Burlington, Ont.—Sept. 15, 2022— The City of Burlington Council has approved staff report CM-26-22 City of Burlington Coyote Response Strategy update and response to recent serious attacks on city residents. This report outlines coyote management recommendations and strategic actions that must be taken to allow the City to be proactive when it comes to managing coyotes and wildlife to protect its residents.
Council approved the directions in the report and amended the report to include several additional comprehensive directions. Council voted unanimously to:
- Receive city manager’s office report CM-26-22 – City of Burlington Coyote Response Strategy update and, with regard to the City’s immediate response to the recent serious coyote attacks on Burlington residents, endorse the actions taken by staff under established authority as outlined in the report at an estimated 2022 one-time cost of $22,850; and
- Approve the single source of a Certified Wildlife Professional (CWP) and authorize the Manager of Procurement Services to sign a multi-year agreement with the CWP for the remainder of 2022 and the duration of 2023, with the option to renew for three additional one year terms; and
- Direct the Director of Building and Bylaw to proceed immediately with the design and implementation of a new two-year Coyote Action and Awareness Program specifically directed at delivering enhanced coyote response services based on the program scope outlined in city manager’s office report CM-26-22 ; and
- Direct the Chief Financial Officer to report back to City Council directly on Sept. 20, 2022 with options and recommendations for funding the new Coyote Action and Awareness Program; and
- Direct the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility to report back in Q1 2023 in conjunction with City Council’s 2023 budget consideration on the establishment of the proposed new Bylaw Compliance Department (as recommended in companion report CM-24-22) inclusive of an enhanced coyote response model as part of the Animal Services function; and
- Direct the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility, following the hiring of a new Director of Bylaw Compliance, to undertake a full review and update of the current City of Burlington Animal Services Bylaw (by-law 60-2005) and Coyote Response Strategy by Q4 2023; and
- Direct the City Manager, with respect to the February 2022 report, specifically the recommendations of the community association – Burlington & Oakville Coyote Management (BOCM) as outlined in Appendix B of city manager’s office report CM-26-22, to proceed with the implementation of the staff recommendations and next steps and report back on the status in Q1 2023; and
- Direct the City Manager to initiate meetings, as required, with the Chief Administrative Officer of the Town of Oakville and senior staff of both Burlington and Oakville to develop and implement a coordinated workplan related to both the BOCM recommendations as well as other City/Town coyote response initiatives including, but not limited to, joint procurement of external professional wildlife management services, joint coyote related data collection, research and analysis and public educational and awareness programs and possible mutual coyote response service agreements; and
- Direct the City Manager and Chief Financial Officer to include for consideration in the 2023 proposed budget the recommended resources to fully address all of the above noted service delivery requirements for an enhanced coyote action and awareness program; and
- Authorize the Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry to procure and install lids for non-decorative garbage cans in the immediate area of coyote concern, to an upset limit of $15,000 in 2022; and
- Direct the Director of Building and Bylaw to adopt a pro-active coyote response strategy model inclusive of adding two additional contract Bylaw Enforcement Officers, and engage appropriate coyote specialist resources to assist with investigations, canid response team, training staff and members of the public; and
- Direct the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility to review waste receptacles identified in various urban design guidelines, starting with Downtown Streetscape Guidelines, to ensure that those identified are secure and enclosed, and to report to CPRM Committee in Q4 2022; and
- Direct the Chief Financial Officer to include information regarding expenses incurred related to the Coyote Response Strategy when reporting on the 2022 year-end financial position and bring forward any amendments in the 2023 budget; and
- Direct the Mayor and Government Relations Manager to connect with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and other ministries as needed, to formally request emergency funding, and staffing support, to help the City respond to coyote attacks in Burlington; and
- Direct the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel and the Director of Building and Bylaw to review the current fine structure for illegal dumping contained in the Lot Maintenance By-law 49-2022 and fines contained in City’s Animal Control By-law 60-2005 relating to feeding of wildlife and bring back options to increase the fines for ticketing offences, Part I and the maximum fine for Part III offenses for the feeding of wildlife, including any required bylaw amendments for consideration by Council on Sept. 20, 2022; and
- Direct the Director of Corporate Communications & Engagement to distribute a city-wide mailing and social media communication plan by Sept. 30, 2022 focused solely on the fact that the recent crisis of aggressive wildlife attacks is the direct result of illegal dumping and/or feeding of wildlife and clearly communicating increases in Part I Offense ticketing and Part III Offense fines to be considered by Council on Sept. 20, 2022; and
- Direct the City Manager to include targeted cutting back of vegetation on public lands as part of the risk mitigation actions to be considered in the updated coyote response strategy.
