Lawsuit Filed Against Mendocino County over Contract with Rogue Federal Predator Control Program

Posted on November 25, 2014

Wildlife Services Linked with Environmental Destruction, Indiscriminate Killing of Animals

For immediate release:

Megan Backus, ALDF
Amy Atwood, Center for Biological Diversity
Camilla Fox, Project Coyote
Kimiko Martinez, Natural Resources Defense Council
Amey Owen, Animal Welfare Institute

coyote-CC-Jethro-Taylor-article-image2Mendocino, Calif. — A coalition of animal protection and conservation groups and a local Mendocino resident filed a lawsuit against Mendocino County today in the Superior Court of California, County of Mendocino, for violating the California Environmental Quality Act. The lawsuit challenges the county’s failure to conduct the legally-required environmental review of its $142,356 taxpayer-funded contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Wildlife Services. The contract authorizes Wildlife Services, a highly-controversial federal program, to kill hundreds of animals in the county every year, including coyotes, bears, and foxes, without assessing the ecological impact or considering alternatives.

In July 2014, the coalition—including the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Center for Biological Diversity, Project Coyote, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Animal Welfare Institute—urged the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to terminate its contract with Wildlife Services and conduct the appropriate environmental review. Last year, in response to a letter from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors opted not to renew its contract with Wildlife Services. Nearly 15 years ago, Marin County replaced its Wildlife Services contract with a nonlethal predator control program that brought a 62 percent decrease in predation at one-third of the cost.

Each year, Wildlife Services indiscriminately traps and kills millions of animals—approximately 80,000 in California—on behalf of commercial agriculture. In 2013 alone, Wildlife Services killed 4 million wild animals. Since 2000, Wildlife Services has spent approximately 1 billion taxpayer dollars to kill 1 million coyotes and other predators nationwide—despite peer-reviewed research that shows that reckless slaughter of native predators causes broad ecological destruction. Indiscriminate methods used by Wildlife Services have also killed more than 50,000 “non-target” animals, including family pets, endangered condors, bald eagles, and millions of other birds. Studies show such mass killing negatively impacts the biodiversity of ecosystems. Though these numbers are staggering, former employees allege that Wildlife Services routinely underreports the number of animals killed and does not include indirect deaths, such as poisoning from the carcasses of animals that die from lethal sodium cyanide.

Wildlife Services has been the subject of increasing controversy in recent years. Russell Files, formerly of Arizona Wildlife Services, was charged with animal cruelty for intentionally maiming his neighbor’s dog with multiple steel-jaw leghold traps, and Jamie P. Olson, formerly of Wyoming Wildlife Services, posted pictures on social media of his hunting dogs mauling coyotes caught in steel-jaw leghold traps. More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Olson’s termination and an investigation into reports of animal cruelty by Wildlife Services employees. The program’s predator control activities are currently under investigation by the USDA’s Office of the Inspector General.

Copies of the complaint are available upon request.

15 thoughts on “Lawsuit Filed Against Mendocino County over Contract with Rogue Federal Predator Control Program

  1. Tracy Waldrep says:

    no animals should be killed for any reason! God knows what they have done! Judgement day is coming!

    1. Evelyn Chuter says:

      Yes, you right Tracy! And I would love to see their faces. Surprise Surprise!

  2. Wendy says:

    I lived in Mendocino for 10 years – loved living up in the mountains and enjoying the wildlife – I had no idea this was occurring – Good for you ALDF.

  3. vicki welfling says:

    their are certain people who get sexual gratification from inflicting torture on animals. they need to be rooted out. their next step could be kids, or even women that they can over power, or drug.

  4. Cindy Christians says:

    I Pray daily for strict Laws to be created and enforced to protect Animals from the cruelty of cruel human beings, You are an answer to my Prayer! Thank You for all that you do to help Animals! God Bless!

  5. Wildlfe have a right to live. We need to share the planet. Humans are animals too we call ourselves humans because we want to believe we are civilized but we are not.Killing wildlife is wrong. It is their habitat and humans need to stay away from animals habitat.

  6. rella halcro says:

    Humans are a deadly virus on this planet. We need to stop spreading into every dam place possible and learn to respect the other life here. We have no right to murder other animals when they are looking for food in their back yard.

  7. Evelyn Chuter says:

    This planet is big enough for humans and animal, big and small.

  8. Barbara M Kelly says:

    By all accounts, the Wildlife Services organization is out of control. It is a travesty that the employees of Wildlife Services apparently do not have respect for wildlife…getting a kick out of watching dogs maul a coyote is no better than attending and/or participating in illegal dog fighting…it is just plain wrong. This and other outrageous actions committed by Wildlife Services is not just a Mendocino problem; it is a cancer within that organization running rampant country wide.

    I think it is important that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to terminate its contract with Wildlife Services and conduct the appropriate environmental review as requested by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Center for Biological Diversity, Project Coyote, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Animal Welfare Institute. Please do not let this cancer continue to grow.

    Barbara M. Kelly

  9. This is so wrong. We should have open season on humans there are way to many.

  10. Maureen Allen says:

    What will it take to disband Wildlife “Services”! Their Rogue status has been established, their kill-stats made public, their relevance disproven. They’re nothing but hired death squads at the service of moneyed animal haters.

  11. Sallie says:

    i had no idea this was going on. I’m so against this killing. When will humans learn?

  12. The Wildlife Services are by design, a bunch of sociopaths managing Wildlife only by killing them. The whole department needs to be overhauled and held accountable for their corrupt, destructive killings of our animals held in their trust.

  13. Judy Frazier says:

    I am vehemently opposed to any federal taxmoney being used for the purpose of killing wildlife and the destruction of nature an d the ecosystem. The Federal Wildlife Service is supposed to be protecting the wildlife. If this isn’t the case what are they being paid to do destroy nature, the environment, and the ecisystem. The employees taking part in this plot should be terminated at once and that segment of Federal Wildlife Servuce be disbanded immediately.

  14. Charlotte says:

    Geez, not bad enough so many animal shelters are killing wonderful animals, I had no idea our wild animals are being murdered too. I’m now alerted and will follow the progress, thank you ALDF.

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