By its inaction, Santa Monica is setting the stage for yet another round of squirrel killing in July. You may remember Lefty Ayers got paid maybe $26,000 for two rounds of squirrel killing in 2006. Well, the City has done nothing to prevent a new, horrendous baby season, so they will need to start killing again in July.
Here is the report sent to Council by Lamont Ewell, City Manager:
Squirrels Update (January 17, 07) - A Los Angeles County Public Health Dept official made a recent visit to Palisades Park and observed the same number of ground squirrels as he did after our last round of controls. This means the population has remained static, which is good news for us. Staff will be following up with the National Wildlife Research Center regarding partnering in Santa Monica next summer.
Mary Cummins, of Animal Advocates said:
“Of course the squirrel population remained static. It's winter. It's impossible to have more babies now. They only breed once a year. The population will triple after baby season, half male, half female. Females will have six each this year because they killed off so many last year, (meaning there is more space and natural food supply) so there will be three times as many squirrels after baby season.”
Effectively Santa Monica has done nothing since September to implement a non-lethal control plan before the Spring breeding season. June will come, Mike will come, the County will cite, Santa Monica will kill, squirrels will die--yet once again, the seventh time in a decade.
So why is Ewell waiting until summer?
Why has there been no RFP for non-lethal control before the baby season rather than after it?
There was the promise that a sterilization program was being worked up even as the killing was ending in September. I think Santa Monica has a very short period of time to act to prevent another expensive tragedy.