Residents of Riverside Park South are in shock after an increasingly brazen coyote stole two family pets in the last three weeks.
Shortly after midnight on Saturday, a coyote, who has been seen several times in recent weeks, grabbed a small dog in front of a group of seven people sitting and chatting in lawn chairs around a propane fire on Marcel Street. .
Chico, a two-year-old shih tzu-chihuahua mix weighing about 10 pounds, was dozing on owner Mike Hendrigan’s lap when the dog suddenly jumped up and ran into some nearby bushes. Although Chico was wearing a collar and leash, it happened too quickly for Hendrigan to grab the leash.
“After that there was silence. No yelling, no fighting,” Hendrigan said. Then the group saw the coyote running down the street with Chico in his mouth.
Georgia, a 13-year-old cat, is also presumed dead after an attack on the morning of Aug. 23, when a coyote grabbed the cat from her family’s driveway and was seen fleeing with her in its jaws.
École élémentaire catholique George-Étienne-Cartier, an elementary school in the neighborhood, contacted the Ottawa Police Service and notified the city Monday morning after a parent reported that a coyote had been seen wandering around. the school grounds and a nearby city park.
Police assessed the neighborhood and deemed it safe. Recess was held outdoors for the rest of the day, a school board spokesman said.
Residents want the city to do something about it.
“There was a block party here on Saturday night. For it to be so brazen, people are concerned,” Georgia owner Katrina Bussey said.
Maxine Bilodeau saw the coyote Monday morning with what appeared to be a black squirrel in its jaws. But after her son said there was a black cat in her garden, she believes there may be another victim.
“I am not afraid that the coyote will attack me,” he said. “The issue is that he enters the neighborhood at all hours.”
Some believe the coyote was lying in wait for an opportunity to strike Saturday night and fear a child could be next. “It’s unsettling to think that you can be harassed,” said Sean Mercer.
Most people on the street have seen the coyote, said Beth McGahern, who said she now feels uncomfortable walking with her goldendoodle. “Obviously he’s not afraid of anyone.”
Residents say they called the city with complaints, but were told the only thing the city can do is record the incidents. They have been advised to call the police if they feel they are in danger, but police have said there is nothing they can do unless someone is in imminent danger.
“Let nature take its course if the animals are in McCarthy Woods. But when they start to climb the streets of Ottawa, then the conversation should change. It shouldn’t be an open pet hunting season,” Hendrigan said.
“We feel terrified by this coyote. I realize that sounds dramatic, but we should be able to be outside with our pets,” said Karolyn Singlehurst, who was with the group Saturday night when the coyote grabbed Chico.
The City of Ottawa received 476 coyote complaints last year and 341 complaints between January 1 and September 11 of this year.
Count of the river district. Riley Brockington said he spoke with high-level city managers Monday morning and the city hired a private contractor to track local coyote movement and recommend next steps as soon as possible.
“To me, sightings are one thing,” he said. “But when you have coyotes that are unabashedly engaging with humans and don’t show strong fear, that’s where I get concerned. If they can take a dog, what next?
The city does not have a coyote strategy, Brockington noted.
“It’s frustrating. I want to keep everyone safe, but there’s no battle plan,” he said. “If we can coexist, that’s the right balance. But if there are aggressive coyotes, I don’t want that to happen.”
A series of recent coyote attacks in Burlington have also drawn calls for action. On Saturday morning, a woman resting on the patio of a retirement home woke up to the pain of the coyote biting her in the hip. She startled the animal, but it came closer again. The woman was treated at the hospital and released.
It’s unclear if the Riverside Park sightings involve just one animal.
Mercer said he would like a professional opinion on whether the coyote has been displaced (there was damage to McCarthy Woods due to the encroachment in May) or if it is a rogue animal dangerous to people.
Municipalities are responsible for taking appropriate animal control measures, said the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).
When asked by this newspaper, the MNRF said that coyotes are territorial, each with an exclusive territory defended by a single breeding pair. Territorial breeding pairs are the only segment of a coyote population that can successfully produce young, with each pair typically having a single litter within a den from late March through April.
Most coyote pups will disperse from their parents’ territory in search of their own mate and breeding territory, and will have completed the process before their first birthday.
Lone coyotes are usually pups that have left their parent’s territory. For most of the year, the coyote population contains more non-resident or “disperser” coyotes than residential territorial coyotes, MNRF said.
Coyotes are often wary of humans.
Bold behavior has been documented in a small proportion of coyotes within North American populations. In almost all cases, such behavior is the result of food conditioning, the process through which coyotes lose their fear of people after repeated access to food sources.”
In its advice, the MNRF urges closing spaces under porches, decks and sheds where coyotes can shelter and raise their young.
Pet owners are urged to keep dogs indoors at night and on leashes when outdoors, and to clean up after their dogs because coyotes are attracted to dog feces. He carries a flashlight when walking a dog at night to scare off coyotes.
If you see a coyote, keep your distance and the animal will likely avoid you. Don’t turn your back or run away. Back away keeping calm. Stand tall, wave your hands and make a lot of noise, and carry a flashlight. If the coyote poses an immediate threat, call 911.
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