Pet owners warned about threat of coyotes in Calgary parks

CALGARY- The warm weather has local dog owners heading to off-leash areas in droves. However, wildlife officials warn that can be risky this time of year, with the threat of coyotes.

“They’re denning right now, so they’re preparing to have their young,” explains fish and wildlife officer Calvin Mazur. “They’re looking for any opportunities for extra food. It is more of a risk for people, especially if you have small pets.”

Back in March, emergency crews in Edmonton had to rescue a woman and her three dogs from a river embankment, after they were surrounded by as many as nine coyotes. While experts say packs that large are unusual in cities, conflicts with pets aren’t.

“I’ve saw them dragging carcasses and I’ve even seen them come up behind my dog and sniff them,” says dog walker Tess Frech. “They’re quite aggressive.”

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An estimated 93 per cent of recorded coyotes bites involve off-leash dogs, according to a University of Calgary study. Officials advise people to keep their pets close, especially in areas where there could be dens.

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