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Belvedere approves response plan for encounters with coyotes

Belvedere has approved a comprehensive coyote-response plan that emphasizes monitoring, education, prevention, reporting and measured city action — embracing the advice of wildlife experts to accept the presence of coyotes over local calls for eradication.

The plan, unanimously approved by the City Council at its June 13 meeting, states it’s “based on prioritizing public safety while balancing respect for wildlife.” It was drafted by a council task force with consultant Rebecca Dmytryk, CEO of Humane Wildlife Control in Moss Landing, who spent part of April studying coyote activity in the city.

The response plan is the latest component of Belvedere’s larger coyote-awareness initiative amid some 73 reports of sightings between October and February, which included fatal attacks on pets. Reports have since slowed to a trickle, but residents had begun calling for trapping, relocation and lethal measures — including hiring sharpshooters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services — in letters to the city, at public meetings and on social media. However, state and local wildlife scientists said those methods are ineffective and mostly illegal in California.

The adopted plan largely incorporates efforts the city began rolling out in response to the sightings, including issuing free “hazing” kits to scare off the animals, establishing a reporting hotline, sending letters to residents and creating a dedicated website that includes an online reporting form, a yard audit and deterrent checklist and other resources. That site now includes the new response plan and Dmytryk’s guide to humane hazing.

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