MISSISSAUGA – Animal Services held another information session earlier this week to address the growing concerns of many residents about living with urban coyotes.
The presentation was held Tuesday night at Clarkson Community Centre and featured presentation from both City of Mississauga officials and representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources.
More than 100 residents attended the event aimed at quelling concerns surrounding an issue that the City and MNR insist presents little risk to people. A similar event held late last year in response to a series of attacks on small dogs and people across Peel only drew about 50 people.
“I received a number of calls and certainly when I spoke to people at a number of community events who were concerned,” said Ward 2 Councillor Karen Ras, who helped organize the event. “People were curious and were wondering what they could do to help keep their pets safe.”
Mississauga saw four small dogs killed by coyotes roaming the city in 2014. Brampton also experienced a number of incidents, including three people being bitten.
The series of incidents spanned just a few months and prompted officials in both cities to bring in experts to look into the matter. Another incident earlier this year involving a poodle in Lorne Park garnered significant media attention and has once again brought the issue to the forefront.
Brent Patterson, who studies coyote behaviour and movements with the MNR, said that while pets such as small dogs and cats are sometimes targeted as prey, attacks on people are very rare and almost always attributed to people feeding the animals, which lowers their natural fear of humans.
“Even in an urban environment most of the coyote diet remains natural. Coyotes are spending most of their time in the green spaces (in the city) and are feeding mostly on meadow voles, white-tailed rabbits, squirrels, and as you know, sometimes cats and small dogs,” said Patterson.
“From a coyote’s point of view, wherever they are, the equation that’s going through their mind when it comes to feeding themselves is how do I get the most calories in my belly with the least amount of energy expended and least amount of risk.”