Mon, Jul

LA Animal Services: Mismanagement on a Gerbil Wheel … Round and Round It Goes

ANIMAL WATCH-LA Animal Services’ GM Brenda Barnette announced on the Department’s intranet messaging board on September 15 at 5:00 p.m., that new Assistant General Manager Derek Brown—hired in June--had resigned. Barnette stated that the job was “not a good fit” for him.

The job description clearly stated that the decision on hiring would be made by Brenda Barnette, and the person selected would serve entirely at the pleasure of the GM. 

Derek Brown (not to be confused with Animal Services Asst. GM Dana Brown) is the fourth highly qualified and experienced AGM to leave abruptly during Barnette’s six-year tenure (plus the sudden recent resignation of impeccable Commission Secretary/Management Analyst II Rita Moreno, whose loss prompted a Commissioner to comment that he proposed a motion to not let her leave).

That’s a lot of high-level professionals who apparently were “not a good fit” at LAAS! 

Derek Brown is a former 20-year LAAS employee who began as an animal control officer. He left in 2007, at the rank of Captain, to take on the responsibilities of Deputy Director at L.A. County Animal Care and Control. He remained in that position until, after a lengthy recruitment process, Barnette hired him as AGM to oversee field operations. He also appeared representing the GM at several Commission meetings. So, if, after three months on the job, he was “not a good fit,” it wasn’t because Derek Brown lacked experience or industry expertise. 

Although he is a very private person, close friends and colleagues say that, soon after Derek’s appointment, he became concerned about---what I will call—a difference between his “management style” and that of Barnette and Director of Field Operations Mark Salazar. 

Salazar was hand-selected by Barnette two months after her appointment in 2010. His experience as an animal control officer was very limited. Media reports (below) document his challenges as a manager after that and, according to L.A. City Personnel Dept., were known to Barnette. 

Let’s take a look at the public management histories of both Brenda Barnette and Mark Salazar--whom Barnette frequently praises publicly--before and after they took over LAAS.

Brenda Barnette was appointed GM in September 2010; however, the hiring announcement was first made at a media conference on June 17, by former-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilman Paul Koretz (who was involved in selecting her.)

Villaraigosa stated that, after a year-long, nationwide search, which he called “the most intensive he’s ever seen,” Brenda Barnette, CEO of the (very small) Seattle Humane Society, was most qualified out of a reported 120 candidates. Barnette, a WA resident, did not have the one mandatory prerequisite for the job--a CA driver’s license. She also had no prior animal-control experience. 

Barnette, a self-described former dog breeder, had another position in Seattle. She was Legislative Representative for the American Kennel Club (AKC), which, she told the press, meant merely hitting the “forward key” when the world’s largest purebred dog-breeding registry sent her issues to oppose or support. 

Brenda Barnette was beleaguered by labor issues at Seattle HS, according to an Oct. 20, 2009, media release by the Animal Control Officers’ Guild (ACOG), “The SHS with around 70 staff has had over 60 employees turnover in the last 18 months, this is over 75%! Staff fears this is not just the nature of the job but from a complete lack of attention to training, employee retention and morale by management leading to a lack of continuity in care of animals.” 

On Oct. 10, 2010, GM Barnette announced to her employees (via the internal message board) that after an extensive interview process that included answering three essay questions in advance, answering two question at the interview, and an in-person interview, she had decided to hire outsider Mark Salazar as the Director of Field Operations (DFO) in charge of law-enforcement and field services. Barnette explained in the post, “My job, as your General Manager, is to lead and leaders do not always get to make popular choices….” 

So, what was so special about Mark Salazar that would cause new GM Barnette to emphasize her “leadership” in hiring him, and bypass many experienced, fully qualified officers already managing field operations? (Although he is called “Commander,” for some undisclosed reason, Salazar has reportedly never worn a badge at LAAS.)   

Here’s Mark Salazar’s public management record before joining LAAS: 

A January 7, 2016, article in the Press Enterprise reports a new lawsuit: RIVERSIDE: City Workers Allege Harassment.  This article reviews a similar suit filed against Mark Salazar in 2008 in great detail, stating: 

It’s not the first lawsuit to allege harassment and other impropriety in the city’s code enforcement department. In 2008, five former employees sued the city and former code enforcement manager Mark Salazar, who they said harassed and discriminated against them based on age, sex and disabilities. (Emph. added) 

“In those cases, workers alleged Salazar inappropriately touched them, made sexual and insulting comments to employees and retaliated when they complained, including sending three of them to work out of a dirty, dangerous metal shed in the city yard. 

A suit filed in March 2008 by Mary Furfaro, Todd Solomon and Steve Livings was settled in 2010. Livings, who had been fired, was reinstated to his job with back pay.” 

Now, let’s look back at what was published about Mark Salazar in 2008. 

Mark Salazar was verified as the code enforcement supervisor named in the following lawsuit: 

Former Riverside code enforcement officers cite discrimination in suit – The article describes allegations against Mark Salazar of inappropriate touching, discrimination, harassment and retaliation, including having them work from a metal storage shed, with stored hazardous materials, no air-conditioning, no heating or drinking water. (These incidents allegedly occurred in 2005/2007.)  (The Press Enterprise, 3/19/08)    

2 more former Riverside code enforcement officers sue city” – Two more former Riverside code enforcement officers sued the city claiming age and sex discrimination. “The main accusations in both suits are against Mark Salazar, the city’s former code enforcement manager.” 

According to the City of Riverside, Mark Salazar “stopped working as a city employee in February and was given a contract as an advisor on code, which ended in August,” the article states. 

Mark Salazar made headlines again as the Executive Director of the Northeast Texas Humane Society in Longview, TX, in 2010, where he had reportedly worked for only nine months, and where he stated in his own report, with his photo, The Northeast Texas Humane Society has a euthanasia rate of 80%. 

