To the editor:
To the Portsmouth residents who think the new ordinance regarding coyotes and that not feeding other wildlife to solve the problem will keep them safe should take a closer look.
Native to the island for years are humans, domesticated cats, dogs and small animals. Not coyotes. The first one “spotted” was shot in Warren, R.I., in 1969. The residents are being told to keep small animals in; to not feed outdoors any “wild” animals including birds and any food outside must be picked up within 30 minutes of eating to deter coyotes.
It is proven that doing this will help in reducing the coyote population in time. But let’s wait a minute. Until this comes about and the population now is still high, we will still have the coyotes looking for food regardless whether it is a small child, a small pet (cat or dog) or trash receptacles.
Also when animals are starving they understandably become much bolder than ever. We are being told to change our ways to accommodate the coyotes but there will always be those who will continue to feed the coyotes thinking they are helping them from starving. It is very hard for most decent people to watch animals starve due to lack of food. I might add that this decrease in population may take years to accomplish if I understand correctly.
My solution is that we should have a trap, spay or neuter program established to make sure the population does reduce and in a timely manner. TNR is a wonderful, effective program. I don’t believe in killing to curb the population as it does not effectively control and it just contains for a set amount of time then starts all over again.
Research the “vacuum effect” on using killing as control. A lot of money was and is being spent on research of coyotes — following with collars, documenting packs etc.— to learn about coyote habitat. Why not a TNR program which can be done at no cost to the lives of these animals. I truly believe this type of program will work because, unlike TNR for cats, humans are not allowed to have coyotes as pets so you don’t have to worry about humans adopting an animal (cat or dog), not getting it altered and letting it free outside to reproduce as with the cat problem we trying to solve. It will be money well spent and we all can coexist together.
Name withheld by request