Authorities in Seal Beach have euthanized three coyotes in the last week and will continue the campaign for the next three weeks in an effort to bring their numbers down, the City Council decided Monday night.
The decision to continue euthanizing coyotes that trek into Seal Beach's quiet residential neighborhoods, killing family pets, came over the objection of some residents and animal rights activists who said the campaign is ill-conceived.
"If coyotes replace those who are killed, and coyotes will return in greater numbers if many are killed, then we can conclude killing is not a solution," one audience member told the council.
Demonstrators were also outside the council chambers Monday night singing songs and carrying posters calling on the council to spare the coyotes.
But the meeting was packed with residents who support the action, recalling horror stories of family pets being dragged away and killed by coyotes over the years.
"I don't think protesters realize that this has been going on for almost a year of discussion," one resident said, according to KTLA. "It was not an easy decision to decide to trap coyotes. We're all animal lovers."
The council agreed to start euthanizing coyotes in September after months of discussion. A task force assigned to explore solutions also recommended that the city clean up overgrown areas where coyotes take shelter, mandate that all trash cans be covered and impose fines of up to $100 on residents who directly or indirectly feed the animals.
But some have argued that trapping the coyotes is a shortsighted, misguided response that could backfire.
Weaker coyotes that pose less of a problem tend to be the ones that get caught up in the traps, leaving larger packs of smarter, more aggressive coyotes, said Tim Revell, a Mount San Antonio College professor who sat on the task force.
And despite stories from residents of killed pets, detractors of the plan argue that killing coyotes is no less humane. The three captured in Seal Beach were euthanized with carbon dioxide, KTLA reported.