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Homeowners Group Halts Effort to Trap, Kill Coyotes

March 19, 2003|Stanley Allison | Times Staff Writer

Responding to a public outcry and media attention, a homeowners association of a large residential development in the hills near San Clemente has halted its coyote trapping program.

The association for the sprawling Talega development hired an extermination company last week to trap and kill the coyotes that had become bold enough to wander from the hills and into the housing tract.

The company was hired for a 10-day program several weeks after one coyote bit a grade-school student and, in another recent incident, coyotes surrounded a woman, said Patricia Minassian, vice president of the company that manages Talega under a contract with the homeowners association.

But after a resident said he witnessed a bloody trapping and apparent killing, some residents and environmentalists protested the procedure.

Late Friday, the homeowners association asked the extermination company to remove the 11 traps that had been placed around the community.

The homeowners association will seek advice from the state Department of Fish and Game and the Rancho Mission Viejo Land Conservancy "and come up with an appropriate course of action" to deal with the perceived coyote problem, Minassian said.

Resident Janie Gable said the action should include an intense education program for residents.

"Every few months they have a Saturday program on how to landscape your yard," Gable said.

"They could do the same thing on how to live with coyotes and how to deal with coyotes."

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