Circle of Life Closes In on Backyard Coyotes

Animal-rights groups again clash with pet owners over predators
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2009 3:34 PM CST
Only a couple coyotes can live on a square mile of wilderness, but the backyards of housing tracts offer a lot more food and shelter.   (©lostinfog)
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(Newser) – Across Southern California, an old battle is raging: tireless hunter vs. wily coyote. It's tough to tell who's winning, but it's easy to hear who's unhappy: both animal-rights groups and homeowners. "We had a cat, and he became coyote sushi," one resident tells the LA Times. Suburbia, with its fenced-in pets and hiding spots, lures the wild prowlers—and that brings out the professional trappers.

A 25-pound coyote can easily kill a dog over twice its size. A cat is like a furry Hot Pocket, and even human children provide temptation. Animal-rights activists argue that there are ways to deter coyotes without killing them; a Humane Society rep calls killing the creatures "a knee-jerk reaction to a non-problem." But a trapper warns: "If you don't have coyotes in your neighborhood now, you will."