Dispute grows over contract with Humane Society - Mark Salazar refused the request of the city which funds the Humane Society to perform an audit of finances in Oct. 2010... (LongviewNewsjournal.com, 10/14/10) 

Open the Books: Humane Society’s unwillingness to open records raises questions (Longview Newsjournal.com 10/17/10) 

Humane Society director resigns - “Mark Salazar, executive director of the Humane Society of Northeast Texas, has resigned and will be returning to Los Angeles to work in that city’s animal services department.” (Longview News-journal.com, 11/24/2010)  

Following is the short list of the Barnette/Salazar management-team decisions (and City embarrassments) since 2010: 

8/5/2011 - LAPD, City Seize Guns at 6 L.A. Animal Shelters  Plainclothes LAPD officers are reported to have taken about 120 weapons, including shotguns, rifles and .38-caliber handguns from the six animals shelters, the LA Times explained, “The city's 75 animal control officers are issued firearms to kill wild animals that are too injured to transport to shelters.” 

An audit was requested by Animal Services head Brenda Barnette, according to the Daily News.  Lt. Troy Boswell said they were unaware of any concerns. The police handed workers at the East Valley Shelter a note from Barnette and then took .38-caliber handguns from the premises. "We were given no explanation," he said.

10/21/2011 Phew! All of L.A. Animal Services Guns Are Accounted For, Audit Finds   “Thursday, officials announced the audit determined that all of the department's weapons were accounted for…”, the LAist reported. 

2/14/2012 – Six Animal Shelter Captains Benched Pending Vending Machine Contract Probe

“The city has sent home six animal shelter commanders pending a police probe into shelter vending machine contracts,” the Daily News has learned. “The six captains were placed on paid administrative leave Sunday by Brenda Barnette, general manager for Los Angeles Animal Services.” 

“Each captain earns up to $75,000 a year. Each has been ordered not to speak with each other or the media.” 

“The vending machines had been employed by the commanders since the 1950's to provide petty cash ($20-30/mo.) for shelter decorations, prizes and pizza for workers and volunteers. The practice was codified by the department in 2008. Barnette signed another amendment early last year granting captains permission to earn shelter money through recycling or machine vending, as long as they kept records,” the Daily News reported. 

The captains were being investigated by the LAPD's Burglary Crimes Division, “their crime, explained to them by a police detective: They had eaten shelter pizza they'd helped buy by contracting for the vending machines.” 

"We have a plan of action," Brenda Barnette told Daily News reporter Dana Bartholomew. "We have been working with the city psychologist on how to manage change."

6/13/2012 Los Angeles Animal Services Captains Cleared 

Six Los Angeles Animal Services captains returned to work this week after being cleared of any wrongdoing for improper vending machine contracts during "Pizzagate”…. The cost of their combined paid leave: $426,000…,” the Daily News announced, adding, “Barnette did not return calls for comment.”

Mar 18, 2013Los Angeles Animal Services' Brenda Barnette: 'No Night Care for Animals in City Shelters’  

“The on-going tragic implosion of Los Angeles Animal Services continues in an undated communication from General Manager Brenda Barnette, entitled, “Graveyard Shift Change for Animal Services,” … She states, “At the end of this month, Animal Services will not have Animal Care Technicians (ACTs) in the shelters from midnight until 6 AM…” 

Jul 3, 2013 – LA Animal Services GM Brenda Barnette Says Shelters Need Puppies  

After supporting an ordinance to prohibit pet stores from selling puppies, kittens, dogs or cats from puppy mills or local breeders, former dog breeder Brenda Barnette, issued a report…recommending that the Department stop spaying late-term pregnant dogs and foster them with rescuers or fosters until the puppies are eight weeks old, when they would be returned to LAAS to be adopted out for additional revenue. 

Oct 26, 2013
- Brenda Barnette's Daughter is a 'Responsible' Dog Breeder, Says Best Friends-L.A.’s Director   

Brenda Barnette’s daughter--Mary Alice Davis--was hired by Best Friends Animal Society in Los Angeles after Barnette arranged the $1-per-year giveaway of the new $19 million Northeast Valley Animal Shelter to Best Friends. (Plus, the City provides $200,000 a year in maintenance while Best Friends occupies the shelter.) A dog show roster dated May 23, 2013, shows Brenda Barnette and her daughter Mary Alice Davis listed as co-owners of a “Puppy Bitch” in competitions at the Southern California Portuguese Water Dog Club.                                        

When questioned about this, Marc Peralta, Director of Best Friends-LA, wrote back to advocate Daniel Guss: “Mary Alice Davis is not an adoption coordinator, rather she is the foster care coordinator at our pet adoption center in Mission Hills….While Best Friends always advocates adoptions from shelters or rescues for those looking for a pet, we do acknowledge that there are responsible and caring breeders (with definitions attached). Mary Alice falls into the category of responsible breeders. (October 8, 2013 e-mail from Marc Peralta, Director of Best Friends-LA)

Sept 28, 2015 - Memo to GM Barnette and LA Council: LA Animal Control Officers are at Risk ...  

On September 16 the City Council’s Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee heard a dismal report on the condition of LA Animal Services’ fleet of Animal Rescue Vehicles (ARV’s.) None of these animal-collection trucks have been replaced since 2000-2003, according to General Services Asst. GM Angela Sherick-Bright and Fleet Services Manager Richard Coulson. 

These high-mileage trucks are driven by solitary Animal Control Officers to animal-related emergencies and humane investigations, 24/7, throughout the 469 square miles of urban and rural Los Angeles. Following are a few of the alarming ARV mechanical/equipment failures that have been reported by officers...(read more) 

May 23, 2016 - LA Animal Services: Pit Bull with a Violent History Attacks Potential Adopter...  

A Pit Bull named Sammy with a prior record of repeated aggression, and who had just bitten a Los Angeles Animal Services kennel worker in the abdomen, was released on April 28, 2016, to NovaStar Rescue, at the personal instruction of LA Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette. 

On May 15, Los Angeles Fire Department and LAPD responded to a house near downtown LA at approximately 9 p.m., where a pit bull was attacking a woman who “was visiting the dog to determine if she wants to adopt from the rescue who had been fostering the dog.” That dog was later identified by LA Animal Services as Impound #1608123, “Sammy.” “Sammy” was alive but had been stabbed 19 times by a neighbor who heard the victim screaming. 

Also: LA Animal Services Removes Animal Control Officers from Harbor Shelter: Staffing Shortages or Poor Management?   

Mayor Garcetti OK’s $800,000 for Feral Cat Report While the City’s Homeless Struggle

LA Animal Services Brenda Barnette Hiding theTruth about Coyote Attacks and Rabies or Clueless 

Unfortunately, these are just a few of the alarming and embarrassing public 'errors' made by Brenda Barnette and Mark Salazar. It is unforgivable for taxpayers to pay for this gross mismanagement and for LA’s homeless animals to be victimized by the waste of LA Animal Services $46-million budget designated for their care.

