Fairfield expected to allow trapping in effort to address coyote problem

Credit: David McNew

Credit: David McNew

Fairfield’s coyote management plan has been several months in the making, and it’s expected to take more time before it’s adopted.

However, in two weeks, the city is expected to update a 65-year law and allow trapping, specifically the use of “cage-type live traps,” for the control of nuisance animals. This is the first piece of legislation the city is changing to address its growing coyote problem, which is not exclusive to the city.

Mayor Mitch Rhodus said as the city’s law stands now, trapping is not allowed within the limits of Fairfield, but this update says if someone is licensed to trap within Butler County or the state of Ohio, then they would be licensed in the city of Fairfield.

This change in the law will be the first step in the city’s attempt to address coyotes in Fairfield. Vice Mayor Tim Meyers said there needs to be a balanced approach between the city and the residents in addressing this problem not unique to Fairfield. Coyotes are problems in every city across the state and country.

Though action wasn’t taken Monday on the management plan, residents raised concerns with the draft plan. Before any coyote management plan is adopted ― and the city has a draft management plan online ― Meyers said wants to explore a few items brought up after Monday’s residential discussion during City Council’s meeting.

Specifically, Meyers was interested in ironing out some of the process questions, such as what does a resident do when they see a coyote or witnesses an attack. He also likes the idea of creating a citizens’ task force that will be able to amend the coyote management plan as needed in the future.

Coyotes have been a problem for many communities for decades. They had natively roamed around the plains and southwestern deserts in North America, but ecosystem changes over the past century-plus have caused the pieces to migrate to more sustainable food sources.

Relocating coyotes is not allowed, and so when a coyote is trapped, which is recommended be done by professionals, it must be euthanized. But killing a coyote will only open a community up for more coyotes, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Humane Society of the United States.

John Conyers, of Monica Drive, said from his experience killing a coyote is akin to cutting off the head of a hydra: remove one and more will take its place.

“So if you think it’s bad now, (by killing them), it will only get worse,” he said, adding that these are a creature of nature and it is a problem created by man, “and it’s got to be solved by man.”

“Shoot or poison coyotes, and you will have just as many again within a year or two,” according to the Human Society of the United States. “Kill one or both members of the alpha pair — the only one that normally reproduces — and other pairs will form and reproduce. At the same time, lone coyotes will move in to mate, young coyotes will start having offspring sooner, and litter sizes will grow.”

Harassment and hazing of the coyotes is the answer, according to animal control experts.

But that’s not good enough for some residents, as they’ve had pets killed, and some have seen the remains left of their beloved member of their family.

Mike Baynes, of Gloucester Drive, said he gets that they’re wildlife, “but it just seems like it’s just way out of whack” and is tired of the coyotes running the streets of Fairfield.

“I really don’t give a damn about the constituents that have an opposing view,” he said. “This is a safety issue. These aren’t bunny rabbits. And unless you’ve been involved, or if these people don’t have pets, or they’ve never seen an attack, they may feel different.”

Bob Herbs, of Glenna Drive, said he lost five pets last year, saying the city’s coyote problem “isn’t funny anymore,” and will shoot a coyote, which city officials say is only permitted if the person feels endangered for their safety.

“If I got to go to jail, I’ll go to jail,” he said, “but I’ll get me a coyote.”

About the Author