If there’s one creature you should be trying to maintain a good physical distance from, it’s a coyote. Recently, coyotes in Ottawa have become increasingly fearless and even more locals have now been stalked and attacked. One local councillor is describing the situation as “devastating.”
On Thursday morning, June 11, a dog was attacked by a wild coyote in Ottawa’s Beryl Gaffney Park.
While the situation was terrifying for the pup and his owner, similar encounters are becoming increasingly common in the National Capital Region.
Less than a week ago, Gloucester-South Nepean Councillor Carole Anne Meehan described the city’s brave coyotes as “a problem,” after several locals were attacked.
One man even described having his leg “chewed” by one of the large canines.
Since then, yet another person has been bitten, several dogs have been attacked, and Ottawa bylaw officers have responded to several calls about wild coyotes lurking around the city.
The problem appears to be particularly prevalent in Barrhaven and Riverside South.
While coyotes have been in the area for many years, their new and unusually confident behaviour has become a "cause for concern."
Too close encounter with this coyote in Beryl Gaffney Park this morning. Small dog attacked. @OttawaPolice at sc… https://t.co/Kjpi8S2mHW— Carol Anne Meehan (@Carol Anne Meehan)1591874376.0
People who know wildlife say this coyote looks ill. It’s not normal for a coyote to show no fear of humans. Please… https://t.co/TvPd9xL544— Carol Anne Meehan (@Carol Anne Meehan)1591878723.0
In several social media posts on Thursday morning, Councillor Meehan urged Barrhaven East and Riverside South residents to be aware of the incident unfolding in the area.
“This coyote attacked a small dog in Beryl Gaffney Park this morning, then chased cyclists. He shows no fear of humans,” she said. “Ottawa police are trying to find him. Please be wary and walk in pairs if you are using the park.”
In a follow-up note, Meehan added, “People who know wildlife say this coyote looks ill. It’s not normal for a coyote to show no fear of humans.”
Residents on Golden Springs in Riverside south grabbed their brooms and chased off a coyote that had grabbed a litt… https://t.co/n2IYpNdEgD— Carol Anne Meehan (@Carol Anne Meehan)1591844740.0
In a Facebook post on Wednesday morning, Meehan described the latest attacks as “devastating,” particularly as she has been calling for action on the issue for several weeks.
While she says the Ontario Ministry of Nature Resources and Forestry should be dealing with the coyotes, it’s been left to city bylaw officers.
They have now recruited a “wildlife specialist.”
This week, Ottawa bylaw confirmed they had responded to several calls regarding "not normal behaviour" from wild animals.
If you should encounter a coyote, City bylaw advises not turning your back, not running away, and not approaching it.
Instead, you should stand tall, wave your hands and make lots of noise.