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Humane Society of the United States weighs in on Salina coyote controversy

— The town of Salina will again take up the issue of coyotes at its regular board meeting Monday, May 14, when the town board holds a public hearing to determine if the town should relax its firearms controls to allow wildlife control agents to shoot the animals in the Scottsdale Farms tracts near Donlin Drive.

Now, the Humane Society of the United States has something to say on the issue.

The agency issued the following press release Monday:

"The Humane Society of the United States is encouraging the town board of Salina, N.Y. to adopt a humane program for managing conflicts with coyotes, rather than resorting to ineffective, lethal measures. Due to reports of coyote sightings and a coyote taking an unattended, domestic cat earlier this year, the town board is considering hiring a private contractor to kill coyotes. The board will make its decision at a May 14 hearing.

"The HSUS has offered to assist in the design and implementation of a humane program for solving coyote conflicts, but the town board has not responded. The most effective techniques for resolving coyote conflicts are educating the public on ways to avoid conflicts with coyotes, such as keeping cats indoors, not letting dogs outside unattended, managing trash and other food items that attract coyotes, and “hazing” coyotes who have lost their fear of humans. Hazing involves the systematic use of deterrents such as noisemakers, projectiles and water hoses.

"'Public education and coyote hazing are not only more humane solutions for resolving coyote conflicts, but they are also more effective and longer-lasting,' wrote Lynsey White Dasher, urban wildlife specialist for The HSUS, in a letter to town supervisor Mark Nicotra.

"Killing coyotes doesn’t work because vacated territories are quickly filled by new coyotes. Hazing, however, teaches coyotes what behaviors are not acceptable. This has a ripple effect as young coyotes learn from their parents what is safe or not safe to do.

"The HSUS holds trainings for animal control and police officers in coyote hazing techniques and has helped communities across the country reduce conflicts with coyotes.

"For tips on how you can prevent coyote conflicts and protect your pets, visit humanesociety.org/animals/coyotes/."

The public hearing takes place at 6:29 p.m. Monday, May 14 at Salina Town Hall.

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