Mendocino County Renews Controversial Contract with Wildlife-Killing Program

Posted on June 17, 2015

County Will Pay Wildlife Services to Kill Millions of Wild Animals Each Year

For immediate release:

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

bobcat-cc-ucumari-photography-article-image-220pxMendocino, Calif. — Yesterday, despite nearly a year of pressure from a coalition of public interest groups, Mendocino County officials ignored opportunities to find non-lethal—and cheaper—methods of wildlife management instead renewed its contract with Wildlife Services. The previous $142,356 contract authorized Wildlife Services to kill hundreds of coyotes, as well as bears, bobcats, foxes and other animals in the county every year, without assessing the ecological damage or considering alternatives. To renew this contract, County officials approved two resolutions. The first allows for the employment of a trapper by Wildlife Services by creating an exemption from environmental review as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The second gives the county agricultural commissioner authority to fund the federal killing program through July 2016.

In July of 2014, a coalition of public interest groups began putting pressure on Mendocino County officials to suspend renewal of the county’s 2016 contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) wildlife-killing program known as Wildlife Services. The county largely ignored the coalition’s attempt to resolve their complaints out of court, so in November 2014, the coalition sued Mendocino County for violating CEQA. In the settlement, the county agreed to consider nonlethal predator control methods and comply with CEQA.

Last night, after a hearing on the controversial program, Mendocino County officials have decided to renew the contract with Wildlife Services, thus spending taxpayer dollars on harmful, ineffective methods of wildlife control. Despite the success of nonlethal control methods used by other counties, Mendocino officials will pay for services from an agency with a long track record of problematic treatment of animals. One Wildlife Services employee was charged with animal cruelty for intentionally maiming his neighbor’s dog with a steel-jaw leghold trap. Another employee posted pictures on social media of his hunting dogs mauling coyotes caught in traps. More than 120,000 people signed an online petition demanding this employee’s termination and an investigation into reports of animal cruelty by other Wildlife Services employees. The program is currently under investigation by the USDA’s Office of the Inspector General.

The coalition includes Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Welfare Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Project Coyote.


14 thoughts on “Mendocino County Renews Controversial Contract with Wildlife-Killing Program

  1. Sheila Keller says:

    This news is absolutely mind-blowing. We are taking habitat away from wildlife, must we kill them as well? It is not right. It is not ethical or moral or kind to another living being. I’m not a vegetarian or a PETA member, either. I just think that the indiscriminate killing of these beautiful animals is WRONG.

  2. Carmen Miranda says:

    These animals have the right to live.

  3. klara lipton says:

    How is this allowed? It has to be stopped.

    1. Lani says:

      Most be stopped immediately.

  4. Liana Alecu says:

    Why this mad, cruel war on wildlife?Who are we to take the lives of other creatures?

    1. Lani says:

      I second your motion. Lani – San Diego County resident.

  5. Kim Harris says:

    Ecosystem. What are we thinking? Playing God, and destroying the earth and all it’s living beings? Leave the wild animals alone!!! Remember, we’re living in their front yard. They belong here, just as much as we do. karma “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” –Gandhi

  6. Lisa says:

    This is super sad and disheartening. Too many lack compassion and empathy for other living things. Just because animals don’t speak our language and are not given luxuries as humans does not give us permission to hurt or kill them. If better management methods are more expensive and that’s more important than making the right choice than shame on whoever is making these decisions. Be the change you wish to see happen and treat others the way you would hope to be treated.

  7. Leave our wildlife alone

    1. Lani says:

      ABSOLUTELY. Keep your frustrations to humane issue and leave the animals alone.

  8. Lani says:

    Feel free to email me in support of the domestic and wild kingdom of Earth.

    1. Lani says:

      Thought my email appeared and does not, so here it is:

  9. anon says:

    I just wish that new laws would be enforced to put corrupt politicians in jail for life if they just ignore the people .

  10. Jasmine Vaught says:

    This is so wrong. Who in gods name can give the right to kill our wildlife? These animals do NOT belong to a bunch of irate politicians. They are part of our state, the citizens who pay taxes to to the State of CA. NOT to go out and kill its natural wildlife. Do these people have a god? Or a heart for that matter! I’m sick to death of having a bunch of killers be in charge of our cities, states, and our nation.

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