Always striving to own the libs, the veteran Pioneer Press fist-shaker debuted some dazzling mental gymnastics in his latest column, headlined "Keep the coyotes out of St. Paul. It’s that simple."
Souch sets the table by introducing Molly Lunaris, a St. Paul animal control officer he heard being interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio. He wonders aloud if Lunaris has children (she did not return his call to confirm, he notes); he takes a pot-shot at bureaucrats; and then he digs his teeth into a quote she offered via MPR:
"I think it speaks well of our city that wild animals choose to live here," Lunaris said when asked about an uptick in coyote sightings around St. Paul. "It speaks to the care we’ve put into our environment that it’s a welcoming place for a multitude of species."
By Soucheray's garage logic, this lovey-dovey approach is emblematic of modern, pro-coyote liberal orthodoxy. "Much of the public class is so thoroughly indoctrinated in the theology of diversity that they have crossed the aisle and now include, apparently, coyotes as an example of their welcoming spirit," he charges, taking multiple opportunities to infantilize and mock Lunaris.
Mostly, though, Soucheray seems genuinely distraught at the idea of bloodthirsty coyotes roving St. Paul streets. He's often tasked with looking after a 2-year-old, you see, and the thought of a coyote attacking that child strikes fear into his heart. "Given half a chance," he writes, "[coyotes] would tear a 2-year-old child apart." That's why he wanted to ask the very normal and professional question about children to Lunaris, whose "unrealistic grasp of reality" threatens toddlers throughout the capital city, Soucheray reasons.
Don't worry: He has the cursory Wikipedia research to back all this up. We're then presented two examples of coyotes attacking humans—one from 1981, one from this past April—and an epic conclusion: A hellish trifecta of lefty welcomeness, delicious food, and leashed dogs have brought this coyote scourge upon St. Paul. To close, Soucheray wistfully remembers the days of unleashed dogs, back when things made sense and "deceitful" coyotes knew their place.
Soucheray admits that incidents of coyotes attacking humans are "not routine," but "rare" is more accurate. We asked the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for more info, and they steered us toward research from the Urban Coyote Research Project, which documented 142 cases between 1985 and 2006. By contrast, dogs attacked 6,244 postal workers—last year alone.
DNR spokesman Harland Hiemstra urged caution when dealing with any wild animal, though he downplayed the threat coyotes pose to humans. "I wouldn’t presume to tell anyone what to be concerned about, but a person is much more likely to be bit by a loose dog than by a coyote," he explained via email, adding that, historically, the DNR is aware of just one incident where a coyote may have bitten someone in Minnesota. Coyotes do "occasionally" attack cats and small dogs, however.
When asked specifically about Soucheray's urban coyote fear-mongering, Hiemstra played it cool:
"I don’t think we are interested in debating anything with Joe Soucheray. What would be the point?"
Words to live by.
Click here for more information on urban coyotes in Minnesota.
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