David and Clara Fawcett are concerned for the lives of the animals that live on their farm and for their family member’s lives.
The couple has lived on 10 acres in Maple Ridge with their family for the past five years, and say the coyote problem is so out of hand someone is going to get seriously hurt.
Since August they have lost two dogs and a pot-bellied piglet to the ever growing coyote population, and they fear the worst is still to come.
Last Thursday when the family came home they found a couple of their pigs running around free in the yard and heard some of them screaching.
“I don’t know what’s going to be next.”
The family is very concerned about the lack of action from the Conservation Office.
Clara say officers have not been out to her home to find out what’s going on.
“They have not ever showed their face around here, not even a phone call back,” she says.
“They phoned be back after when I phoned and reported that a coyote had taken my dog Nina, and nothing, I haven’t heard nothing from them since. Repeated phone calls, repeated phone calls.”
She says Conservation has told her this is not a big deal.
“Very frustrating because I’m an animal lover, these are my family. I’ve never lost an animal before and in four months I’ve lost three. It’s horrible,” says Clara.
She says on Sunday there were at least eight coyotes around her house. “I’m worried about it going after one of my kids or my husband or my mom or my dad. Anymore of my animals. Because it’s not fair and it’s not right. I know that we live here and I understand that we live in their world. They’re going to come, they’re going to pass through, they’re going to do whatever, but something has to be done to warn them away and they’re not doing anything about it.”
“My kids won’t go outside unless they’ve got a pipe or something in their hand because they’re scared to death.”
“Everybody thinks it’s a joke, it’s not a joke,” says Clara.
“It’s to the point where you don’t sleep at night, you just listen for the dogs to bark,” adds David.
The couple just want Conservation Officers to come out and trap the animals.
“Obviously they’re getting overpopulated out here,” says Clara. “Or there are too many city people moving out here and they’re not taking enough precautions and they’re leaving their garbage out or something.”
Conservation officer Jack Trudgian says the amount of calls about coyotes have gone up 50 per cent this year compared to last year so there are many more of them around.
“The amount of coyotes in the Lower Mainland, it doesn’t take much for the population to increase,” he says.
There are a number of things people can do to prevent coyotes from coming on to their property.
Trudgian says bring your animals inside at night and supervise them when they are outside.
“The most important is to have a secure fence line that the coyote can’t get over or under,” he says. “If you have a good six-foot fence, coyotes usually dig over or under, so make sure that you bury that fence at least a foot into the ground so that a coyote can’t get into that area.”
He also says residents can hire people from BC Trap Association come out and set traps for the animals.
The Conservation Officer Service cannot possibly respond to the more than 1,000 calls they have had this year, says Trudigan.
“Anywhere you are in the Lower Mainland you can expect to see a coyote.”
The best thing to do if anyone sees a coyote is to try and scare it away and make as much noise as possible.
“People got to remember we do not relocate coyotes, if we go on a call it’s got to be for a public safety nature, that coyote will be destroyed.”
He adds that they will only respond to coyote calls if the coyote is injured and can’t care for itself, if it’s a public safety issue, or if the animal is caught in an enclosed area.