Maybe “not being a good fit” with the current upper-management status quo at LAAS is a good thing!  

But this begs greater questions: Is anyone managing the City of LA? And, why is this undisputable history of incompetence being allowed to continue?

(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com.  She lives in Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams. 

Should the Government Shoot Wild Horses?

ANIMAL WATCH-California is one of the states with the highest percentage of surplus wild horses and burros; yet, little public or political attention has focused on this. Because of the projected wild-equine population increase, it is a humane issue that is becoming critical from both an ethical and financial standpoint and has gained heightened importance after a recent recommendation by the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for disposing of these animals. 

An estimated 67,027 wild horses and burros roam 31 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the Western U.S. The agency’s recommended total sustainable population for this space is 26,715. This means the number of animals now exceeds the maximum appropriate level by more than 40,000; and, it is increasing at a rate of 15 to 18 percent annually. The BLM's historical finding is that both wild horse and burro herds double in size about every four years.

Additionally, in August 2016 the BLM reports that the number of off-range -- unadopted or unsold -- wild horses and burros maintained in holding facilities called Herd Management Areas (MHA's) from California to Illinois was over 45,000.

The federal Bureau of Land Management is mandated to manage, protect and control wild horses and burros under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. This law also authorizes the BLM to remove excess wild horses and burros, which have no significant natural predators, from the range to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for multiple uses, in accordance with the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act. 

Each year, an inventory is required of the number of wild horses and burros roaming BLM-managed lands. From this, the Appropriate Management Level (AML) is determined. This is the number of animals that can thrive in balance with other public land resources and uses. The AML for California is estimated at 2,200. However, the Golden State's wild equine population is now at 4,925 horses, plus an additional 3,391 burros, for a total of 8,316. 

In neighboring Nevada, an epic number of 34,531 wild horses and burros inhabit the federal rangelands -- nearly three times the AML 12,811 figure the BLM says the state can support. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) announced in April he will take legal action to force the federal government to fund the management of Nevada’s wild horse population at appropriate levels because of the impact on the state's economy.

The BLM has been rounding up and relocating wild horses and burros to its holding facilities so that privately owned cattle could graze on the land, critics contend. The cost of maintaining almost 46,000 horses in these overcrowded facilities reached $49 million in 2015. 

Director Neil Kornze says it can cost about $50,000 per animal to feed and care for wild horses sitting in corrals and pastures over their lifetime and that cost has doubled over the last seven years. He predicts that if the BLM cannot adopt out and/or transfer a significant number of the wild horses and burros being held to other government agencies upon request (such as, the Border Patrol), the cost of feeding and caring for them during their lifetime could rise to $1 billion. 

On September 9, in an effort to curb the increasing overpopulation West-wide, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, which suggests policy for the Bureau of Land Management, proposed a program that would either euthanize (which means shoot) or sell without limitation “all suitable animals in long and short term holding deemed unadoptable.” 

Cries of outrage by animal activists accused the government of squandering its very limited resources in rounding up and holding the animals instead of launching a wide-scale birth-control effort. 

A petition to the United States Congress claiming that not enough had been done to have the horses adopted was posted by Protect Mustangs  on September 12, declaring, “The public is outraged. Wild horses and burros are living symbols of freedom and the pioneering spirit of the American West.”

Ginger Kathrens, executive director of The Cloud Foundation, a wild horse advocacy group based in Colorado, stated the BLM should advance the use of fertility control vaccines that keep populations in check but allow horses and burros to remain free on the range. 

In a chart titled, Population Growth-Suppression Treatments, the BLM explains that the currently available fertility control vaccine (PZP) is limited to a one-year period of effectiveness (initially assumed to be 22 months) and must be hand-injected into a captured wild horse." If deployed via ground-darting, PZP has the same duration but is very difficult to deliver to an animal which avoids human contact and the sizes of the herds makes it difficult to locate or track individual animals. 

Kathrens told the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands earlier this year that. “Current management practices of round-up, removal and warehousing … cause compensatory reproduction – an increase in populations as a result of decreased competition for forage.” 

"In other words, there would not be a surge in wild horses if the BLM hadn’t removed most of them from their land in the first place," summarizes Inhabitat. 

Director Neil Kornze advised Congress in his 2017 budget request that the BLM is "overwhelmed" and sees no slowdown in population of these animals. BLM is requesting the establishment of a congressionally chartered foundation that would help fund and support efforts to adopt horses that have been rounded up.

Kornze told a House Appropriations subcommittee in March that the growing herds are causing environmental harm to vast swaths of rangeland. Among other things, he asked Congress to help by authorizing tax credits to "incentivize adoption" of wild horses (E&E Daily, March 4.) 

Skeptics pointed to the Washington Times article on October 24, 2015, confirming a report by the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General that between 2009 and 2012, the BLM sold 1,794 federally protected wild horses to a Colorado rancher who admitted that most of the horses that he purchased through the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program went to slaughter. The Times also reports that taxpayers footed the $140,000 cost of delivery of the animals. 

On September 15, BLM spokesman Jason Lutterman issued a rapid response that the agency will NOT institute the controversial proposal by the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. “The BLM will not euthanize or sell without limitation any healthy animals. We’re going to continue caring for and seeking good homes for the un-adopted animals in our off-range corrals and pastures.” 

To sell the animals “without limitation" essentially removes protocols established in a BLM 2013 policy aimed at ensuring they won’t be slaughtered and includes other provisions to assure that these protected animals are not resold or do not fall into the hands of abusers. 

BLM Director Kornze also asked Congress to help by authorizing tax credits to "incentivize adoption" of wild horses (E&E Daily, March 4.) 

However, The Verge points out, adoptions are only $125 apiece, and even purchasing all 45,000 equines for $5,625,000 would do little to offset the $49 million that the BLM spent on them just last year.

Now we have more facts, but resolution still seems to be at an impasse. How would Californians react to the possibility that -- without progress in management -- thousands of the Golden State's wild horses and burros could face euthanasia?


(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com. She lives in Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.  

Is LA’s Anti-Barking Dog Law Fair?

