Glendale's squatting coyotes safe for now

A coyote in California's Death Valley National Park.
A coyote in California's Death Valley National Park. Manfred Werner/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

L.A. County now says the idea to euthanize coyotes that are squatting in a burned-out house in north Glendale was never anything but the last resort. Better to let them be scared off, it says, when the house finally gets demolished.

The mayor of Glendale, Lisa Friedman, lives right next door to the burned-out house on Brockmont Drive. And the woman who lives on the other side, Cathy Molloy, says these are some good-looking coyotes. Sleek and beautiful, not scrawny like the ones in Griffith Park.

Molloy and Friedman are on the same side when it comes to the coyotes' future. Friedman told KABC, “We’ve chosen to live in the hillsides. We should be living with these animals and not try to kill them just because we see them.”

Earlier media reports said the county was going to trap and kill the animals, but Ken Pellman, a county spokesman, wrote in a news release, "The County of Los Angeles Department of Agriculture only addresses situations with aggressive coyotes posing a danger to human life. Trapping is a last resort."

When I called him, Pellman said the coyotes will probably leave on their own when the owners start to demolish the house.

“From what we understand, the conditions of the property are going to be addressed and if that happens, then the situation will likely resolve itself. If work begins on the property, coyotes will likely not want to be around all that work. We want them out there in the wild, in the foothills, eating the rats, eating the snakes, keeping the ecosystem in balance,"

The story broke big Monday, with news trucks and animal rights activists descending on the hilly neighborhood. That may have proven Pellman's point. The coyotes used to come and go on a regular basis, but says Molloy, after all the hubub, "Lo and behold, they did not show. I haven’t seen them since.”

A few more points of interest:

• The whole neighborhood might want to get together to throw a goodbye party for the coyotes. They seem to have accomplished something that's needed to be done for almost a year: The demolition process for the dangerous derelict house seems to be moving forward.

• It's nice to know that the mayor of Glendale — who lives immediately adjacent the charred shell — didn't pull strings to get the house bulldozed. You couldn't blame her if she was tempted.

• When I was checking out the neighborhood, I ran into a woman who rescues coyotes. She says she offered to scare them away, using strobe lights and a radio. I asked "What station do you tune it to? We've got a fundraiser coming up in a couple weeks. That should work."

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