‘Major’ coyote problem plaguing west end Toronto neighbourhood

A pack of coyotes have been roaming the Jane and Dundas area and residents are afraid to go out alone. Carl Hanstke spotted three this morning and locals say, it's getting worse because someone is feeding them.

By Michael Ranger

Pet owners and parents of small children in a west end Toronto neighbourhood are growing increasingly concerned of a pack of coyotes who are on the prowl.

Residents in the Jane and Dundas area say the animals are becoming a major problem — and it’s being exacerbated by someone leaving food out.

Victoria Badham, the education and outreach manager at the Toronto Wildlife Centre, says that they have received reports of coyote sightings in the neighbourhood.

“We have reports on, as far as we can tell, two coyotes,” said Badham. “We are unsure as to how many coyotes are in the area at the moment.”

People in the area say at least five coyotes roam the streets near Jane and Dundas, and the predators are not shy.

“It’s not afraid,” says a homeowner in the area. “I parked right across from it and it’s just looking at me.”

RELATED: Toronto Wildlife Centre capture coyote wandering in Scarborough: ‘This is not a happy ending’

The roaming pack of coyotes has residents afraid to walk alone at night, or walk their smaller dogs, and some have resorted to carrying sticks or bats for fear of an attack.

The director of Toronto Animal Services says most coyotes don’t interact with the public, but are more likely to if they are being fed.

“We have had reports in this area, where there has been intentional feeding going on,” says Esther Attard. “We are trying to work to identify who the feeder is, and get them to stop.”

The pack of wild canines have been spotted around hanging around James Culnan Catholic Elementary School — residents say someone has been leaving meat out for the animals.

“They’re guarding their food source,” says another area resident. “Now that they are being regularly fed by this person, they are congregating here.”

Signs have been posted in the neighbourhood asking people to stop feeding the animals.

In the event of encountering a coyote on the street, animal services say the the best things to do are:

  • make yourself look bigger to scare them off
  • keep small pets on a leash
  • don’t run, but walk away from them.

Toronto Animal Services, the Toronto Wildlife Centre, and Coyote Watch Canada are hosting a virtual meeting on Thursday night for residents in the area.

In the summer, a 10-year-old girl walking her dog was chased by a coyote in the city’s east end, but Attard says this is an extremely rare case.

The young girl had been on a walk with the family dog in a neighbourhood park when the pair were chased by a coyote in broad daylight near Warden Avenue and St. Clair Avenue East. The small dog suffered multiple bite wounds resulting from what evolved into a vicious attack.

Experts say the coyotes comfort level around people grew as residents repeatedly fed him, it got “to the point where his behaviour was no longer considered acceptable by City officials.”

With files from CityNews reporters Carl Hanstke and James Mackin

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