NEW CASTLE, N.Y. -- A New Castle homeowners association’s decision to set traps to catch coyotes has spurred a backlash from other residents who say the practice is inhumane and doesn’t solve the problem.
According to an online petition posted on the website www.gopetition.com that was circulated by the former chairwoman of a town coyote advisory committee, Victoria Alzapiedi, those who oppose the trapping believe it “will negatively impact the safety of their community and disrupt the balance of nature in their local ecosystem.”
The decision to set traps was made after a coyote or coyotes attacked two small dogs, killing one of them, in the town's Random Farms section, according to lohud.com.
The Katonah Management Group, which manages the housing development, and the association first approached the state Department of Environmental Conservation about a permit for the traps, lohud.com reported.
The petition said the state did not issue a permit, but referred the association to the U.S. Department of Agriculture “which now has a permit in place.”
Petitioners say trapping coyotes is inhumane because it is illegal in New York to relocate them and the captured animal has to be shot.
Trapping is “counterintuitive,” petitioners said, because it destabilizes the population and leads to “more breeding and more coyotes.”
It argued coyote pups could be orphaned and steel leg-hold traps can endanger other wildlife, not to mention pets and children.
The group plans to send the petition to Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY-17th District) and state Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester).
New Castle Town Supervisor Robert Greenstein, in a Facebook post, wrote coyotes are "here to stay and we must learn to co-exist with them.”
Greenstein referred residents to the town’s Coyote Response Plan, which, he said, has been praised by the Humane Society.
However, he said, in some cases the “safety risk to residents and pets may require a stronger response.”
Such decisions, Greenstein said, are up to the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
He encouraged residents to read the plan posted on the town’s website .
Free air horns, which can frighten off coyotes, can be obtained at the New Castle Police Department, the supervisor said.