A Mississauga woman is appealing to the city for help and warning neighbours in the Lorne Park area after her family’s beloved pet dog was attacked and killed by a coyote on Tuesday morning.
Stephanie Simonik told CityNews she let her dog, Dexter, out in the backyard of their home on Kane Road “for his morning business” at around 7 a.m.
But she sensed something was wrong when the dog, an eight-year-old Maltese/Yorkie mix, stayed out longer than usual and didn’t respond to her calls.
With the help of her husband, they began combing their quiet street and asking neighbours if they’d seen their dog, to no avail.
It was only when they returned home that the animal’s horrible fate began to reveal itself. “My husband spotted a trail of pee right on our deck … and then a trail of blood …”
Her husband followed the trail, hopping several fences before coming upon Dexter’s body. “He had been torn apart and partly eaten,” she grimly described. “He was gone.”
Simonik said her family just moved to the neighbourhood in May and she wasn’t aware of a coyote risk.
“We went to our neighbours who have dogs to let them know so they can be vigilant with their dogs,” she added.
The family called Animal Control and their city councillor, and Simonik, who is pregnant with her second child, says she has since learned of another coyote attack in the area two weeks ago.
She also said she spotted fresh coyote tracks in the snow around her home on Wednesday.
Last week, the City of Mississauga sent out a tweet saying: “Please don’t give coyotes a free meal. Keep your cats indoors.” The city has also warned residents to keep a close eye on pets and be aware of wildlife.
Please don’t give coyotes a free meal. Keep cats indoors. For more tips on coyote safety. https://t.co/buzb1dBe4F
— City of Mississauga (@citymississauga) January 26, 2017
— City of Mississauga (@citymississauga) February 1, 2017
Simonik wants the animal, which neighbours said brazenly patrols their street, captured.
But she said her local councillor told her there’s not much that can be done unless the coyote attacks a human.
“We have a two-year-old and another baby on the way … and it scares me that an attack like this happened right in my backyard,” she said.
“We just want people to be aware this happened to our dog and to be vigilant … We are completely and utterly devastated by the loss of our dog but knowledge and awareness is power and hopefully, can even save a life.”
Mark Ryckman, a senior wildlife biologist with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, said it’s not surprising that coyotes and family pets are frequently crossing paths.
“There’s been an increase in population size in general,” he said. “The land is saturated with coyote packs. It means some packs are going to be in transition, moving to the land outside or in suburban or urban areas.”
“They are amazingly adaptable and there are quite a lot of resources available for them,” he added. “Like squirrels, cats, dogs and rodents.”