Coyote Concerns

Northumberland 89.7 FM has been contacted by a Cobourg resident regarding safety concerns involving Cobourg’s coyote population.  Paul Whitehead told 89 7 that four young children who were visiting their grandparents were approached by a coyote Tuesday in Fitzhugh Park on Delanty Road.

Whitehead mentioned that a coyote also attacked a dog recently on Wilson Road and a neighbor ran out and saved the dog. A next-door neighbor of his while walking at 5:00 a.m. was approached by a coyote last week who walked alongside him.

He said that coyotes have become more than a nuisance and are killing pets and are threatening to many people. Whitehead wrote the Mayor expressing his concern that a child or senior could be hurt or killed if something is not done.


Town of Cobourg

The Town is continuously working with the Cobourg Police and the MNRF on a regular basis if there is a risk to public safety. We mostly provide education to the public with our partners. The Town is responsible for Domestic Animals, and the Province is responsible for those that are considered Wild Animals, meaning us people and citizens have moved into their natural habitat, and there are provincial rules on how we handle the issue.

The Town and front-line staff refer the following links to residents when they call. We also report any increased activity or aggressiveness to the MNRF and the Cobourg Police.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests

Landowners are responsible for managing problem wildlife on their property. If the problem wildlife is on municipal property, it is the municipality’s responsibility to respond as necessary. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) assists landowners and municipalities dealing with human-wildlife conflict by providing fact sheets, appropriate agency referrals, and information on steps that can be taken to address problems with wildlife.  However, should a situation be deemed an immediate threat or danger to public safety, call 911 to contact your local police force.

What to do if You Encounter a Coyote

· Do not approach. It may look like a dog, but coyotes are wild animals.

· Do not turn your back or run – walk away from a coyote while remaining calm.

· Use whistles and personal alarm devices to scare it.

· Call 911 if a coyote poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety.

· Never feed, touch or attempt to tame a coyote.

· Coyotes are usually wary of humans and will avoid people when possible, but you should always exercise caution around wildlife.

Helpful Tips to Keep Coyotes Away

· Do NOT feed coyotes (or other wildlife) — either intentionally or unintentionally. It makes them less fearful of humans, and makes them accustomed to food provided by humans. Coyotes eat fruit, nuts and seeds, so pick ripe fruit from fruit trees, remove fallen fruit from the ground and keep bird feeders from overflowing.

· Properly store and maintain garbage containers, and put garbage at curbside the morning of the scheduled pickup rather than the night before.

· Coyotes are attracted to pet food and waste, so keep pet food indoors and ensure it is picked up and properly disposed of in composting bins.

· Use motion sensor lighting and/or motion activated sprinkler systems to make your property less attractive to coyotes and other nocturnal wildlife. 

· Fence your property or yard. Fences should be at least six feet tall with the bottom extending at least six inches below the ground and/or a foot outward, so coyotes cannot dig under the fence. 

· Close off crawl spaces under porches, decks and sheds. Coyotes can use these areas for denning and raising young.

Keep Pets Safe

Cats and small dogs may be seen as prey by coyotes, while larger dogs may be injured in a confrontation. To avoid these situations, consider the following suggestions:

·   Install proper fencing.

·   As coyotes are primarily nocturnal, pets should be kept inside at night.

·   Keep all pets on leashes or confined to a yard.

·   Keep cats indoors and do not allow pets to roam from home.

·   Feed pets indoors. 

·  Spay or neuter your dogs. Coyotes are attracted to, and can mate with, domestic dogs that have not been spayed or neutered.

Can a Landowner Shoot a Coyote?

· Under the province’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, a landowner (including private citizens or a municipality) may take actions to deal with problem wildlife without prior approval, including capturing, killing or harassing coyotes to prevent damage to themselves, their property or their pets.  However local firearm discharge bylaws must be followed. 

· As long as you don’t cause unnecessary suffering to wildlife and follow all municipal by-laws, you may do what is necessary to prevent wildlife from causing damage to your property.

· You may not use poisons or adhesives to kill, capture or injure wildlife, including in protection of property. There is an exemption for licensed poisons for the removal of pests such as mice and rats.

· In 2013, regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act were changed to allow municipalities to provide compensation to local hunters or trappers to remove problem coyotes in local areas of concern for the municipality. 

· Individuals being compensated must still follow all of the hunting and trapping rules outlined under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (e.g. licensing requirements, seasons, etc.).