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Griffith Park users outraged by shooting of 7 coyotes


The howls echoing through Griffith Park today are coming from joggers, parents and nannies -- not coyotes. Park visitors are angry with wildlife officials' decision to trap and shoot coyotes in the 4,210-acre mountain park.

Trackers were called in to trap and shoot the animals after two people reported being bitten by coyotes in the park within the last month. Seven coyotes have been killed so far.

“I feel it’s a bit extreme,” said Julie Dusevoir of Valley Village, who was near the park’s merry-go-round with her son Max, 2.

In fact, most humans at the park today are on the coyotes' side.

“I’m strictly opposed to killing them,” said Dimitrios Gatsiounis, a Los Feliz resident who regularly brings his three children -- all under 5 -- to the park to play.

Hikers, joggers, bicyclists and even nannies with young children in tow said there needs to be a better way to deal with coyotes than shooting them.

In the most recent reported encounter, a man who was lying down near the Travel Town area Wednesday night reported waking up to find a coyote biting his foot, said Kevin Brennan, a wildlife biologist for the California Department of Fish and Game.  The man was not seriously injured, Brennan said.

The trappers were sent in by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, whose policy is to capture and kill coyotes only if there's an imminent threat to public safety.

But because authorities learned of the attacks too late to swab the victims for coyote DNA, they will never know if they nabbed the biter.

-- Bob Pool in Griffith Park

Photo: A jogger starts up the skyline trail Monday morning in Griffith Park. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (39)

What's the difference between killing them with a gunshot and killing them through nonstop encroachment on their habitat?

Who cares? Coyotes have reproduced and run rampant through the Western United States for two decades now and are way over-populated as a result...they also kill small dogs, cats and are quite the nussance if you live next to them (constant howling at night...just like in the old west movies...sounds cool, beleive me it isn't when its a Tuesday at 3am).

I think people are to blame for the actions of wildlife officials were forced to take. You cannot have people feeding the coyotes or park departments leaving the days trash out over night in unsecured cans. Coyotes loose the fear of humans and then you get negative results such as people/kids getting bit. Better refuse collection and people not feeding would result in little interaction between coyotes and people. If wildlife officials did not take action you would have the third person suing for allowing a known problem to continue, they are in a catch 22.

The remaining coyotes should be rounded up and handed to all those Griffith Park patrons who were outraged by the shooting. Those patrons should take the remaining coyotes home with them so that other patrons will be safe from further attacks.

Maybe this guy shouldn't have been sleeping near Travel Town! If you go to a wildlife area, fell asleep, and wake up with an animal trying to eat you it's your fault for not being aware. It doesn't sound like coyotes are any more dangerous now than they were in the past, and shooting 7 of them at random seems like a major overreaction.

Yeah and if you get bit somebody's dog in the park nobody does anything. I'd like to know the statistics on pets biting people and wild animals. I got a feeling that the pets on average are more dangerous than the coyotes. Leave 'em alone.

Notice that all of the media attention to this issue largely avoids the elephant in the room, which is... that if there weren't transients sleeping in the park, there would be NO reports of attacks. Transients are a greater threat to the community at large, not the coyotes!

I can't believe there isn't a bigger uproar. This is outrageous.

The coyotes were there first.

Coyotes don't normally attack humans, do they? I'm not a wildlife expert by any means(HOWEVER I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night), but I'm thinking the same rabid coyote attacked both people and the rangers killed six innocent bystanders. Just seems strange that they never attack humans and all of a sudden there's two in a week!

Now, if we could just to the same to the bangers.


I cannot believe that these poor innocent coyotes were shot and killed for no reason!! All the coyote did was nibble on the man's foot as if he was telling him to wake up and feed him.I just heard the whole story on the news with the city councilman speaking. That is injust for them to kill the coyotes. We have to speak up abouit this!! Mankind has taken over their territory.We are VISTORS to the park.The coyotes and wildlife live there. It is THEIR HOME and NOT our home. People should have more respect for wildlife. I jog there every day and have NEVER seen a coyote become aggressive with anyone.As a matter of fact, a woman was walking her tiny dog without a leash and I told her to watch out for predatory animals and she told me she always sees the coyotes and they leave her dog alone as she notices they get pleny of food from the picnic areas and nearby trash cans. The vistors of that park know the coyotes as if they were their own pets.They are "friends" to the visitors.They would never purposely injure anyone.This news this morning made me sick!

Griffith Park is the coyote's natural habitat, and visitors should be cautioned about possible encounters. I don't agree with killing them. This type of practice doesn't happen in national forests, and I don't feel it should happen in Griffith Park either.

I'm surprised they didn't taser them several times.

Outraged? I live one block from the park. I see coyotes on the streets around here all the time.. I've also seen them in the park many times. One time I saw one just standing by the side of the road while cars stopped and took pictures. I've also seen them just strolling around the park, oblivious to the humans. These "outraged" people would be more outraged if one of their pets or small children got attacked. Do your part when you see a coyote. keep them afraid of humans. Clap your hands, run after them etc. I am not outraged by this.

The coyotes have become habituated to humans and aren't scared of approaching us. Their numbers need to be reduced. I don't object to killing rats, and coyotes are no different - disease vectors with no predators who have learned to thrive in our habitat.

For years, I lived in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts and coyotes were always around. They were normally quite shy and would run from humans. Of course, small pets may be taken but nothing large. Are the Griffith Park coyotes now going to be checked for rabies? It just doesn't seem "normal".

thats horrible, we humans are in their territory, killing them is unacceptable. they are part of what the park is there for, to be close to nature.

I have one encounter with one of cayote in the parking lot of merry go round. I actually watch my 7 yr. old kids go up to the parking lot, when he reached our car, he told me to open the door because there is a dog approaching him. When I look at the animal it was a cayote, I have to shout to the cayote to stop approaching my son. I did not know before that there was a cayote in the park. Since then I never return with my son in the area. I said, forget about merry go round ride with the present of the cayote in the area, it just does not sounds right. Cayote on that area was wild than the high desert area, they will attack you because they're been atttacked by the residents in the area. Whoever want to relax with the cayote should just go to the zoo down the road. Thanks for making the area safe USDA....

As a frequent user of Griffith Park, I am saddened to hear of the shooting of coyotes. As silly as this may sound, I am always happy to see them, to share their land and territory, and to be a guest in their home. We must be mindful of nature and the risks that exist in using it for our recreation. This is not a proper solution to this problem...which really is not a problem...it is the natural course of events when sharing space with nature that we have made desirable for human use.

Wait.... What don't kill the coyote umm yeaaaaaaahhhh lets just wait 2 it kills little billy or susie sheesh....

Being a homeowner near wild space and having lost a beloved cat to coyotes is totally different than a non specific animal lover and park visitor. Frankly given my experience with the authorities on this it surly took an 'act of congress' to get this small action.

Please remember that in a natural environment there would be a check and balance system keeping this population in check. Griffith Park is far from what is the true wild space.

Ah, yes. Let's kill them. Typical asinine solution by an ignorant governmental agency. I have swerved off the highway to miss hitting a coyote. They have a tough, tough life. So, along comes Fish and Game executioners to save the day. Shame on them!!!

I find the killing of the Coyotes morally wrong.
I mean it's unfortunate that people get bit or dogs disappear,but it needs to be kept in mind,when people do go to Griffith Park,one needs to be vigilant in acting and if they bring their pets and children,they need to look after them.

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