Scarborough residents raise alarm over increased coyote sightings after recent dog attack

Click to play video: 'Global News crew spots coyote involved in dog attack'
Global News crew spots coyote involved in dog attack
WATCH ABOVE: Just a few days after a dog was attacked by a coyote, Global News cameras caught the same coyote appearing to chase a man on a scooter. As Caryn Lieberman reports, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Wildlife Centre are reminding people not to feed coyotes – Jul 23, 2021

Residents in a Scarborough neighbourhood are voicing concerns around increased coyote sightings, just days after a six-year-old Yorkshire Terrier was injured in an attack.

Ten-year-old Lily Kwan had taken her dog, Macy, for a walk Tuesday morning near St. Claire and Warden avenues, when a the coyote approached her and the dog.

“I was walking Macy in the morning and I was just at the park and I saw this coyote walking up to us. … I panicked,” she said.

READ MORE: Coyote bites another Stanley Park jogger a week after 4 of the animals put down

“I tried to pull my dog over to me to try and pick her up but I thought that wasn’t a good idea because the coyote might jump on me and maybe, I would probably be in the hospital too.”

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Kwan said she believed her dog was trying to protect her from the wild animal.

“This coyote tried to grab her from me and she kept pulling to try and get the coyote, to try and save me. She’s a really brave dog. … It was very terrifying.”

The attack was caught on home security video and shows Kwan running away from the coyote. The wild animal can be seen lunging towards the Yorkie as she attempts to defend herself.

Kwan is heard in the video screaming for help and at one point the coyote is seen holding the Yorkie in its mouth.

Kwan’s mother, Dorothy Kwan, said the dog was taken to an animal hospital to be treated for her wounds and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for the dog’s medical bills.

Click to play video: 'Reporter and camera-operator witnesses coyote run after man in Scarborough neighbourhood'
Reporter and camera-operator witnesses coyote run after man in Scarborough neighbourhood

Dorothy said many residents in the area feel unsafe because of the increased coyote sightings.

“I would have never thought that we wouldn’t be able to feel safe walking in our own neighbourhood,” she said.

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“My daughter and I used to walk our dog late at night; we don’t do that anymore.”

While interviewing Kwan about the coyote encounter on Thursday, Global News captured video of a coyote approaching a man on a scooter.

During the interview, a man in the background could be seen crashing his scooter into a car and jumping on the hood of the vehicle in an attempt to avoid a coyote.

READ MORE: ‘Keep your pets indoors’: Canadians report increased coyote sightings during pandemic

It’s unclear if the coyote is the same animal involved in the attack that happened earlier in the week.

“We call and they say, ‘Well, they are not aggressive; somebody is feeding it,'” resident Marie O’Brien told Global News.

“No, we are all under danger, the animal is stalking us and we are not safe.”

Brad Ross, a spokesperson for the City of Toronto, said investigators with animal services attended the Kwan home and information around coyotes will be distributed to people who live in the neighbourhood.

“We are distributing education material to that neighbourhood to make sure that people are armed with good information about how to deal with encounters that they may have with coyotes and how to avoid them,” Ross said, adding, coyotes are part of city’s landscape and sightings are to be expected.

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READ MORE: Four coyotes euthanized after toddler attacked in Stanley Park

“The fact that they are present or even attack or kill a pet doesn’t mean that the coyote will be removed or euthanized. It’s a reality that coyotes exist in the city and we have to manage that existence together, so if a dog is attacked or injured, then animal services will come out and investigate … but simply, a sighting of a coyote, it’s important to have that data but it doesn’t necessitate a visit or a patrol.”

Natalie Karvonen, executive director of the Toronto Wildlife Centre, said the coyote filmed by Global News Thursday night had previously been cared for by the rescue organization and treated for sarcoptic mange.

She said the coyote was collared for a study conducted by the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry and noted feeding by residents has contributed to the animal’s presence.

“We were concerned because he had been fed by people before he came into our centre. Of course, he was never hand-fed at our centre,” Karvonen said.

“It’s been seen by our staff. It’s been seen by our volunteers. The feeding has been seen by security at the cemetery … it’s well documented that he has been fed.”

Korvonen said there is a family group of coyotes that live in the Warden Avenue and St. Clair Avenue East area and that is likely the reason why there have been increased sightings.

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“It’s my understanding that there is a family group in this area that has as many as eight or nine young; that’s a big family group,” she said.

“There might be a perception that the coyote population generally has spiked in the nieghbourhood but what is being seen is really just this big family group. … The young ones should disperse from their territory before too long.”

A statement from the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry said while coyotes are cautious of humans, small pets can be seen as prey.

READ MORE: Toronto Wildlife Centre gives injured animals in GTA fighting chance of survival

“These incidents are unfortunate and we sympathize with those involved. Coyotes are usually wary of humans and are nocturnal but small pets can be seen as prey for coyotes. Homeowners should accompany pets outside,” the statement said.
Macy was released from an animal hospital Friday afternoon and is now at home with her owners.

Meanwhile, Dorothy said she’s been reaching out to the City of Toronto to address the issue.
“For the last few days I have not stopped calling and I have not stopped emailing. I have tried to everything I can. … I think they need to take our concerns seriously. There are coyotes that are aggressive and those ones need to be captured and either euthanized or removed and relocated,” she said.

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“I think [Lily] is still dealing with a lot of emotions; she saw her dog getting attacked and she couldn’t do anything.”

— With files from Caryn Lieberman

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