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Cost of Replacing Coyote Is Prohibitive

July 31, 1994

* The report (that) a coyote had attacked a dog in the Upper Newport Bay area came as I was about to walk on the trail that passes the YMCA on its way to Jamboree Road. In less than 30 minutes I saw more rabbits and squirrels than I have seen in many years. Nature's population control is provided by the coyote, I wondered why a coyote would bother a dog when plentiful and more natural food was readily available.

The coyotes are important to us. Think of the problem local governments would have if they were to take over the job that coyotes willingly do. (Arguing about territory with a dog is not one of the coyote's natural activities.) I am talking about their job of controlling the squirrel and rabbit population. The authorities would need to train people to destroy only the weak or witless of the squirrel or rabbit population. After all, we don't want to destroy all the squirrels and rabbits. Then a supervisor is needed to see that the people do their job correctly, and then a department head would be necessary.

What would it cost for people to do the job the coyotes are willing to do for us? If 10 people for each city are needed to do the job, (there is) the salary and fringe benefits, and also insurance for lawsuits. All told, $1 million a year might get the job done.

Once the job is done, then a new set of people would be needed to control the vegetation growth, formerly done by the rabbits and squirrels. Of course there is also the cost for buying and spreading fertilizer no longer provided by the squirrels and rabbits.

Where is this to end? A solution is needed. There have been no reports of coyotes attacking a dog when the dog is accompanied by a person with a "doodoo bag." This new weapon has yet to be evaluated by the coyotes. This may be one solution. Another may be to provide the dog with a fence for its protection.

JOHN S. KERR

Newport Beach

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