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Belvedere to hold off on plan to shoot coyotes with paintballs

Belvedere has tabled a proposed pilot program to use paintball guns to identify and mark aggressive coyotes, with councilmembers saying the program has practical limitations and wouldn’t be effective in addressing the problem.

The council instead wants to hold a community informational meeting with wildlife experts to discuss best tactics for dealing with the animals. That forum is tentatively set for January.

Councilmembers at their Dec. 12 meeting did tell city staff to continue fine-tuning the paintball proposal and left the door open to considering it in the future.

The pilot program put forth by the Police Department would have given officers permission to fire .68-caliber, brightly colored water-soluble paintball rounds to assist the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Marin Humane in identifying aggressive coyotes.

However, resident Bill Rothman and Councilmember Nancy Kemnitzer both expressed skepticism the program would work, noting that coyotes may leave the area before officers can arrive to deploy the paintball rounds.

“Is a coyote going to stand around long enough for the policeman to come with the paint gun? It’s obvious that they’re not,” Rothman said.

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