Scottsdale asked to deal with brazen animals - East Valley Tribune: News

Scottsdale asked to deal with brazen animals

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Posted: Thursday, September 4, 2003 12:14 pm | Updated: 1:36 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Scottsdale is being asked to take the lead in an effort to deal with increasingly brazen urban wildlife and the people who pamper the animals.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department wants the city to test an ordinance under which fines could be imposed on those who feed, harbor or otherwise let wildlife — especially predators — get too cozy in neigh- borhoods.

The department would use the Scottsdale ordinance as a model in hopes of persuading other Valley cities to consider similar measures, said spokesman Rory Aikens.

In recent years, cocky coyotes, javelina and other animals have become more aggressive around people, in large part because they are being intentionally or inadvertently fed in residential areas, Aikens said.

Wildlife managers need enforcement authority to stop the feeding, “because this is becoming a real health and safety issue,’’ Aikens said.

The coddled creatures get too greedy, reckless and dependent for their own

good, and the good of people whom the animals consider a food source, he said.

At least four youngsters have been attacked by coyotes in the Valley in the past six months. In each case, it has been in areas where residents have reported encountering coyotes that showed no fear of getting close to humans, Game and Fish officials said.

With animals roaming from the McDowell Mountains and surrounding open desert into nearby neighborhoods, northern Scottsdale has become a hot spot for wildlife nuisance complaints. Many residents lodging complaints blame neighbors who are feeding the critters, said Game and Fish urban wildlife specialist Joe Yarchin.

“When you talk to some of those people, they admit they feed the animals and they tell you it’s not against the law and they’re just going to continue to do it,’’ Yarchin said.

“Some do it out of the kindness of their hearts. But they don’t realize they might be loving these animals to death, especially the predators, because they come to look to people for food,’’ he said.

It’s long been a problem in Scottsdale’s greenbelt areas, where wildlife has golf courses, open space and canal banks for access to neighborhoods, said resident Tom Donnell.

Coyotes killed one of Donnell’s cats and attacked two of his dogs. He hired a professional trapper this year to capture four coyotes and release them in the wilderness. “They’ll be back,” Donnell said. “They have people feeding them.”

The city is ‘‘ready and willing’’ to aid Game and Fish’s public education effort, but a wildlife feeding ban is a difficult proposition, said Jeff Kulaga, spokesman for Mayor Mary Manross.

“We know there’s a problem . . . But how do you enforce keeping people from putting food outside for their pets?’’ he said.

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