Oakville gets coyote messaging right at public meeting

Oakville Town staff, the local animal control agency, and even a nearby rehabber had a clear message for residents and the media: it’s time to learn to live with coyotes.

The growing bedroom community of Oakville, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, held a highly-attended meeting regarding coyotes, the Oakville Beaver reported this week. It is not the first meeting for Oakville on the subject, as conflict situations have arisen in the past several years. In this meeting, however, no punches were pulled.

“We know that people are feeding them on purpose,” said Donna Doyle, a representative for the Town of Oakville. “We’ve also got people, who are letting their pets play with the coyotes in their backyards. They’re training them… We do have a coyote here that will chase a ball for you. It is quite disturbing actually.”

Disturbing is a mild word, in our opinions, particularly when a story earlier in the week noted a coyote – the one named by neighbourhood residents as ‘Blondie’ – allegedly approached and growled at a high school student.

This behavior makes sense, however, as animal control officers have reported that students at the local high school feed the coyotes in the area – to the point that the coyote known as Blondie shows up nearly daily at 12:30 pm.

“It is hugely important that we educate [students] on why we cannot continue to do this,” the Oakville Beaver reported Oakville & Milton Humane Society officer Laura Mackasey as saying. “We have tried. They don’t seem to have a care about anything we have to say, but hopefully if they hear it often enough, that this is a death sentence for this coyote, hopefully they will stop.”

The plan for the animal control agents is to continue chasing after the coyotes in hopes of catching them for rehabilitation due to their behaviour; or, at the very least, haze the coyotes and reverse the behaviours students have taught them. Police officials noted that repeated behaviour they deem aggressive could result in the death of the neighbourhood coyote.

All parties involved agreed, very clearly, that removing coyotes from the area isn’t an option because it simply isn’t possible. And all parties stressed that it is up to residents to learn to live with coyotes.

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