3rd coyote identified in recent resident attacks ‘eliminated,’ Burlington says

A pair of coyotes hunting at dawn in California. (Credit Image: © Rory Merry/ZUMA Wire). Rory Merry/ZUMA Wire

The city of Burlington says a third coyote, connected with recent unprovoked attacks on residents, was “eliminated” Tuesday morning in a joint safety operation.

Animal services, along with Halton Police, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and a certified wildlife control professional, have been tracking coyotes believed to be at the centre of seven unprovoked attacks in the city.

“The coyotes were identified based on feedback and descriptions received from the residents that were attacked,” the city said in a statement on its latest action.

The news comes just a day after wildlife staff confirmed the elimination of a second coyote on Monday.

The city is still preaching vigilance from residents and urging the public to continue reporting sightings of the animals online.

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Staff are also warning residents that the multi-agency task force may venture into neighbourhoods with the operation and is urging residents “not interfere.”

The city has been on alert since mid-September following the activation of a crisis management team to respond to attacks with the latest midday on Saturday at Lakeshore near Tuck Creek when a woman was bitten in the knee while resting in her backyard.

The city’s director of building and bylaw updated council on Tuesday saying their task force engagement is key in a pair of areas, addressing illegal feeding and acting on reported sightings.

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Nick Anastasopoulos told councillors the team procured and are installing lids on garbage cans within areas of concern in the city to combat birds and other small rodents from accessing refuse.

“Coyotes do not consume the garbage or the litter specifically, what they do consume are the small rodents or other wildlife that are attracted to these garbage areas,” Anastasopoulos said.

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“We need to ensure that wildlife is not conditioned in accessing our garbage waste, but they go back to their natural habitats and find their own food sources in forested areas and ravines.”

He went on to say consultations with the MNRF suggested the attacks may be that of a family of coyotes.

Wildlife experts with the province suggest “learned behaviours” are likely the cause of the incidents. They say the animals may become conditioned to being comfortable with direct human interaction and depending on residents for food.

Council approves pursuit of fine increases related to feeding of wildlife

Councillors voted in favour of staff recommendations to pursuit increased fines related to illegal hand-feeding or ground-feeding wildlife on private or public property and illegal dumping on Tuesday.

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Burlington’s manager of bylaw enforcement said some of the adjustments would require approval from a senior regional justice.

The updated bylaws now allow animal control officers the discretion to issue tickets of $300, up from the previously $150.

They can also opt to issue a court summons with an increased fine range from $500 up to a maximum of $100,000 for a “serious offence” or repeat offenders.

Staff also clarified that the feeding offences do not include bird feeders providing they are “maintained and contained” in a manner that keeps the area clean so not attract rodents.

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