Pack of coyotes attack man, dog in southwest Edmonton

·2 min read
Troy Courtoreille, operations manager for Edmonton's animal control park ranger peace fficer program, says the coyote population has been on the rise since the pandemic. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC News - image credit)
Troy Courtoreille, operations manager for Edmonton's animal control park ranger peace fficer program, says the coyote population has been on the rise since the pandemic. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC News - image credit)

Two coyotes have been killed after a man and his dog were attacked on Tuesday morning in the Thibault Park area in southwest Edmonton.

Troy Courtoreille, operations manager for the animal control park ranger peace officer program said it's believed five coyotes were involved in a pack attack Tuesday against the man and his dog. Two of the coyotes that were believed to have been involved were killed.

"Park ranger peace officers attended with our contractor yesterday morning, two coyotes were destroyed, a third was injured and fourth was chased from the area," he said.

Courtoreille said killing the coyotes is a last resort, adding the attack is highly unusual and believed to be the first of its kind within city limits.

He said the man and his dog were treated for minor injuries.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Officers are still investigating what sparked the attack, but there are a few theories.

It's denning season for coyotes and the animals can get more protective and aggressive, especially if pups are nearby.

Officers have also received reports someone may have been illegally feeding the animals.

Illegal feeding may be to blame

According to the city's bylaw, anyone caught feeding wildlife can face a fine of $500. If someone is known to be feeding a coyote that attacks someone, the culprit would have to go to court, Courtoreille said.

Colleen St. Clair, professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta, said it's rare for coyotes to bite people.

However, she said bites are happening more in many cities across North America. She said coyote populations are growing, and the animals are adapting to cities, in turn getting more access to food.

"Lots of people feed coyotes unintentionally, not realizing that coyotes are attracted to things like garbage, pet, food, cats that are at large, birdseed, compost," she explained.

Courtoreille said Edmonton's coyote population has doubled since the pandemic hit, rising from 900 to around 1,500 coyotes.

St. Clair said it's important to keep coyotes out of neighbourhoods.

"Number 1 is to make sure that nobody in their neighbourhood is feeding coyotes," she said, adding people should try to scare off coyotes with loud noises to teach them not to approach others.

"The goal is to make the coyotes fear people more generally and make it less likely that they will approach people, including vulnerable people like small children or people with pets," she said.

Courtoreille said incidents like this aren't common.

"This is the first one where we've had a group attack scenario on a person. There's been coyote pet encounters. There's been previous attacks on citizens, but they've been relatively minor."

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