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California

L.A. County backs off plan to catch, kill coyotes in Glendale

After a public outcry, Los Angeles County officials Tuesday put the brakes on a plan to catch and kill a pack of coyotes living in a vacant house in north Glendale.

Authorities now say they will wait to take action until the abandoned, fire-damaged home is demolished.

On Monday, county officials said the coyotes posed a threat to pets and small children and needed to be euthanized. The pack would not survive if relocated in the wild, officials said.

But public reaction to the plan was overwhelmingly negative, with county and city officials fielding numerous calls opposing the plan.

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Glendale Deputy City Atty. Yvette Neukian, who met Tuesday with Brett van den Berg, owner of the fire-gutted house on Brockmont Drive, said the demolition would begin within a week.

Because the coyotes have not been aggressive and neighbors are taking precautions against attracting them, officials think the pack will move on once the house is torn down, said Ken Pellman of the county Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures.

Officials have been working with residents to clear brush so wild animals can’t establish dens, said city spokesman Tom Lorenz. Residents also have been instructed to not leave out pet food, to secure trash cans and make sure fruits trees are picked regularly.

Having an abandoned house in a neighborhood is like an “oasis” for wild animals, said Anna Reams, director of Wildlife Care of Ventura County, who went to the neighborhood Tuesday to pass out brochures about coexisting with coyotes.

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“People are the problem,” Reams said.

Humans typically retreat when they encounter coyotes, which sends the wrong signal: “Spray them with a hose. Make loud noises,” she said. “You empower them if you go in the house.”

She pointed out that coyotes are innately scared of humans, but that fear subsides if humans walk away or, worse yet, feed them. “They become desensitized,” Reams said.

Coyotes also do not like change, so once the vacant house is gone, the coyotes probably will leave, she added.

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County officials said they will reevaluate the situation after the house is demolished.

mark.kellam@latimes.com


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