Seal Beach will trap and kill coyotes after pet deaths

Vicki Young, whose dog was snatched by a coyote from inside her Leisure World home, says a solution to the growing problem is long overdue.
(Harold Pierce/HB Independent)

Responding to howls from angry residents, the Seal Beach City Council voted unanimously Monday night to begin trapping and euthanizing coyotes.

The feral canines have been linked to several pet deaths in the small beach town on the Orange County/Los Angeles County line.

“I’m for trapping them, just period,” City Councilman Gary Miller said. “Trap them. I think the people have suffered long enough, and it’s time we take action.”

Traps will be set for four weeks, said David San Filippo, field manager for trapping agency Critter Busters.

Once the coyotes are captured, they will be put to sleep, San Filippo said.

The city has not settled on the number of traps to be set yet, but San Filippo recommends eight to 12 at a weekly cost of about $7,500.

Mayor Ellery Deaton questioned whether the city can afford the cost.

“We have enough money,” Miller countered. “I’ll take it out of my funds. Let’s just get it done. We are talking a pet’s life, a kid’s life. This is what we are talking about.”

Additionally, Long Beach Animal Control Services, which Seal Beach contracts with for services, will begin citing residents $100 for leaving out pet food, which can attract coyotes. Fines will increase for repeat offenders.

The decision comes after months of town hall meetings, educational campaigns and dozens of stories about mauled pets.

Before the meeting, a few steps from City Hall, an otherwise bare tree at the corner of Eighth and Electric avenues was quickly adorned with photos, chew toys and dog collars of Seal Beach pets who were believed to be attacked and killed by coyotes.

For Vicki Young, whose 10-year-old Brussels griffon was snatched from inside her living room at Leisure World Seal Beach, the decision to trap could not come soon enough.

“The coyote followed me in and took my dog – my companion, my partner,” she said. “It’s difficult when the last memory of your pet is in the jowls of a coyote.”

Others were sympathetic toward the coyotes, saying they are just following their instincts.

“I think killing is wrong,” said Rose Tingle, an Orange County animal-rights activist. “It doesn’t solve the problem … when you kill coyotes they just come back. It’s not a permanent solution.”

Councilman Michael Levitt asked 74th District Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) whether coyotes could be relocated.

“Mansoor, who is running for county supervisor, “Nobody is calling on them to be completely removed, but when pets are being attacked, we need a regional approach.”

State law forbids coyotes from being relocated more than 50 yards.

“I think the state has been in our way a lot on this,” Deaton said.

City staff will report to the council Oct. 13 with results of the trapping.