ANIMAL WATCH-On September 9, 2016, important changes to Los Angeles Municipal Code Sec. 53.63 -- BARKING DOG NOISE were agendized for consideration by the City Council. But, with only ten council members present, it was rescheduled for September 20. 

If there is a dog in your home or in your community, or if you own or operate any business in Los Angeles, this could affect you at any time. We never know when our quality of life, and the welfare of our family, may be impacted by a new dog in our neighborhood that barks incessantly and/or seemingly without reason -- or is barking because of neglect or improper care. We also don't really know how much our own dog barks when no one is home! How do we want the impact measured by the City in the event of a dispute? 

There is another aspect of this law that can have a serious impact on business locations. Please review all the proposed changes and the existing clause that should be changed. There is still time to comment. 

BACKGROUND--In December 2011, LAMC Section 53.63 was amended by Council, as recommended by LA Animal Services, to define ‘excessive dog noise’ as “barking that is continuously audible for ten minutes or intermittently audible for 30 minutes within a three-hour period.” 

However, these parameters did not work well, according to General Manager Brenda Barnette’s letter and report on April 22, 2014. Over the next two years it became apparent that having to record exact minutes of barking over a period of time placed too onerous a burden on victims of barking dogs that unduly disturbed their lives, sleep and quality of life. She also claimed it limited the ability of the Department of Animal Services (DAS) to effectively address concerns and complaints that did not fall into these specific, limited patterns. 

Defendant dog owners at Commission appeals contended there was no way to ascertain whether such recordings were the result of intentional provocation from the complainer who may be standing on the other side of a wall with a recorder -- or from outside stimulation, such as a mail carrier making deliveries on the street. 

Also, with a timeframe as the sole determiner of violation, there was no way to address the possibility that the barking might have been due to of lack of proper care and attention by a negligent or uneducated owner. 

In April 2014, the Animal Services Commission approved the Department’s request for revision of this LAMC section to allow more discretion for hearing officers to consider factors other than strict time standards in recommending options, i.e., training, improved care and conditions, or changed housing options such as requiring that the dog(s) be kept indoors during certain hours. They expressed their belief this would also permit the Commission, upon appeal, to explore additional remedies if the initial recommendations by the General Manager/staff had not resolved the problem(s). 

Commission President David Zaft emphasized that dogs are rarely ordered to be removed from a home because of barking, since most owners -- rather than give up their pet -- will comply with conditions and restrictions to protect neighbors from excessive noise. But, occasionally, when there are obvious indicators that the owner is not acting responsibly in other aspects of caring for the animal and does not intend to make needed improvements, removal can allow the dog’s needs to be better served by rehoming it through the shelter or a rescue organization. 

The revision was approved by the PAW Committee on June 3 and adopted by Council on September 10, 2014, with the request that the City Attorney prepare the ordinance. It then disappeared for almost two years, until a new report and the ordinance were placed on the PAW agenda for August 26, 2016, (the motion expiration date) and fast-tracked to Council. 

HOW THE ORDINANCE WOULD CHANGE--The proposed definition of ‘excessive noise’, in the Ordinance to be considered on September 20, 2016, adds reasonable and pertinent factors that the Department may consider other than strict periods of time of prolonged barking: 

For purposes of this section, the term “excessive noise” shall mean noise which is unreasonably annoying, disturbing, offensive, or which unreasonably interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property of one or more persons occupying property in the community or neighborhood, within reasonable proximity to the property where the dog or dogs are kept. Factors that the Department may use to determine whether the barking is excessive may include, but are not limited to, the following: 

(i)    the nature, frequency and volume of the noise;

(ii)  the tone and repetitiveness;

(iii) the time of day or night;

(iv) the distance from the complaining or affected party or parties;

(v)  the number of neighbors affected by or complaining about the noise;

(vi) any other relevant evidence demonstrating that the barking is unduly disruptive; and

(vii) whether the dog is being provoked. 

Several letters of opposition in CF14-0681, claim this wording is too vague: 

“Eliminating a clear definition of excessive noise and replacing it with something entirely subjective and essentially unprovable will only result in more dogs being removed from their homes.” 

A letter of support from A. Bold states: 

Please approve the proposed changes to LAMC 53.63. I am a victim of nuisance barking and have had a great deal of experience with Animal Services and LAMC 53.63. 

When it comes to nuisance barking, only Animal Services can help. Not the police and not community groups. The courts will only help if there is an Animal Services Order. So it all comes down to Animal Services and LAMC 53.63. 

LAMC 53.63 currently in place is unjust because it allows only two very specific scenarios to be nuisance barking. This is completely unrealistic when it comes to any noise nuisance.

Current LAMC 53.63 is also very onerous to prove and, I allege, is therefore discriminatory. 

THE BUSINESS IMPACT: DID KORETZ OVERLOOK (OR PLAN) THIS?--In 2013, LA’s Chief Zoning Administrator Linn Wyatt issued a Zoning Administrator’s Interpretation (ZAI), exempting “pet shops” from the requirements for dog “kennels,” if they offer four or more adult shelter or rescued dogs for sale. 

The Planning Dept. said this was requested by LAAS GM Brenda Barnette to enhance Koretz’ ban on the sale of commercially bred puppies in pet stores. 

Historically, pet shops are in commercial (C-2) zones and only offer puppies under four months of age, which exude small amounts of easily disposable waste and do not bark. This ZAI presumed that "adult shelter or rescued dogs" do not bark as offensively as adult dogs in commercial boarding or training facilities -- which can operate only in proper zoning, or under a Conditional Use Permit. 

After four months of age, pups are considered adults (dogs). If more than three adult dogs are maintained on any premise in the city of LA, they are automatically regulated as kennels by LAMC Section 12.03 of the Zoning Code and prohibited unless in ‘M' (light manufacturing) zones -- and at least 500 feet from residences.

On May 27, 2015, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell ruled that the, “City of Los Angeles Zoning Administrator’s Interpretation … exceeded the Zoning Administrator’s authority and is thus an abuse of discretion.” 

Koretz has subsequently sought to have the Planning Dept. change the kennel code to allow unlimited adult rescued/shelter dogs in ANY C-2 zoned "kennel/pet shop" in any area --including those which adjoin residential communities. 

Proposed revised LAMC Sec. 53.63 – BARKING NOISE, retains the following wording

"The provisions of this section shall NOT apply to any commercial animal establishment permitted by zoning law." (Emphasis added.) 

