MOORLACH UPDATE — Coyotes — October 12, 2010

Happy Columbus Day!  The County of Orange celebrated Columbus Day yesterday.

On Monday Rick Reiff of the Orange County Business Journal mention a comment I made in a recent MOORLACH UPDATE in his “OC Insider” column.  It is the first piece below.

The second piece comes from KTLAThe proliferation of coyotes in the Rossmoor area has been a source of concern for several years.  Recently, residents in that community have grown increasingly concerned at the apparent increase of coyote sightings and attacks on pets.  In one instance, a coyote charged at a resident who attempted to intervene in an altercation between her dog and a coyote – the California Department of Fish and Game has indicated that this does not qualify as an attack on a person for reasons explained below.  Community members have sought assistance from a host of government agencies to curb the threat of coyote-related incidents. In response, our office has worked with the Rossmoor Community Services District, Orange County Public Works (OCPW), Orange County Animal Care Services (OCAC), Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Game (DF&G) to strategize how to best minimize the threats coyotes may pose both to domestic pets and people.

It is important to understand that municipal agencies cannot surreptitiously eliminate coyotes just because they occupy a particular area. OCAC does not conduct blanket trapping of coyotes and it is not in its scope of work to do so.  In the event there is a coyote that is an imminent threat to humans, OCAC will target that particular coyote for euthanization, as it did with the coyote in Huntington Beach’s Central Park in 2009.  The key is, the coyote must be readily identified and pose a threat to humans (not pets).  Coyotes are highly adaptive to urban settings and they will always be amongst us.  Trapping one or more coyotes in one area typically leads to other coyotes filling the void as long as there is a food supply present.  That being said, communities can employ trapping independently if they believe coyotes are posing a danger to their communities.  Many communities in Orange County have done so with mixed results.  The only stipulation is that they hire a qualified, licensed trapper who obtains a $45 permit from DF&G.  This suggestion has been made to the residents of Rossmoor.  The sticking point seems to be who pays the trapper fees.  Since neither the County nor DF&G has declared the Rossmoor coyotes a public safety threat, the trapper would have to be paid for by the residents in that community.  The County has agreed to assist the community in managing a trapping contract.  This option was communicated to community leaders early last month, but no requests have been made to pursue such a contract.

In the meantime, OCAC and DF&G will step up efforts to educate community members about the basics in keeping coyotes at bay – keeping pets and small children under a watchful eye at all times, not leaving pet food outside, and clearing low lying vegetation on their property.  Furthermore, residents will be asked to take measures to eliminate food sources for pests that are natural prey for coyotes.  And obviously, they will be asked to refrain from intentionally feeding coyotes – a claim that has been made on a few occasions.

In response to the growing concerns in Rossmoor, my office met with DF&G and OCAC officials last week to further discuss our collective efforts to assist Rossmoor residents in dealing with their coyote concerns.  DF&G and OCAC will partner to canvass the community via door-to-door contact and mailers to better communicate the educational components.  Furthermore, DF&G and OCAC have agreed to partner together to meet with residents to address community concerns.

In recent weeks, my office has also sought the cooperation of Caltrans.  Caltrans has pursued brush clearing in its right-of-way adjacent to the 605 Freeway (the western boundary of Rossmoor).  Caltrans will conduct much more extensive clearing once the West County Connector Project (a major renovation to the 405/605 interchange and surrounding areas) is underway. That project should begin any time now, as the state budget has been passed.

OC Public Works has also been commissioned to make much needed improvements to our flood control fences and gates in the Rossmoor community to help fortify those barriers.  Those projects have been completed.  OCPW is also considering placing grates on certain flood control channel tunnels under streets.  This idea is under review at this time.

Residents in many parts of Orange County have adjusted well to their own coyote populations.  In some areas of South Orange County, residents are much more concerned about encountering mountain lions – they only wish coyotes were their main concern.  However, I believe in time, Rossmoor residents will adapt to their urban wildlife and we will see attacks diminish once new habits take root.

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Del Mar Learns From Costa Mesa; Cash for Dems

Former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams, one of those under investigation in the city’s pay scandals, applied for the vacant OC sheriff’s position two years ago and made it to the final 10 for an interview. Supe John Moorlach recalls Adams, then police chief of Glendale, as a “policeman’s policeman. To see his sudden and swift fall from grace is heart-rending. Like I often say, ‘Greed blinds’” …

KTLA News

Coyotes Kill 20 Pets in Rossmoor, Residents Fight Back

Residents say the coyotes have even attacked humans.

ROSSMOOR ( KTLA) — Residents in the Orange County community of Rossmoor are waging a war of sorts against coyotes, which they say have killed 20 pets and attacked at least one resident in recent months.

Resident Rebecca Lara says community members have formed the Rossmoor Predator Management Team to better educate the town about the attacks.

Rebecca Lara says 20 cats and dogs have been killed since May, with four of those deaths occurring in the past week.

According to Lara, the Conn family’s home on Martha Ann Drive is adjacent to a Cal Trans property where the coyotes have taken refuge. The Conn family’s cat was among the animals killed.

In August, a female resident was attacked by a coyote, according to Lara.

Lara says Cal Trans has refused to remove the coyotes and their dens off its property.

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Lara’s husband, David, told the OC Register that they’re looking for "an immediate, temporary fix."

"We’ll always have coyotes, we know that, but right now, it’s out of balance," he said.

The Rossmoor Predator Management Team holds meetings, passes out fliers and posts warning signs about the coyotes.

The group also reports attacks to government officials and agencies, including Supervisor John Moorlach and the Department of Fish and Game.

In order for an agency to act, there must be a declared risk to public safety, which has not yet happened.

FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACKS

October 14

2005

The Great Park board had just experienced a resignation.  The former board member was not amused with Larry Agran’s dominance and alleged improprieties.  Now Agran had a vacancy to fill before he planned on taking the board members on a tour of the globe to look at parks.  Consequently, I decided to have some fun with a Letter to the Editor submission to the OC Register, which it printed under the title “Tweak the master plan.”

                Now that the Great Park board has decided to hold off the selection of a master designer, it should have time to appoint a replacement for its vacant position.  There is no reason to delay this selection until next year.

                I would recommend that the board select someone who does not live in the city of Irvine and who is well-traveled, as the rest of Orange County needs representation, and saving money by skipping junkets to Spain and New York would be helpful.

                John M. W. Moorlach

                Costa Mesa

                O.C. treasurer-tax collector

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