Coyote sightings leave Toronto residents shaken
Monday, May 14, 2018, 5:42 PM - Coyote sightings in Etobicoke, Ontario have left many people nervous to bring their pets outside.
Stephen Holyday, city counsellor for Etobicoke, said that the city has been receiving more coyote calls than usual this year. Residents are describing the coyotes as “bold”, saying they are unafraid to approach people walking their dogs.
“Bold” coyotes are the result of being fed by humans. “Coyotes tend to interact with people when they become used to them and many times that indicates that there’s some activity going on where somebody is providing food,” Holyday told Global News. This can cause coyotes to become dependent on finding food in urban areas, and they may begin approaching people for food.
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Fortunately, coyotes don’t pose a major threat to humans. According to the Humane Society, more people are killed by “golf balls and flying champagne corks” per year than are bitten by coyotes. In most instances of coyotes attacking humans, the human in question was feeding the coyote or trying to rescue a free-roaming pet. There have only been two recorded cases of humans being killed by coyotes: one in California in 1980 and one in Nova Scotia in 2009.
The City of Toronto lists several ways to scare off a coyote should you find yourself near one, either while walking a pet or alone.
- Be Big: Stand up and raise your arms over your head to appear large and threatening.
- Be Loud: Stomp your feet, clap your hands, yell or blow a whistle.
- Be Threatening: Throw something in the direction of the coyote, like a stick or a small rock. Not to injure, but to show the coyote that you are in charge. Don’t turn your back, don’t run, maintain eye contact, slowly back away.
The City of Toronto also suggests keeping your pets on leashes while walking with them and not leaving them unsupervised outside to keep them safe. To keep coyotes out of your yard, avoid feeding pets outside, and make sure garbage/recycling/compost is stored properly. A long term, humane solution for the recent rise in coyotes has not been determined by the city yet.
“Some key lessons we learned was for dog walkers to make sure they keep dogs on a leash so there isn’t a conflict between the animals, to make sure pet waste is cleaned up, and to make sure no food waste is left to attract the coyotes.” Said Holyday.
Feeding coyotes is against city bylaws in Toronto. If you witness someone feeding a coyote, call 311. You can report coyote sightings to 416-338-PAWS (7297) or by calling 311.