A lawsuit from an animal rights group has shut down an effective trapping program in Mendocino County.
In late April 2016 city government officials of Mendocino County, California made the decision to end a government trapping program due to a lawsuit filed by several animal rights groups.
This trapping program had allowed the county to remove thousands of unwanted pests and predators from the community for a period of nearly 30 years. On the list of top targets were coyotes, wild dogs, bobcats, and other pest creatures.
When the county released their decision to the public, they informed citizens they would suspend their trapping efforts to analyze the impact of the program on non-target species. The program cost the county roughly $144,000 a year to run operate.
The county’s decision is the latest step in a saga that has played out over the past few years. In 2014 the same groups filed lawsuits against the county over the program and the government agreed to do an environmental study. Shortly after though, the county determined it was exempt from a California law that broadly regulates public entities when performing discretionary environmental projects. With that move, the animal rights groups regrouped and have made this most recent push to end trapping.
Like many animal rights groups the group wants to end what it sees as animal cruelty.
The city says the trapping program will be only temporarily suspended due to an urgent need for such a program. Officials indicate the non-lethal methods of predator control supported by the group are not effective at deterring predators. In a county that has a strong agricultural economy, the ban on trapping will no doubt impact ranchers in a big way.
Dan Hamburg,the supervisor of the trapping program, has weighed in on the subject. “I’m an animal lover,” he said. “I still think we need a “trapping” program in Mendocino County.”