Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Coyotes in Boston

It’s amazing how things work out sometimes. Yesterday, I posted a pro-hunting screed and I said, "Predators are still with us and their populations are increasing. I think it’s a good thing, but I wouldn’t want a coyote to get my cat or a neighbor’s child. Predators have a place, but not living among us.”

This morning, I’m driving to work and a morning radio-talk host is talking about a Boston Globe story on a coyote attack in Jamaica Plain. The host interviewed David Sherris who lost his dog when a coyote came into his well-lit backyard and killed his dog. Sherris approached the coyote causing it to drop his dog and run away (brave man).

For those of you not familiar with Boston, Jamaica Plain is actually near the city’s heart. It’s not far from the harbor, its inside Highway 128/I 95 (a crescent shaped freeway around Boston), and definitely an integral part of Greater Boston. It’s noted for wooded areas such as the Arboretum, Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Pond, etc. One of my co-workers lives in Jamaica Plain not far from Sherris’ back yard and today he’s concerned about his cats.

Massachusetts is an asinine state. Massachusetts considers coyotes a “protected species” and won't hunt a coyote down to kill him. State officials can “humanely” trap him, but they must relocate him to his natural habitat, that is they will actually send him back to Jamaica Plain. Boston’s head of animal control, James Cahill, states that, “'Someone's going to get hurt; it's inevitable…. It's out of our control. I hope it doesn't happen. Some little tyke is going to get bit some day.” Boston will be lucky if a kid is just bit and not made a coyote’s breakfast.

Based on my readings, predators see other creatures in one of three ways: food, threat, and unclassified. The more they’re around us humans and see that we aren’t a threat, the more they start to classify us as food. That’s going on right now. It’s only a matter of time before we read about a coyote killing a toddler. And, it’s not just a Boston problem. I’ve seen coyotes in northern suburbs on my way to work from New Hampshire.

What Massachusetts is not doing is they aren't reinforcing a predator's number one rule; hairless apes are not food. If we humans don’t reinforce that rule, we’ll lose first our pets, then our children, and then adults will be attacked.

Massachusetts needs to reassert human dominance over coyotes, but it's not known for common sense. If it had common sense it could use its gun licensing classes to train and authorize people to shoot coyotes and other predators in an urban environment safely. You don’t even have to kill a coyote; a load of #8 shot in his butt will discourage him.

If guns in cities aren’t their cup of tea, Massachusetts could loosen rules on self-defense sprays. A face full of bear-strength pepper spray will tell any coyote humans are dangerous. However, Massachusetts licenses sprays similarly to how they license firearms. Paintball markers are another possible way to discourage predators, but of course Massachusetts is averse to any weapon in civilian hands.

Instead of letting civilians defend ourselves and our families, Massachusetts wants us to rely on professionals; professional animal officers, professional police officers. None of whom will be there when you need them. State policies leave you impotently trying to scare a coyote away from your child and pets with a broom or less.

It’s not just state government’s fault, citizens won’t step up and do what’s necessary. They keep electing these state officials. They insist on anti-gun and anti self-defense laws. They don’t want to see poor coyotes killed; even Sherris said that during his radio interview. Well, I hope they’re not too surprised when they lose a child to a four-legged or two-legged predator. It’s just a matter to time.

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