County Punts Coyote Plan for 90 Days
City will take that time to present county with alternatives to Texas Wildlife Services
Travis County Commissioners had anticipated voting Tuesday on whether to renew an annual contract with the controversial Texas Wildlife Services for managing nuisance wildlife outside Austin's city limits, but instead opted for a temporary 90-day extension so that the city, which ended its agreement with TWS last year, can submit an alternative proposal for providing countywide services that address wild animals, particularly coyotes. Members of the Animal Advisory Commission believe the city's program to be more humane, effective, and transparent than the methods employed by TWS, while the state branch of this federal agency touted its own accountability and success handling coyotes and other animals that may harm livestock, pets, and private businesses. South Austin resident Michael Fossum, who for several years has spoken at local meetings in favor of TWS, tried to demonstrate the agency's sense of humanity by sticking his hand in a rubber-lined foothold trap and showing photos of people who he said had been attacked by coyotes in Colorado, leading Nancy Nemer of the AAC to note that TWS uses more powerful traps and that Central Texas has a much less aggressive coyote subspecies than that found in Colorado. The court plans to spend the 90-day period hearing from independent scientists, and comparing specifics of the TWS program with the one the city will propose.