For a lot of people, taking your dog out for a walk is a relaxing, fun and stress-free activity, that rarely ends with any kind of incident or disaster. However, for some dog owners in Ontario, their daily walks have become considerably more frightening recently, as there have been numerous reports of coyotes in Ontario attacking, and even killing, people’s pet dogs.
For residents of LaSalle, Ontario, taking their dogs out has become that bit more difficult, as reports of incidents involving pets and coyotes in the area are becoming increasingly common. According to one LaSalle local, “You have to always be aware” when walking in the area, as you just never know when a coyote could appear.
Councilors in LaSalle have acknowledged the increasing concern from the community on the coyote issue, particularly after an attack led to the death of a young dog last month. At a council meeting on Tuesday, deputy mayor, Crystal Meloche, said that it is LaSalle’s “unique blend” of urban areas and forestry is what leads to the human-coyote conflict but explained that it is difficult for the council to take immediate action.
Meloche explained, “... We can’t just turn around and say, ‘Let’s get rid of coyotes, We know that’s not something that’s going to happen in the town of LaSalle.”
One LaSalle resident, Colleen Nadon, told Global News that her dog was recently almost attacked by a coyote, describing the animal as completely unafraid of her. "I could see his face looking at us," she said, noting that she had seen another coyote since. While her dogs used to roam the LaSalle trails, she explained that now they always stay on a leash. Nadon even carries a large bamboo stick with her, just in case.
Another dog-owner also described the moment his dog was attacked by a coyote, saying that you can’t take your eyes off your dog for even a second in the trails-area. Although his dog was okay, the pair remain shaken up by the incident.
This isn’t the first time dog-owners in Ontario are urging others to be wary of coyotes, as residents of Toronto experienced a spike in coyote-related incidents earlier this year. Anybody living in coyote-populated areas is reminded to carry whistles when out walking, so that coyotes can be scared away and others can be notified.
Dog walkers who encounter coyotes are encouraged to make loud noises and stretch their bodies out to make themselves appear larger, in the hopes of discouraging the animal from approaching. They are also reminded to carry their cell phones, in case of any coyote-related emergencies.
During their meeting on Tuesday, LaSalle councilors explained that while municipalities are able to trap wild animals, LaSalle would not be making that decision at this time, as there remained “too many unanswered questions about appropriate wildlife management.”
Their report also noted that hiring trappers would, “ultimately result in the destruction of the coyotes, which may result in the unbalancing of the ecosystem and, given the environment, may not effectively address the issues as coyotes are likely to live in the area."