NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a controversy brewing over coyotes at LaGuardia Airport, pitting animal rights activists against the Port Authority.
Every night since June, animal activist Frank Vincenti has waited hours into the night outside the airport employee parking lot on Berrian Boulevard trying to save a family of coyotes.
“I would just conveniently chase them to those points and have them go through the fence and go into the woods so they were out of public view,” he told CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco.
It started as a pack of eleven coyotes, but now it’s down to just three pups. Cell phone video shows some of the survivors playing near the parking lot.
Vincenti says the others have been caught and euthanized by the US Department of Agriculture.
“I don’t know how much longer they got,” he said. “The people are pretty determined to kill them.”
In a statement sent to CBS2, a Port Authority spokesperson said “public safety comes first.”
“There have been multiple reports this week of coyotes threatening airport and Port Authority workers at an airport parking lot,” the statement continued.
Rose Ortega is an airport employee shuttle driver. She says the Port Authority’s claims simply aren’t true.
“The animals are roaming around like any other animal would,” she said. “They don’t even acknowledge you, they’ll pass by you, they don’t even acknowledge you.”
The Port Authority says they’re working closely with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
“If there is an appropriate sanctuary, we would work with DEC officials to relocate the coyotes,” they said.
Both Vincenti and Ortega say the coyotes are simply being killed.
“To me that’s cruelty,” Ortega said. “I understand they’re wildlife, they’re wild, whatever. But it’s not the way to handle things. They should have been re-located.”
Vincenti says he’s found a coyote sanctuary that will take the animals, but the Port Authority has yet to take him up on that offer.
A coyote expert tells CBS2 the pack most likely came from the Bronx.