An industry expert opined, “This means that this change in zoning would deregulate an entire aspect of the animal industry in the city, leaving affected business owners, or residents within 500 feet with no recourse for the overreaching negative impact of ‘excessive noise’ from such operations and no way to file complaints, as provided for other city residents or businesses.” 

How can the City effectively address the disruptive impact of barking dogs on the surrounding community -- whether measuring only the exact length the noise is made or weighing a multitude of factors -- while exempting every commercial animal operation?

Shouldn’t this be changed/clarified while Sec. 53.63 is being revised? Or, is it part of Koretz’ plan? 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?--Chronic or static barking that repeatedly interferes with living and sleep patterns of animals or humans is a serious health and safety threat. 

Should the City focus on the exact number of minutes or hours a dog barks as the measure of a nuisance or consider the total disruptive impact on neighbors and other stakeholders in the community? 

(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com. She lives in Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.                                                        

LA Animal Services’ Brenda Barnette: Hiding the Truth about Coyote Attacks and Rabies, or Clueless?

ANIMAL WATCH-On May 24, Councilman Joe Buscaino introduced a motion instructing LA Animal Services to make recommendations to “further control the coyote population in the City’s residential neighborhoods.” He seemed to be commendably addressing demands of his constituents, horrified by coyotes killing beloved companion cats and dogs, alarming mothers with children, and lounging menacingly in front yards.  

However, his recent submission to the Council File makes us wonder if -- and why -- the Councilman is back-pedaling about the severity of coyote dangers in Los Angeles and possibly making a joke of it. Could the strong advocacy claims that contend coyotes were here first and just want peaceful coexistence have influenced the former LAPD officer’s bravado? This may have some 15th District voters rethinking their choice for Council in the upcoming election. 

At the August 3 meeting of the Council’s Personnel and Animal Welfare (PAW) Committee, chaired by Councilman Paul Koretz, Buscaino had the opportunity to submit credible local and national scientific research (reference to which has also been placed in the file by concerned residents) providing options for encouraging coyotes to move away from busy central locations and densely populated areas of the city and to assure education regarding rabies in the event of an attack on a human or pet -- something LA. Animal Services GM Brenda Barnette seems unwilling to do. 

Instead, Councilman Buscaino, who earns almost $200,000 a year plus other generous monetary perks, submitted a Wonkblog chart, citing its sources as: “CDC reports, CDC WONDER database, Wikipedia, Florida Museum of Natural History.” On it, cartoonish caricatures represent statistics on animal-caused human fatalities in the U.S. between 2001 and 2013 (other than by coyotes).

The assortment of “killers” includes cow faces and explains, “…cows killed about twenty people a year in the mid-2000s. That makes cows about 20 times as lethal as sharks.” 

It also shows dog faces (all resembling Pit Bulls) and says they have killed 28 people during the same period.

Is this supposed to make Angelenos feel more comfortable that coyotes have, thus far, merely eaten their pets? Is this is where the Councilman gains his wisdom for managing city challenges? 

LA Animal Services’ General Manager Brenda Barnette also demonstrated her failure to take the Councilman’s motion seriously by reporting to the Animal Services Commission on August 9 with a smile and a chuckle that Councilman Buscaino agreed other animals were more deadly than coyotes but is still worried about leaving his dog in his back yard. 

Buscaino has the opportunity and obligation to demand the public be informed on the realities of the increasing boldness and danger of coyote attacks, which are now including humans across the country, and insist that the romanticized fairy tale of living with wildlife also provides full disclosure of the health and safety aspects. 

Montebello Closes Park after Three Coyote Attacks on Humans 

Attacks on three people within eight miles of downtown Los Angeles caused Montebello officials to close down Grant Rea Park on August 9, 2016, until the errant coyote(s) could be located. Andrew Hughan, information officer for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told the LA Times, “People are not food for coyotes.”  

Two victims were forced to seek treatment for possible exposure to rabies. The first attack, a teenage girl, occurred July 22. A coyote came up and bit her on the leg while she was sitting alone in the park, and then made off with her shoe, Hughan said.

The girl’s mother told CBSLA her daughter was given a rabies shot, antibiotics and will forever be scarred. “She has a claw. She has three teeth marks on the top of her foot and bottom. So he latched her,” Marie Ruvalcava explained. 

The second attack was August 6, about a block from the park. A man lying on his back working underneath a car in his driveway was bitten on the leg and threw a wrench to scare the coyote away. He had eight puncture wounds and was taken to the hospital for wound care and post-exposure rabies treatment. 

A homeless man was later attacked while searching through trash cans in the park. He sustained 19 puncture wounds on his legs, according to reports. He was also treated for rabies, although authorities did not know if the coyotes were infected.  

“The most ‘unbelievable’ case is the third one, because the man was standing and making lots of noise,” Officer Hughan told the Times, (This contradicts the widely held theory that “hazing” -- waving your arms and making noise -- is the ultimate deterrent to an approaching coyote.) 

Wildlife officers reportedly shot and killed five coyotes at the park and sent them for testing. They also will help educate the public in prevention techniques. 

Coyote Who Bit Father Protecting his Children Tests Positive for Rabies 

On August 1, 2016, a coyote that bit a father’s leg as he protected his two daughters from attack in Lincoln Borough, PA, tested positive for rabies, Allegheny County confirmed. The man has started rabies treatment. 

The victim told Pittsburgh Action News 4, "the coyote's teeth went through denim jeans, into skin." 

Coyote that Bit Person in Roswell Tests Positive for Rabies 

A rabid coyote that bit a person on July 11, 2016, has been captured in Roswell, GA, and euthanized. It tested positive for rabies, according to the North Fulton News. (The victim’s identity was protected.) 

Coyote attacks NJ man walking dog; 2nd attack in county in month 

A coyote attacked a New Jersey man walking his dog on a Norwood road and then ran away —this was the second attack in Bergen County in April 2015, according to WABC.  Officials weren’t sure if the coyote had rabies, but the victim was given rabies treatment (which consists of 3 to 5 shots.)  He and his dog are both recovering. 

Earlier in April, a coyote that tested positive for rabies attacked a 77-year-old Bergen County man and his dog in Saddle Brook. He was treated for leg injuries and given rabies post-exposure vaccine.  

