Burlington residents warned that more coyote sightings are possible this fall

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Published October 12, 2023 at 2:49 pm

coyotes sightings expected to increase in burlington

Burlington residents are being advised to take some common sense steps to avoid unpleasant encounters with coyotes, as the animals are expected to appear more during what is known as “dispersal season.”

Dispersal, which occurs when young coyotes leave or are run out of their family groups and must find breeding opportunities, means that the animals are more likely to be spotted in the urban areas they call home.

“During dispersal season, coyotes tend to be more visible. This is because young coyotes are seeking out their own territories and looking for mates for breeding season,” the city said in a statement. 

The statement comes a few months after the city announced it was beefing up its animal control team following an increase in coyote attacks

According to the city, the move came in response to seven coyote attacks that took place over warm weather months in 2022.

In one instance, a woman was sleeping in her lawn chair when she was awoken by the pain of a coyote biting her on the hip. In a similar incident, a woman was resting in her yard when a coyote ran up and bit her on the knee. A young child also received a coyote bite on the neck.

The city says residents can do their part to prevent encounters, such as storing all garbage, compost and pet food in secure areas that coyotes cannot access and putting out garbage in the morning instead of the night before pick-up, installing flashing lights, motion sensors and noise-makers on their property and making sure sheds and decks are inaccessible to the animals. 

Residents can also request an audit of their yard for coyote attractants by Animal Control staff by contacting Service Burlington via email ([email protected]) or phone (905-335-7777).

Residents are also reminded to never feed wildlife (although backyard bird feeders are still permitted), which can result in a fine. 

Pet owners are also reminded to keep their dogs on leashes while on walks and to keep cats indoors at all times.

Residents can report coyote sightings here

“It’s important to understand how to respond during a coyote encounter and discourage coyotes from visiting your property,” said Kerry Davren, director, bylaw compliance, in a statement.

“Reinforce coyotes’ natural fear of humans through hazing techniques. Learn more about coyote attractants and clear them from your property. This healthy coexistence is essential for both their safety and ours.”

According to the Human Society of the United States, hazing methods include yelling and waving your arms while approaching a coyote, using noisemakers (whistles, air horns, bells and other objects), throwing sticks, small rocks or rubber balls in the animal’s direction or deterring the coyote with a hose, spray bottle or water gun. 

The Human Society advises against running from a coyote, as that might prompt the animal to chase you. 

The city says Animal Services will be hosting educational pop-ups at various recreation centres and public libraries this fall that will teach residents more about coyote-proofing their homes and how to react if they encounter a coyote. 

Whistles used for hazing coyotes will also be available for free. 

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