Town of Oakville implements new Coyote Education and Response Procedure

Tue, 23 Jun 2020

At yesterday’s meeting, town staff provided Council with an update to the town’s coyote management program, which includes a newly developed Coyote Education and Response Procedure and Coyote Response Strategy. The new procedure addresses community concerns regarding the presence of coyotes in residential neighbourhoods and provides a clear strategy for how the town and community partners will respond to situations involving coyotes.

“The Town of Oakville has had a coyote management program in place since 2012 when the Oakville Wildlife Strategy (OWLS) was approved by Council. Coyotes are part of our natural environment and they are here to stay. The new procedure creates a better understanding of coyote behaviour to help residents to feel safe and understand the appropriate responses to coyote encounters. It also provides protocols for the town when responding to coyotes in residential areas,” said Mayor Burton.

Coyotes are commonly found in urban areas such as Oakville. They are usually wary animals and are not considered to be a significant risk to people. However, intentional and unintentional feeding and allowing pets to roam freely contribute to coyotes losing their inhibitions towards people and becoming attracted to residential neighbourhoods.

The new Coyote Education and Response Procedure provides best practices to deter coyotes from approaching people and private property, such as:

Reduce food attractants

  • Never feed or leave food out for a coyote
  • Remove food sources from yards, including birdseed and fruit that has fallen to the ground 
  • Avoid feeding pets outside. If it is necessary, remove bowls and any leftover food from your yard
  • Store garbage, compost and pet food in a place coyotes and other wildlife cannot access
  • Keep garbage in containers with tightfitting lids. Place containers curbside on the morning of collection
  • Do not leave food waste in town garbage cans in parks, as this may attract rodents which may attract coyotes

Reduce risk to pets

  • Do not leave small dogs unattended when in the yard
  • Cats are not permitted to roam freely
  • All pets should be on a leash when off your property

The procedure also lays out the various responsibilities that the town and other community partners will take to respond to various incidents involving coyotes, such as interaction with pets, presence of dens and pups, unusual aggressive behaviour and sick or injured coyotes.

The town’s coyote management plan does not support the use of relocation or removal programs. Removal programs have proven ineffective to reduce coyote populations or address root causes of conflicts. Municipalities must act in accordance with the provincial government’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act which states that captured wildlife must (generally) be returned within 24 hours and within one kilometre of where it was caught. Research shows that coyotes often return to their original location within a short period of time, or are often quickly replaced by transient coyotes looking for a vacant home range.

“The co-existence approach to coyotes and other wildlife such as foxes is based on evidence from wildlife experts as well as proven field experience within local municipalities,” said Selena Campbell, acting director, Municipal Enforcement Services. “With the tools and techniques in our procedure, most negative coyote interactions can be prevented.”

Along with the new Coyote Education and Response Procedure, the town provides a variety of resources and information to residents such as: wildlife page on oakville.ca with tips, facts and a coyote reporting form and mapping feature; a how-to hazing video; social media awareness campaigns; signage where coyotes are known to be active with information on what to do if a coyote is encountered; and public information meetings.

The town will be hosting the next public information meeting on Thursday, June 25 at 6:30 pm. for those wanting to learn more about coyote behaviour and what to do should you encounter them while out in your yard or neighbourhood. You can watch the meeting on the town’s Live Stream page or email enforcement@oakville.ca to receive details on how to log in to participate from your home computer or phone. 

To review the Coyote Education and Response Procedure and Coyote Response Strategy and more wildlife-proofing information, visit our Coyotes page.