His dog, a Labrador retriever named Jack, needed 30 stitches to close his wounds and was quarantined for six months because his rabies shot was not current. 

Rhode Island Woman Bitten by Coyote Proven Positive for Rabies 

A woman was treated for possible rabies exposure after she was bitten by a coyote at a Warwick apartment complex.  

Patti Elderkin told NBC 10 News on August 9, 2016, that the coyote approached her and her two Pug dogs, and bit her right leg, causing her to fall. The coyote then bit her other leg while she was on the ground. 

She said she received four shots at the ER that night, including starting the rabies series, and had to go back for more. 

Police shot and killed a coyote at the complex that tested positive for rabies and believe it is the one that bit Elderkin, but Health Department authorities said there's no 100 percent certainty. 

Another resident told NBC10  he was in his car Monday morning at the same apartment complex when a coyote approached the front of his car and bit the bumper, commenting that the coyote had no fear of him or the car. 

Jogger in San Diego Bitten by Coyote Receives Rabies Shots 

On December 1, 2015, a female jogger was bitten by a coyote in the Kensington area of San Diego. "All of a sudden, I feel something bite my leg," Janet Snook told 10News, "I look down, and you know, it's a coyote." 

She said she turned to run backwards and face the coyote, while she screamed, yelled and waved her arms, and made as much noise as possible but the coyote would stop briefly and then kept running toward her. 

Snook drove herself to an urgent care facility for wound treatment and post-exposure rabies shots. "Even if it's a mild kind of abrasion, you still can have micro tears in the skin," she said. 

The Department of Fish and Wildlife told 10News it considered the coyote a public threat and planned to remove it from the area. 

And, lest we forget, the most common victims in the news of coyote attacks are pets we love and cherish. 

Brookside killing of pet dog prompts coexistence questions.” 

A poignant Tulsa World article on August 5, 2016, about the growing presence of coyotes in central Tulsa was subtitled, “Brookside killing of pet dog prompts coexistence questions.” It describes Sean Phillips witnessing a coyote kill a small dog. 

It’s a scene not often witnessed but not unusual in cities across the United States, from New York to Los Angeles…I heard a commotion and this little dog ran into view,”  (Sean) Phillips said. “It was little, black and white, maybe a Maltese or something like that, and a full-grown coyote came up from behind and grabbed it and shook it. That killed it. It was still and it didn’t yelp anymore, and the coyote trotted off across the road to the river.” 

“[When] the animals adapt to areas closer to the center of town, questions and controversy arise about how close is too close,” Tulsa World asks. 


It is important to emphasize that attacks on humans -- until now -- have been extremely rare; however, predators, including coyotes, have not been as pervasive in urban communities. Although they have historically lived quietly on the outskirts of cities and in natural habitat areas and adjoining parklands, with occasional treks into inhabited areas, “coexistence” has not included daytime strolls down busy streets or hunting expeditions in the yards of highly populated areas. There is no question that “urban coyotes” have lost their fear of humans, but their aggressive behavior may also be attributed to illness, including rabies, experts say. 

“Human rabies encephalitis acquired from dogs and other terrestrial mammals remains 100% fatal,” writes Mary Warrell, faculty member of F-1000 Neurological Disorders. “The unvaccinated patient who recovered from rabies encephalitis in the USA was bitten by a bat. The distinct group of bat rabies viruses in the Americas have proved less pathogenic than dog viruses.” 


Rabies is an infectious disease that is caused by a virus and can enter the body at any break in the victim’s skin, usually a bite by an infected animal, or through the mucous membranes in the mouth, eyes or nose and travel to the brain. 

The rabies virus infection leads to acute viral encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord) and ultimately, death. 

In humans, symptoms usually develop after three to eight weeks. In some cases, symptoms have appeared as early as nine days and as long as seven years after exposure. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an unknown animal, wash the wound (or mucous membrane) immediately with soap and water and remove any clothing that may be contaminated with saliva. Contact your doctor or go to a local emergency room. Rabies can be prevented in humans with the administration of a post-exposure rabies treatment, or prophylaxis, as soon as possible following an exposure. 


A search of the LA Animal Services’ website showed only ONE mention of rabies in conjunction with getting a vaccination to license your dog. 

The Wildlife Section and “Encounters with Coyotes” brochure also does not mention dangers of rabies. In fact, after stating, “Do not attempt to pet or otherwise make physical contact with wildlife. Coyotes are wild animals and should be treated as such,” it shows a photo of an Animal Control Officer holding a young coyote against his/her chest with a bare hand! Which message is the stronger? 

The report provided to the PAW committee by LA Animal Services contains no “plan” to protect residents or their pets from coyotes. It is merely a re-hash of information that has been collected by various Wildlife Officers over the past several decades. During that span, the problems of unimpeded, rapidly increasing urban coyotes has escalated. That fact is being denied by GM Brenda Barnette. 

Her Plan does not mention the interaction of coyotes with the homeless and their citywide encampments, where food is stored in tents and disposed of at the most convenient location. It does not include education and outreach to the communities of low-income immigrants in the central city who walk with young children and small dogs in areas where the smell of freshly cooking meat by street vendors permeates the air and open trash cans overflow. 

The tired documents presented as a Coyote Management Plan -- and not seriously questioned by the PAW committee -- are merely the history and guide to how this problem has grown and how city government has enabled it. Without serious intent to diminish the sources of the problem, it is obvious the PAW committee, and now possibly Councilman Buscaino, are merely kicking the can down the road. 

NOTE: Rabies is often transmitted by other mammals, such as coyotes, being bitten by infected bats. The increase in rabid bats in Los Angeles County indicated in this chart should be considered in any study of wildlife policy for this area.                                                                     

(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com.  She lives in Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

Coyote Shooting in Silver Lake – Is the Public Losing Patience with City Hall and Animal Services?

ANIMAL WATCH-The exploding coyote presence in Los Angeles -- and obvious lack of concern by LA Animal Services GM Brenda Barnette and other City officials -- has apparently caused some individuals to take things into their own hands. 

Two recent criminal acts may indicate that public patience is wearing thin and desperation is setting in. Is it possible that mounting anger over inaction regarding marauding coyotes is also symbolic of a seething rebellion against the greater issue of Los Angeles’ pompous, detached and inept local government, which acts without facts and worries more about the political and financial favor of advocacy groups than the safety of the electorate (and their pets)? 

