightings and 15 trappings in 2019/20.)

dangerous fox wildlife coyote
Coyotes are naturally afraid of humans. Experts advise us ti continue developing that fear.Photo by Dom Sch-veg-man on

Dmytryk recommended against any kind of lethal controls, adding that lethal controls should only be considered if a coyote was seen to be aggressive to humans. (The single coyote they encountered in their research was “extremely skittish,” she said.)” Links in original.

Rotten tomatoes
Compost or rotting fruit or vegetables is an often overlooked source of coyote food Rotten tomatoes by Paul Glazzard is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

Most wildlife organizations are against trapping and euthanization. The theory is that killing the coyotes only results in a population boom. The females breed to replace the losses. Proponents see the animals as a threat and want them gone,

It is unclear if killing coyotes lowers populations much. The best guess of coyote population in the United States is around 5 million. About 500,000 are killed annually. Mostly for sport and other non-safety reasons. Yet the population remains stable (least concern) and the range has expanded. Once restricted to desert and plains in the United States they have permanently moved into cities and towns. Coyotes are found in all 49 continental states. They have expanded their range farther into Canada and now appear in Central America. Experts seem to suggest killing coyotes only when one attacks a person. That remains quite rare.

The experts suggest two options: denial of food and “hazing.” Denial of food means securing garbage, thus controlling rats and squirrels and rabbits. Pets should not free roam. Fruit must be properly harvested and not allowed to stay on the ground. Birdseed and any other thing an omnivorous wild dog would eat must also be removed or securely stored.

Coyote hazing is the cooperative process of discouraging coyotes. Loud noise, bright lights and objects thrown in the direction of the animal are all hazing techniques, The Colorado Department of Wildlife has a longer list. All people should haze coyotes on sight. If one person does so, the coyote will avoid that person, but remain in the areas. Wolves are closely related to coyotes. Many people hate them too.

Published by ursusrising

long time writer and editor living in Los Angeles

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