Action needed on coyote attacksTo the editor:
Kings Mill Park has been my backyard for almost four years. I walk my dog every morning and every evening in those woods, regardless of weather. Encounters with deer and fox, racoons and even coyotes, have been lovely experiences. But one Saturday last month was not one of those. My 80-pound dog was attacked by two coyotes out of the blue. It happened four feet in front of me. I went 'alpha' on the whole mess and my dog came to me and heeled immediately. I made a loud threatening gesture toward the male coyote who was head-down fixated on my dog. He backed off, I leashed my dog and we firmly left the woods. The male coyote followed us all the way out. I was no sooner on the road before a man, putting his dogs in his car, said to be careful in there as he heard a woman and her large dog were stalked the night prior. Two days later a man stops several of us with dogs and tells how his two Golden Retrievers were attacked by two coyotes that Sunday morning. I phoned The Ministry of Natural Resources who tried to tell me they weren't coyotes but dogs. Sorry, I work with dogs, these were not dogs. Then I called Toronto Animal Services. I was the third person to call her about these coyotes. They're attacking large dogs from behind to bring them down! My 80 pound, two-and-a-half-year-old female dog had a loonie-sized, open wound, on the upper inside of her hind leg. I was then told since my dog had been bitten, she needed to be quarantined and disease control had to be alerted - even though my dog is well vaccinated.
Wow. This isn't about racoons in my attic. Coyotes are attacking large dogs - not Shih Tzus in Kings Mill Park! I called Parks and Recreation and they seemed at least interested in what I had to say. I insisted that there is an immediate need for signs notifying the public of unusual coyote behaviour. He agreed and said he'd get right on it. Then I get a call from Canadian Food Inspection. I once again began the story. He naturally asked about my dog's vaccines and I agreed to fax him the certificates of vaccination. He was at least understanding of my situation and my frustration at the lack of action. He also mentioned that he personally hadn't seen a rabies case, other than a bat, in seven years. However, in spite of three years of vaccinations, my dog must be under observation for 45 days. Still not a sign in the park. No official has appeared to investigate. Whose child has to be bitten before the powers that be take this seriously? I want us all to get along too, but attacking my dog is highly irregular behaviour for a coyote and someone needs to address this now. We need to take back our park. If officials won't do anything, perhaps we the people can.
*This was a letter to the editor of Inside Toronto