Burlington Council approves more coyote management recommendations

Burlington, Ont.—Sept. 21, 2022— The City of Burlington Council has approved staff report BB-14-22 City of Burlington Bylaw Fine Review and Updates as part of the City’s response to the recent coyote attacks. This report recommended changes to By-law 49-2022 and By-law 60-2005 to clarify Animal Control Officers’ powers of entry, increase fines and allow for the collection of these fines through the City’s tax roll.

Under these updated bylaws, Animal Control Officers now have the discretion to issue tickets of $300 (previously $150) or issue a court summons with an increased fine range from $500 up to a maximum of $100,000 (previously, the limit was $5,000). A summons is usually reserved for serious offenses and repeat offenders.

By-law 49-2022 is the City’s Lot Maintenance Bylaw. A property owner is responsible for keeping their lot clean and clear of debris. Residents and property owners can make sure they comply with the bylaw by ensuring their property is tidy and clear of garbage, food, brush, long grass and wood piles which are ideal den sites for coyotes or other wild animals that attract coyotes.

By-law 60-2005 is the City’s Animal Control Bylaw. This bylaw has been updated to include definitions around feeding wildlife, including coyotes. It also allows officers to legally enter onto private property when carrying out inspections related to bylaw investigations. This is required to ensure appropriate and swift action by Animal Control Officers.

Increasing these fine amounts and how Animal Control and Bylaw Officers can act upon them are part of the City’s coyote management recommendations and strategic actions to stop feeding of wildlife, including coyotes. Feeding coyotes is the main cause of coyote aggression that led to seven unprovoked attacks on people in south-east and south-central Burlington in recent weeks. The three aggressive coyotes responsible for the recent unprovoked attacks were eliminated.

Updating these bylaws, fines and powers of bylaw and animal services officers will allow the City to be proactive when it comes to managing coyotes and wildlife to protect its residents. These steps are in addition to previous actions taken by City Council.

Residents are reminded to report their concerns about direct or indirect feeding of wildlife to Animal Control at animalshelter@burlington.ca 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 animalshelter@burlington.ca 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.

Burlington is a city where people, nature and businesses thrive. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at burlington.ca/subscribe and follow @CityBurlington on social media.

Quick Facts

  • In 2015, Burlington City Council approved a Coyote Response Strategy that provides guidelines on preventing and managing conflicts with coyotes.
  • Even with the third coyote being eliminated, City staff continue to be on high alert. This includes patrolling the city, gathering information and looking for food sources
  • 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 animalshelter@burlington.ca
  • 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.
  • Backyard bird feeders are exempt under the City’s Lot Maintenance Bylaw (49-2022). They must be well maintained to avoid fines.
  • To request an audit of your yard for coyote attractants by city Animal Control staff, please email animalshelter@burlington.ca.

Quotes

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“I want to thank our City staff from the all the different departments who have been a part of this response from the start and who put together the recommendations in this report. I also want to thank my Council colleagues for unanimously approving these recommendations and actions, as well as our local MPPs and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for lending their support and staff expertise.

While we collectively breathe a sigh of relief, our City’s Animal Control staff will continue to be on watch doing their best to ensure these coyote attacks won’t happen again. It is critically important for our residents and community to understand these coyotes became aggressive because they lost their fear of humans due to being fed intentionally or unintentionally. We don’t want to have to eliminate a wild animal — but public safety must come first.”

City Manager Tim Commisso

“Burlington City Council approved the staff recommendations to increase the fines and give our officers the authority they need to keep residents safe from wildlife becoming unnecessarily aggressive. Increased fines and allowing Animal Control and Bylaw Officers to act swiftly are what the City of Burlington must do to stop the feeding of wildlife, including coyotes. This feeding was the main cause of coyote aggression that led to seven residents being attacked in recent weeks. We had no choice but to eliminate aggressive coyotes responsible for these recent unprovoked attacks.

The City must be proactive when it comes to managing coyotes and wildlife to protect its residents and these updated bylaws will help us do that.”

Links and Resources

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Media contact:
Carla Marshall
Communications Advisor
carla.marshall@burlington.ca

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