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City urges vigilance after dog snatched, killed by aggressive coyote in southwest Calgary

A coyote captured by local Calgary photographer Chris Gibbs. Courtesy: Chris Gibbs

The City of Calgary is warning pet owners to be extra vigilant when taking their pets outdoors after an aggressive coyote grabbed a dog and killed it over the weekend.

Parks Conservation Policy Team lead Steven Snell said a dog owner in the Strathcona neighbourhood had let her dog out for a potty break at around 10:30 p.m. Sunday when it was snatched by the coyote.

“The coyote entered the yard through a neighbour’s yard, jumped over the fence and took off. We have a consultant that we have been working with… We understood that it was nighttime and that was a key indicator that the coyote might have been a visitor of the area,” Snell said.

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Coyote sightings within city limits are not uncommon but attacks on humans and pets are quite rare, Snell said.

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Aggressive coyotes are dealt with on a case-by-case basis – but primarily the city investigates why the animal is drawn to the area and if warranted, will haze the animal to deter it away from the area. In other extreme cases, the animal could be euthanized.

“There will always be coyotes in Calgary, so how can we act when we’re in our parks so we’re coexisting?” Snell said. “Coyotes are opportunistic — they’re going to be moving through the habitat as coyotes do and if an opportunity presents itself, a coyote might approach.”

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The Facebook page YYC Pet Recovery has more than 38,000 followers, primarily sharing information on lost and found pets.

The group also posts notices about animal sightings and encounters. According to member Ashley Hall, there has been an increase in warnings posted.

“I’ve been with the page for over a year and I have seen an increase in PSAs we put out. We generally share [the warnings] and make sure the general public knows what’s going on,” Hall said.
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The city said it receives hundreds of reports of coyotes per month, the majority of which are observations and not encounters. Officials say if you do encounter a coyote, make loud noises to scare it away. All coyote sightings should be reported 3-1-1.

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