Burlington urges residents to 'continue to be vigilant' as city reports 7th coyote attack

·3 min read
Burlington has seen seven unprovoked coyote attacks in the south-central and southeast parts of the city since Aug. 22. (Shutterstock/Harry Collins Pho - image credit)
Burlington has seen seven unprovoked coyote attacks in the south-central and southeast parts of the city since Aug. 22. (Shutterstock/Harry Collins Pho - image credit)

The City of Burlington is asking residents to "continue being vigilant" after reporting a seventh coyote attack in the past month.

City officials have been investigating a string of "unprovoked" attacks this summer involving victims including a toddler, an 18-year-old girl, a resident at a retirement home, and most recently, according to a release, at a home on Lakeshore Road on Saturday.

The city says the victim was resting in her backyard when a coyote bit her knee. She was taken to hospital and treated.

"It's terrible and it's traumatizing," said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

"In every situation, people were in parks or pathways, some in their own backyard or front yard, and the coyote appeared and attacked."

Michael Charles Cole/CBC
Michael Charles Cole/CBC

2 coyotes dead, 1 still at large

While coyotes are commonly seen in Burlington, the city says they rarely attack humans and naturally fear them.

However, Ward says wildlife experts and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have told the city these attacks are coming from a small pack of coyotes that have learned not to fear humans — most likely because someone has been feeding them.

"People may think they're being well-meaning, but they're actually signing the death warrant of that animal," said Ward.

The city and wildlife control have killed two coyotes connected to attacks in south central Burlington.

But a third coyote of concern is still at large, a Monday news release states.

The coyote is described as smaller and sandy-coloured — the same characteristics noted in the sixth and seventh attacks on Sept. 10 and 17.

The city says it is asking residents to continue being vigilant around the areas of the attacks, and report coyote sightings to the city.

City of Burlington handout
City of Burlington handout

City raises awareness as residents stay on alert

Burlington's city council recently voted to bolster its coyote response strategy as news of the sixth attack emerged last week.

But some residents are wondering if all the measures are effective enough to keep others from getting hurt.

Val Riggs says she's made sure to bring things that make loud noises with her when she or her kids walk their dog.

She calls the situation "scary."

"It's hard to know if they've really addressed the issue right, or if it's just a Band-Aid on the whole problem that we're facing," said Riggs.

Michael Charles Cole/CBC
Michael Charles Cole/CBC

Simon Leung says he'd be terrified if something happened to his one-year-old and three-year-old at home, and makes sure to keep them inside when coyotes mill around his property after dawn.

"I'm hoping that the city is doing everything that they can to address the issue," said Leung.

Ward says the city has given out over 3,000 whistles to residents to help ward off the animals, and the city says it's placed more signs in high-risk areas in south central Burlington warning residents of "increased and aggressive coyote activity."

She adds the city is raising awareness on the issue through social media posts, has scheduled a "mail drop" to educate residents on the dangers of feeding wildlife, and notes it's also considering raising fines for those caught feeding wildlife.

The city has a list of tips residents of Burlington can follow to minimize interactions with coyotes, which can be found here.