Coyotes, Cats and Crisis in Carlson Park

The community meeting called for August 28, 2018 about the coyote problem had two crucial take-aways; if you see or know of a coyote attack, call Culver City Animal Control and report all the information you have. If you get Los Angeles Animal Control you still need to call back and make sure Culver City gets the information. Secondly, if you want to hire a trapper to set traps on your own property, you can legally do that.

The sudden influx of coyotes to the Carlson Park neighborhood has been devastating. Neighbors there count 50 cats lost as prey to the hungry coyotes. For those who have lost pets, witnessed attacks and struggled to come to solutions, the last three months have been brutal. Keeping cats indoors who don’t want to stay in, sleeping with one ear open and one foot on the floor to defend against the nocturnal coyotes, and cleaning up the remains of domestic and feral cats have left many residents both frustrated and frantic.

The community meeting, which attendees criticized as poorly promoted, had more than a hundred Culver City residents in attendance. Organized by the Culver City Police and led by Chief Scott Bixby, the meeting was also attended by Mayor Thomas Small and City Manager John Nachbar. Nachbar noted that outreach had been done on multiple social media platforms, and via robocall. “We are doing our best, and we will try to do better.”

The podium was open for people to speak, and several who had spoken at the city council meeting the night before also addressed the panel to talk about their experiences and plead for support and solutions.

The Animal Control Officer Corolla Flieger made a presentation on coyote issues and how the city was handling them, and was interrupted repeatedly by members of the audience.

While assurances from officials that there was a plan in place and it had worked in previous years in Culver Crest, the bereaved pet owners were not satisfied. Almost constant talk-back from the crowd made it a challenge for those on the panel, and repeated pleas from Lt. Troy Dunlap to wait for a turn to speak so that concerns could be addressed wore thin over the more than three hour meeting.

Linda Lockhard cited scientific evidence that ‘We are now in a red [alert] zone with this problem. These are urbanized animals that have no fear of humans, and trying to scare them away isn’t going to help.”

Reports of coyote problems from Rancho Higuera all the way to Sunkist Park made it clear that this problem was spreading.

The city’s current plan is available on the city website at www.culvercity.org/home/showdocument?id=15568

Judith Martin-Straw

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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