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For Immediate Release: 10/26/04

SJ City Council to Consider Reversing 15-Year Ban on Leghold Traps to Trap and Kill Coyotes

Evidence Points to Scare Tactics and Lack of Education/Prevention as Cause For Recent Problems at Villas of Almaden

San Jose, CA — The San Jose City Council will today revisit a request to trap and kill coyotes at the Villas of Almaden, a gated community within the city limits that just two years ago allowed coyotes to be killed on its private property. Today, Vice Mayor Dando, sponsor of the measure, is expected to again pursue a plan to allow the use of the controversial leghold trap, a device that has been banned in San Jose since 1989 and in more than 80 countries and eight states for humane reasons. An emergency measure to exempt the Villas from a city-wide ban on the use of leghold traps failed two weeks ago.

History has shown that killing coyotes does not resolve conflicts. At best it is a temporary, Band-Aid approach to the problem. For example, within six months of Villas of Almaden’s last coyote kill, coyotes were back and complaints resumed, said Camilla Fox, Director of Wildlife Programs for the Sacramento-based Animal Protection Institute. The only effective way to deal with human/coyote conflicts in an urbanized environment is by addressing the root of the problem: the constant presence of food attractants such as poorly secured garbage cans, overflowing bird feeders, pet food left outside, abundant deer populations, etc. Unless these systemic issues are addressed and people take responsibility to remove attractants and discourage unwanted wildlife, negative encounters will persist. Fox will testify before the San Jose City Council today.

What: Public hearing before the San Jose City Council on whether to allow trapping and killing of coyotes in the Villas of Almaden

When: October 26, 2004 at 1:30pm

Where: San Jose City Hall, 801 N 1st St, San Jose

Villas of Almaden residents have been bombarded with a steady stream of alarmist information about coyotes from the homeowners association newsletters. In reality, coyote attacks are extremely rare and in the vast majority of cases were precipitated by human activity, such as deliberate feeding of coyotes. In addition, residents repeatedly received emails seeking reports of coyote sightings to support a kill plan, but wildlife-focused agencies and organizations have not been permitted to directly promote a prevention program to Villas residents.

Had proper education and prevention been implemented two years ago instead of a lethal plan, the Villas residents would probably not be facing conflicts with coyotes in their neighborhood, said Fox. Killing coyotes can actually increase their number in an area because coyote reproduction compensates for decreased coyote numbers and increased availability of food resources. Killing coyotes at the Villas continues the misinformed and ineffective kill program and puts residents at risk.

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NOTE: The ban was reversed. For details, see the article at the San Jose Mercury News Website.

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