LA to control coyotes with paintball guns, beanbags


Mar 11, 2001
Reaction score
LA to wage paintball war on urban coyotes

Los Angeles Daily News

May 31, 2002

LOS ANGELES -- The city's new animal control chief plans to escalate the city's fight against coyotes invading residential areas by marking them with paint balls, pelting them with beanbags and, as a last resort, setting traps for them.

In taking a more aggressive approach in responding to a growing number of coyote complaints, Jerry Greenwalt expects to find himself at odds with animal-rights advocates who for years have persuaded the Animal Regulation Commission not to trap or kill the animals when they become an intractable problem for homeowners.

"The difference is, I'm going to take some action. I'm going to send some officers out to assist the residents," said Greenwalt, who took over six months ago as director of the newly renamed Department of Animal Services.

Greenwalt's proposed policy would not result in wholesale trapping, he said, but instead would be a way to deal with coyotes that continue to harass residents after other preventive measures have failed.

The five-member commission previously has voted down trapping for all but injured or sick animals, but only one trapping opponent -- Kathleen Riordan, the daughter of former Mayor Richard Riordan -- remains on the panel.

Mayor James Hahn has appointed two new members to the commission -- Helen Ann Johnson and PETCO Foundation Director Paul Jolly -- and has two other vacancies yet to fill.

The three commission members are scheduled to consider Greenwalt's proposal on June 10. None of the three returned phone calls.

However, Greenwalt's plan already has been greeted with suspicion by Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Los Angeles.

"We have to watch it to see what they're really going to do," said Bernstein, who has fought previous attempts to trap coyotes that encroach upon residential neighborhoods. "It sounds like they're trying to worm into the exception."

But Greenwalt cites an uptick in complaints from residents, as well as concerns by City Council members including Hal Bernson, whose Northwest Valley district has a wealth of subdivisions colliding with wilderness.

"I'm totally in favor of trapping," Bernson said. "I think that it's gotten worse and worse. Too many family pets have been lost, and now we've had incidents of coyotes attacking humans -- because they're not afraid of humans."

Attacks on humans are uncommon, and none has been reported in the city recently, Greenwalt said. But the recent drought seems to be driving coyotes to seek water and food in people's back yards, he said.

Under Greenwalt's plan, city residents who call about a coyote problem would first get a visit from animal control officers, who would survey the area for conditions that attract coyotes: for example, water left outdoors for pets or garbage cans left in the open.

After a second complaint to the department, one of its two wildlife specialists would be dispatched to the home to ensure that the coyote-deterring measures had been taken and to investigate further.

After identifying the offending animal through sightings, tracks, nearby dens and scent markings, the officer would further deterrents -- "i.e., the use of paint ball and bean bag deployment," according to the written policy recommendation.

Bean bags could be lobbed at the coyotes to scare them away from a property, and paint-ball guns could be used to mark the coyotes to determine which animals were repeatedly disturbing homes, said department spokeswoman Jackie David.

Greenwalt said ideas for using paint balls and beanbags came from community meetings and are still being mulled over by the department's wildlife experts.

The proposal is part of Greenwalt's effort to change the agency from one that simply picks up stray dogs and cats to "a department that's providing service to the community," as he words it.

But Berstein said that people who live near coyote habitat simply need to learn to live with the animals and that Greenwalt's job should end at informing them of that fact.

"It's a very bad attitude to say (you) want to move away from the city into a house with some acreage and hills and say (you) want to kill every animal on the hill because (animals) interfere with (your) yard," Bernstein said.

Coyotes have a function in the web of life, she added, and should be not be interfered with because residents complain that the coyotes are disturbing their avocado trees.

"It's just plain arrogant, and he shouldn't be responding to that."


Well-known member
Sep 5, 2001
Reaction score
Paintballs?  Oh that will work wonders.  If these things can live with three legs, in a residential neighborhood, eating garbage and whatever else they can find while dodging cars... I doubt a little paintball is going to ruin their day.  

I can't wait to shoot a blue coyote.


Well-known member
Nov 25, 2001
Reaction score
Yeah, right!  And they are gonna "lob" some bean bags at them too. That should make for an interesting game.

Play fair.

Latest Posts


Top Bottom