After another string of coyote sightings and the gruesome discovery of a dismembered cat paw, residents are more concerned than ever for the safety of their pets.
Within a period of one week, Beach resident Lorna Houston claimed her neighbours had reported four different sightings near her home on Norway Avenue and Elmer Road, one of which ended in tragedy.
“I was the one who found the paw of the cat,” she said.
The cat had belonged to her neighbour. Their only hope after finding what was left of the pet was “that it went quickly,” she said.
With stories like the one above circulating around the Beach, some are still questioning why more hasn’t been done.
Tammy Robbinson, who works with Animal Services at the City of Toronto, explained that “usually the city won’t step in other than education unless the coyote has harmed or bitten a human.”
And with regard to catching the coyote, there are two big problems, said Nathalie Karvonen of the Toronto Wildlife Centre. “One is that they are almost impossible to catch. Almost impossible.”
“If you recall with the Neville Park coyote situation there were attempts for months and months to catch that coyote. They hired a trapper, Toronto Animal Services was on the job 24/7, and they never caught it. And they spent huge amounts of money and they never caught it,” she continued.
“And then number two, even if you could catch the coyote, it still doesn’t change the fact that the habitat is perfect coyote habitat. It is a ravine system, it does connect to another system and it is exactly the area where coyotes should be living,” she said.
Karvonen added that even if they were able to catch the coyote, residents should be aware that they would only do so in an effort to treat it if it was sick and release it back in the Beach once its health had improved.
This action “is actually required by law,” she said.
When it comes to pets, experts say the best method for dealing with these coyotes is to be vigilant in supervising them.
Elizabeth Glibbery from Toronto Animal Services said, “people [need to] be on the alert that there are coyotes that live in that area, that have lived in that area for decades, and that they’re not to leave their small pets out unsupervised.”
“Bottom line though,” said Glibbery. “As soon as a coyote becomes threatening to a human, they’re to call 911 immediately and police will respond.”