Coyotes have existed in the City of Burlington for decades and recently an increase in sightings and aggressive behavior, including physical attacks on residents, has brought about the urgent need to closely examine and enhance the City’s coyote response strategy. The ability to co-exist with these wild animals is, in part, due to understanding their behavior, how to maintain their fear of humans and how to reduce attractants such as food sources. The recent traumatic physical attacks have changed the dynamics of coyote-human co-existence in south central and south east Burlington. While the City’s approved protocols address how unprovoked and provoked physical attacks are to be handled, the Council approved report allows the City to move to proactive response tactics.
Residents are reminded to report their concerns about direct or indirect feeding of wildlife to Animal Control at email@example.com or 905-335-3030 and are reminded that hand and ground feeding wildlife on private or public property is prohibited by the City’s Lot Maintenance Bylaw (49-2022) and is subject to a fine.
The City is asking residents to continue to be vigilant in these areas and report coyote sightings using the form at burlington.ca/coyotes.
Anyone attacked by a coyote is advised to seek immediate medical attention and report the attack to the Halton Region Health Department and to the City of Burlington Animal Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-335-3030.
Municipalities are responsible for taking appropriate actions to manage resident coyote sightings, encounters and attacks and take appropriate action. If a coyote attacks a person, the City has a Council approved Coyote Response Strategy in place that is currently being followed to prioritize and deal with this situation.
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- In 2015, Burlington City Council approved a Coyote Response Strategy that provides guidelines on preventing and managing conflicts with coyotes.
- These are the first reported coyote attacks on humans in Burlington.
- Usually, hazing coyotes is the best course of action to manage human interactions. When aggressive coyote behavior leads to attacks on humans, the best solutions is to eliminate the aggressive pack. Sterilization or birth control is a long term strategy that is time and cost prohibitive and not recommended by wildlife experts.
- Coyotes are native to North America and can be found living in urban and rural areas.
- Food sources like mice, rats, and garbage are readily available in urban areas, attracting coyotes to residential neighborhoods.
- Concerns about direct or indirect feeding of wildlife can be reported to Animal Control at email@example.com
- Hand feeding and ground feeding wildlife on private or public property is prohibited by the city’s Lot Maintenance Bylaw (49-2022) and is subject to a fine.
- To request an audit of your yard for coyote attractants by city Animal Control staff, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
“This is a giant step forward in our actions to protect our community from these coyote attacks. Based on advice we’ve received from staff at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and field researchers with Coyote Watch Canada, the aggressive behaviors we’ve experienced is the direct result of illegal feeding of wildlife — either intentional or unintentional. Council and City staff are taking this situation very seriously. The unanimous approval by Council, at a special meeting yesterday, of significant additional actions under our Coyote Response Strategy, is a clear indication to our community of our commitment to ensuring public safety and an end to these attacks. I want to thank residents who have reached out to us and the local community group Burlington Oakville Coyote Management for their research and recommendations.”
City Manager Tim Commisso
“Following an extensive discussion and debate at both committee and council, the staff recommendations were approved by City Council at their special meeting yesterday. These represent a comprehensive set of immediate and long-term actions that provide clear direction to me and City staff to significantly enhance our coyote response strategy. The recommendations include four additional staff positions which will allow both City animal services and bylaw enforcement to take a much more pro-active approach to protecting the community against aggressive coyote behavior and unprovoked attacks.”
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