The coyotes’ increasing boldness toward humans and the killing of furry or feathered family members has been treated by City Hall as just another irrelevant and ignorable quality-of-life issue until a recent motion by San Pedro Councilman Joe Buscaino instructed the Department of Animal Services to report with a plan to reduce the number of coyotes in Harbor communities -- a priority for constituents in his densely populated district. It’s also critical to uscaino’s upcoming re-election campaign -- and a wake-up call to other LA politicians. 

On July 1, the LA Times reported, “Mystery Shooter Kills Coyote in Silver Lake,” explaining that a Silver Lake resident found the dead coyote lying in front of his parked car in June and a gunshot was later determined as the cause of death. LAPD, the Animal Cruelty Task Force, plus the Department of Animal Services are all looking into the shooting. 

The Times states, “…some neighbors believed the killing was just the latest example of resident’s frustration with coyotes in Silver Lake,” which they describe as increasingly bold. 

“We’ve had them on our front lawn, 10 feet from the front of the house,” said one Silver Lake resident, lamenting that many cats have been taken and she worries about her toddler and five-week-old infant. 

Her husband added, “I love coyotes, but I love my dog more.” This expressed the attitude of most Angelenos, who enjoy living peacefully with wildlife, as long as it is reciprocal. 

In what appears to be an unrelated incident on May 24, LA Animal Services’ GM Brenda Barnette issued a media alert entitled, “WANTED injured coyote & illegal trapper,” announcing information about a coyote “whose leg was stuck in an illegal leg hold trap” in the Valley. Animal Control Officers (ACOs) responded immediately, the release stated but, “…unfortunately the coyote had disappeared.”  

On May 27, there was a second call that the trap was found, “along with one of the legs of the coyote still locked in the trap.” Barnette advised that, “ACOs are continuing patrols for both the distressed coyote and the illegal trapper.” Although the injured coyote was purported to have subsequently been seen in the North Hills area, no word of its capture followed. 

Los Angeles abhors the suffering of any domestic or wild animal. However, caustic comments on news coverage of the trapping compared LA Animal Services’ slow -- or nonexistent -- response to dog attacks or to coyotes killing pets and threatening humans, to the concern (and sudden availability of staff) for the trapped coyote.

An obsequious report by Animal Services on Wednesday, June 29, assured coyote advocates and Paul Koretz’ Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee that LAAS, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the National Park Service all agree that the coyote population has not grown, but the same coyotes are being reported by multiple people on social media. 

Interestingly, the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife has posted prominently on its website, Coyote Attacks: an Increasing Suburban Problem  (White Paper from the Hopland Research and Extension Center, University of California.) 

And, LA County Department of Public Health reports that coyote attacks on humans increased from two in 2011 to 15 in 2015, according to the Daily Breeze. Locally, a child and an adult male were bitten in Elysian Park last year in separate incidents. 

Reports from all over Los Angeles indicate alarm not just for the numbers of sightings but also because of the comfort-level evident when predators closely related to wolves are lounging on front lawns. 

A San Pedro resident told the Daily Breeze that, when he left for work before dawn in June, there were five coyotes spread across his yard. He added, “I’ve never seen anything like that in the past.” 

In January 2016, the National Park Service announced that a young female coyote, discovered with at least five pups living in the Echo Park area on September 23, 2015, was found drowned in MacArthur Park lake. 

“In the short time C-146 was tracked via a GPS collar, her travels displayed unusual behavior for a species that is territorial, the NPS report stated. “Since captured near the LA River in Northeast LA, she traveled as far south as downtown Los Angeles via the LA River, throughout Elysian Park, and into the Westlake neighborhood where she met her fate in MacArthur Park.” 

“They’re not coming from anywhere, they’re just here,” Niamh Quinn, advisor at the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, told the Daily Breeze, “They’re now established in urban communities and they’re reproducing successfully.” 

Dr. Quinn also clarified that declining food and water in the hills is NOT the reason for the coyotes’ increasingly aggressive behavior. It is the ease of raiding garbage cans in yards rather than exerting the energy to hunt and catch dinner. 

A Westlake/Echo Park unofficial coyote-watch networker advised this week that a coyote with a cat in its mouth was reported on Park View St. near Temple. A man walking a Chihuahua on Glendale Blvd. near the 101 Fwy. bridge reported that, “a coyote came out from under a car, grabbed the pup and ran up the hill with it.” And, another animal rescuer said she saw two coyotes near Hoover and Sanborn, each with a cat. 

In response to Buscaino’s motion, LA Animal Services posted a Report Back on the Coyote Management Program on June 24, recommending that Council “Receive and File.” Barnette states that the Department does not plan to trap or otherwise remove any wildlife and that “coyotes cause few problems that can’t be resolved with better coexistence training and compliance on the part of the city’s residents.”

So far, her plan has not produced a noticeably positive result. 

Buscaino advised in a prepared statement, “I will continue to gauge the situation and the public comment and respond appropriately.” At the end of the one-hour discussion, Koretz stated, “I’m not sure we’ve completely exhausted this subject. We’ll have a further hearing to see if anything can be added to the program.” Is either sincere? 

It is insulting to residents who have lived peacefully with wildlife for decades for City Hall officials to accept Brenda Barnette’s pathetic, condescending explanation that there is no increasing coyote problem -- just a social-media illusion. 

There is no problem with coyotes being predators and acting on their natural survival instinct to kill and eat the most available prey. However, that cannot continue to be pets -- beloved family members. And Angelenos cannot live under the threat that children (or even adults) may be next. 

Where is the compassion for the innocent cats and dogs who experience unfathomable terror when snatched from their owner or yard in a coyote’s jaws and suffer horrific deaths being crushed or torn apart alive by its teeth? Has even one humane organization publicly mourned them or decried their deaths? 

While there is still time, and before the coyote population becomes overwhelming, City Hall must consult with experienced experts on the most humane way to drive coyotes away from heavily populate areas and back to a natural habitat, and then implement a plan. 

If not, escalating fear and desperation may cause more law-abiding residents to take the law into their own hands to protect those they love -- and voters will not forget. 

(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com.  She lives in Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams. 


Above graph appeared in LACurbed.com

Coyote Danger! Will LA Adopt Trap and Kill Plan?

