City of Burlington investigating recent coyote encounters

Burlington, Ont.—Aug. 22, 2022— The City of Burlington is prioritizing the investigation and action of two recent coyote attacks on people in south central Burlington. City staff and council have followed up the families, tracked and located the suspected coyote and have engaged the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), the Halton Regional Police Services (HRPS) and a licensed wildlife trapper for a coordinated, urgent response to eliminate the coyote.

The City of Burlington is responsible for taking appropriate actions to manage resident encounters with coyotes and take appropriate action on municipal property. On the rare occasion that a coyote attacks a person, the City has a Council approved protocol in place that is currently being followed to prioritize and deal with the coyote in question.

Anyone who sees a coyote is encouraged to let the City know by submitting an online report or calling 905-335-3030. Reporting coyote sightings, or potential problems related to overgrown building sites, garbage or someone intentionally or accidentally feeding a coyote, helps the City monitor the location and activity of coyotes in the community.

Coyote sightings are common in the City of Burlington, as our green spaces and forested areas provide an excellent habitat for them. While coyotes will generally avoid humans, they can pose a serious threat to pets, such as cats and small dogs. Coyotes naturally fear humans and should remain wild animals with little human interference. They play an important role in balancing the ecosystem in southern Ontario by controlling the populations of rabbits, rats and mice.

Residents can take these steps to help reduce the risk of potential coyote conflicts.

While naturally wary of humans, coyotes will seek food and shelter in residential neighborhoods when the opportunity arises. The Top 5 things residents can do to help deter coyotes include:

1. Never feed coyotes

Feeding coyotes, directly or indirectly, teaches them to depend on human handouts and can cause them to become too familiar with humans. This familiarization can lead to aggressive behavior around people and pets.

2. Never leave pets unattended

Coyotes may see pets as a threat to their territory and may attack, especially when there is a den site nearby. Always keep dogs on a short leash (less than six feet long) when walking outdoors and avoid retractable leashes. Make sure your cats and dogs are not unattended, especially at night, even in your fenced backyard.

3. Keep a tidy property

Residential neighborhoods are an ideal coyote habitat with access to water, shelter and food sources like garbage, pet food, fruit tress and birdfeeders. Make sure your 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.

4. Inspect your property

Make sure spaces around and under decks, sheds and similar structures are closed off with wire screening that extends at least 20 centimeters under the ground.

5. Consistently haze coyotes

Deterring coyotes takes vigilance. Consistent efforts by the entire community to haze coyotes can help to re-instill their fear of humans and discourage unwelcome behavior.

Use one or more of these hazing techniques every time you see a coyote to help move it out of a residential area:

  • yell loudly
  • Wave your arms and make yourself look as big as possible
  • Use air horns, whistles, bang pots
  • Throw small rocks, large sticks, cans and/or rubber balls at the coyote
  • Spray the coyote with water from a garden hose or a water gun filled with vinegar.

If a coyote approaches, residents are reminded to:

  • Stop. Don’t run.
  • Pick up small children and pets
  • Stand as tall as you can
  • Make noise, be as loud as you can, shout “go away”
  • Wave your arms and stomp your feet
  • Use hazing techniques
  • Back away slowly
  • Report coyote sightings online at www.burlington.ca/coyote
  • Call Burlington’s Animal Services at 905-335-3030 if you see an aggressive, sick or injured coyote
  • Call 9-1-1- if a coyote poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety.

The City is working towards being more proactive to prevent attacks, including working with a community group from Burlington and Oakville.

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.

Quote

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“We are devastated by this news and are leaving no stone unturned to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. We have secured the services of a trapper to track and euthanize the identified coyote. It is very unusual for coyotes to attack, so we are also looking to understand what prompted this particular coyote to attack a person. As well, we’re taking proactive steps to identify any other coyote that may be at-risk. In the long-term, we are exploring a number of options related to coyote management, some suggested by residents, and we will provide more information to the community as it becomes available.”

Quick Facts

  • These are the first reported coyote attacks on humans in Burlington.
  • In 2015, Burlington City Council approved a Coyote Response Strategy that provides guidelines on preventing and managing conflicts with coyotes.
  • 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.mailbox@burlington.ca
  • Hand feeding and ground feeding wildlife on private or public property is prohibited by the city’s Lot Maintenance Bylaw (59-2018) and is subject to a $300 fine.
  • To request an audit of your yard for coyote attractants by city Animal Control staff, please email animalshelter.mailbox@burlington.ca.

Links and Resources

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

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