Residents anxious about coyotes at Sunnidale Park, call councillor ‘almost daily’

“I would also like to encourage residents not to walk their animals at night in the park, unless they are using a flashlight … that kind of discourages coyotes from coming near them.” – City Clerk Wendy Cooke


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Coyote sightings at Sunnidale Park seem to be frequent enough that Ward 4 councillor Barry Ward says he gets calls from concerned residents about the canines almost on a daily basis.
At last week’s council meeting, Ward asked City Clerk Wendy Cooke about the City’s policy regarding coyotes and what he could tell the people who call him about the predators, known to attack small pets.
There is no specific policy, but Cooke said staff will provide information on how to discourage coyotes from entering property, and how to keep oneself and pets safe. For instance, people walking dogs in a park should keep them on a leash, expect when in the dogs off-leash area.
“I would also like to encourage residents not to walk their animals at night in the park, unless they are using a flashlight … that kind of discourages coyotes from coming near them.”
She also advised keeping pets inside at night, and not walking with food, and directed residents to the ‘preventing and managing conflict with coyotes’ section of www.ontario.ca. Here are some tips from the site:
• Properly store and maintain garbage containers to help prevent coyotes from becoming a problem
• Keep pet food indoors
• Put garbage out the morning of a scheduled pickup
• Use enclosed composting bins rather than exposed piles
• Pick ripe fruit and seed from trees and remove fallen fruit from the ground
• Protect vegetable gardens with heavy-duty garden fences or place vegetable plants in a greenhouse
The site also has advice for preventing conflict between dogs and coyotes, including: 
• Keep dogs inside at night
• Clean up after your dog — coyotes are attracted to dog feces
• Spay and neuter your dogs — coyotes are attracted to, and can mate with, domestic dogs that have not been spayed or neutered
• Keep pet food indoors 
• Do not let your dogs roam from your property
• Fence your property with a two-metre-high fence that extends at least 20 centimetres underground as coyotes may dig under a barrier
Tips for protecting your dog off your property include: 
• Keep your dog on a leash
• Carry a flashlight at night to scare off coyotes
• Do not let your dog chase a coyote as it could result in injury to your dog
Ward asked Cooke if the City had considered putting up a sign warning residents about the presence of coyotes in the park. “We have not considered that at this time, but can certainly look into it,” she said.
The last word on the matter was left to the mayor.
“Yes, the Sunnidale coyote has certainly become a thing with sightings reported online, and concern from different residents.” 

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