ANIMAL WATCH-On June 15, the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee (PAW) of the LA City Council agendized a hearing on the May 24 motion  by San Pedro/Harbor-area Councilman Joe Buscaino, instructing LA Animal Services to report back by July 1 with recommendations “…that will further control the coyote population in the City’s residential neighborhoods.” 

Torrance, a neighboring South Bay city which shares coyotes with San Pedro, scheduled a Council meeting on June 14 on the same subject. Prior community meetings indicated that Torrance residents wanted serious steps taken to deter the city’s coyote invasion. 

Coincidentally -- or possibly to let Torrance set the benchmark -- PAW Chair Paul Koretz, cancelled the June 15 LA hearing. 

Despite emotional pleas and protests from wildlife advocates that trapping and removing urban coyotes is inhumane and will not solve the problem, on June 14 the Torrance City Council adopted an urban coyote management plan emphasizing public education, but also including “lethal removal of problem animals when the safety of residents is at risk.” 

Residents cited that coexistence without protection has resulted in the City responding to nearly 150 coyote sightings already this year, including 84 in April. 

Torrance encompasses almost 21 square miles, with an estimated 2013 population of 147,478. Its consistently low crime rate ranks it among the safest cities in LA County. 

Coyotes have killed an estimated 60 mostly domestic animals so far this year, including 37 cats, seven dogs and one tortoise, according to the Daily Breeze. 

ABC 7 News reported that wildlife advocate Matthew Duncan advised food and water bowls left outside, free roaming cats, and small unattended dogs are what draw coyotes to neighborhoods and removing these issues “will likely solve the problem.” 

It is inconvenient for Councilman Koretz, who is seeking support for re-election and has staked much of his political career on being an ‘animal-lover,’ that the Torrance Council approved lethal action -- the possibility of which is also implied in Buscaino’s motion, seconded by Koretz. 

Attorney Mark R. Steinberg, resident of the Los Feliz Oaks area for over 40 years, lost two beloved border collies to coyotes inside his fenced yard last year. He has submitted to the Council File  an adaptable, comprehensive plan for coyote management developed for The Town of Parker in cooperation with the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) and put a lot of thought and research into this issue. 

He also has made some very astute suggestions, including that a requirement for tracking and reporting coyote sightings/incidents and making updated information available to the public on the Animal Services website be incorporated into Councilman Buscaino’s motion. 

Mr. Steinberg recently told the Daily Breeze that the relationship of residents with coyotes has changed radically in the past few years. “People are being confronted (by emboldened coyotes) in the streets, there’s regular killing and maiming of pets, some of them the size of the coyotes themselves,” he said. 

A Simi Valley coyote rehabilitator also filed a letter recommending education for the public, “…alleviating any fears they had on wild animals being a danger.” 

LA Animal Services' GM Brenda Barnette admits to not keeping statistics on sightings or attacks on pets in the city and she has not issued a promised public response to distraught residents after holding community meetings last year. The Department also does not respond to coyote threats or attacks on pets or humans. (Human attacks are reported to the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife.) 

The LAAS website has an obscure Wildlife Section which states, “It is not the intention of the Department of Animal Services to remove wildlife from residential areas. Rather, the Department is hoping to rectify most problems through neighborhood education and individual homeowner attention.”

It also reassures us that, “Statistically the chances of wildlife attacks on humans causing fatality are low when compared to 43,000 people killed by auto accidents, 13,000 people killed by falls, and on the obscure side 13 people that are killed by vending machine’s [sic] falling on them every year.” 

As if Chief Charlie Beck is not busy enough preparing for potential terrorist attacks in LA, Lt. Kent Smirl of CA F&W told reporters last year that coyotes have recently entered homes chasing dogs or cats through pet doors. In an OC case, a coyote followed a woman through her front door, wrestled her dog away from her in the living room and disappeared into the neighborhood with the dog in its jaws. 

Any immediate crisis of this nature in LA would undoubtedly be called into 911, so I asked a Senior Lead Officer what training LAPD has received for such situations where humans are also endangered and what action would be taken. He responded that they had not received any training and would probably try to deter the animal with fire extinguishers.

Mange in coyotes may result in more contact with humans. 

Many reports of coyote sightings in LA include the comment that the animal is extremely thin and missing hair. 

A team of Canadian researchers found that coyotes that live in urban areas and have mange, are more likely to have an inadequate diet based on human food. They published their 2015 study, “Poor health in association with the use of anthropogenic resources in an urban carnivore,” in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

GPS collars were applied to 19 coyotes and their hair was sampled periodically. Eleven coyotes appeared to be healthy and eight were visibly infested with sarcoptic mange, a mite that causes hair loss. Diseased coyotes used more developed areas, had larger monthly home ranges, were more active during the day, and assimilated less protein than coyotes that appeared to be healthy. 

Sarcoptic mange is caused by a mite that burrows under the skin and can migrate and infect other animals (or humans). Untreated, this condition results in extensive hair loss, decreased body-weight and constant itching and scratching that causes additional self-inflicted skin wounds that become infected. As the disease progresses the skin becomes thickened and takes on a wrinkled appearance and is usually hairless and discolored. (The Canadian researchers also noted that pet owners should be aware that dogs can get mange from coyotes.) 

A thesis by Evan C. Wilson, Graduate Program in Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State, in 2012, The Dynamics of Sarcoptic Mange in an Urban Coyote (Canis latrans) Population,  proposes that, “Disease, specifically sarcoptic mange, is a potential reason for some individuals [coyotes], to ignore their wariness of humans, and behave in a manner that makes them become a ‘nuisance’ animal.”

Could this possibly explain reports that some coyotes seem less leery of noise and are seen wandering in congested areas of LA during daytime? 

The Canadian research team speculates that human food provides a low-quality, but easily accessible food source sought by diseased coyotes. In turn, that dependency on food from human resources promotes more encounters with people. 

Councilman Buscaino is right -- it is time for Los Angeles’ officials to get serious about this exploding public safety/health issue affecting animals and humans. Coyotes in cities have evolved beyond the traditional characteristics of timidity and fear of humans for numerous reasons, and Los Angeles is woefully unenlightened and unprepared.


(Animal activist Phyllis M. Daugherty writes for CityWatch and is a contributing writer to opposingviews.com.  She lives in Los Angeles.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

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