Toronto warns pet owners not to leave animals alone outside after coyotes kill two dogs
The City of Toronto is advising all pet owners who live near typical coyote habitats, including ravines, forests, and large parks, to make sure dogs are always supervised while outdoors following at least two incidents where pets were killed by coyotes.
The city issued the warning in a news release published Friday, and it also says residents can expect to see more coyotes during the winter season.
"At this time of year, it is easier to spot coyotes in parks and ravines, as they are not hidden by foliage," reads the release. "Coyote mating season also falls during January and February, leading to coyotes being more active and visible."
And while the city assures that coyotes generally do not pose a danger to people, it says it's not uncommon for coyotes to injure or kill cats and small dogs.
Calling all #Toronto pet parents! If you know of coyotes in your area, do not let your pets out into your backyard alone. Always supervise your pets when out in the backyard, especially if you live near ravines, green spaces or other areas where there are coyotes. pic.twitter.com/BwucbSmnio— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) January 25, 2021
"The City is aware of two incidents this month where dogs have been taken from backyards near ravines and killed by coyotes," notes the release.
As a result of these two tragic incidents, the city is advising that people living near coyote habitats only bring pets into the backyard if they are being supervised, and that dogs should stay on a leash and close by at all times when walking.
The city also says cats should be kept indoors or supervised while outside, and dogs should only be allowed off-leash in designated dog-off-leash areas if the owner is nearby.
When out walking, keep your dog on a leash & close by at all times, esp in areas where there are known to be coyotes. Allow your dog to play off-leash only in designated dog-off-leash areas, stay close & ensure your dog respond well to voice commands. https://t.co/ww003wXCRa pic.twitter.com/847a2l7VhP— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) January 25, 2021
"Most interactions with coyotes in Toronto are the result of a nearby, regular food source, especially intentional feeding by people," says the city. "Feeding wild animals, including coyotes, is detrimental and can create problems for the neighbourhood."
To prevent negative encounters with coyotes, the city is encouraging residents never to feed them, to refrain from leaving both human and pet food outside, and to always properly dispose of garbage and waste at home and at parks.
The city also says residents shouldn't run when encountering a coyote, approach coyotes or their dens, or touch them no matter how tame or sick they may appear.
Instead, people should either make noise to scare the coyote away or call Toronto Animal Services if the animal seems sick or injured.
If a coyote is sick, Animal Services will investigate to determine whether it can recover on its own or needs to be captured and brought to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.
In accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, the coyote will be placed back into the area from which it was captured when it has recovered.
Anyone that does witness a resident feeding a coyote is also encouraged to contact 311 as it violates a municipal bylaw.
"Coyotes are a natural part of the urban landscape in Toronto and an important part of the ecosystem, as they control rodent and rabbit populations," says the city. "Coyotes thrive in urban areas because of the abundance of food and shelter available to them."
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