A dog has been killed and at least three other pets injured by coyotes in the Fraser Valley recently, prompting a warning from the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
“There has also been several reports of aggressive encounters with coyotes in highly-populated areas, which is not normal behaviour and a public safety risk,” the agency said in a statement Friday.
A small dog was recently killed by a coyote after its owner let it out on their property, the service said. BC COS didn’t go into any further detail of the incident.
This week, however, another small dog was snatched by a coyote after its owner let it out in the yard. The owner managed to pull her dog back inside and rushed it to a local vet. The dog is expected to survive, the agency said.
In another instance, last week, a coyote grabbed a cat and another was seen growling and chasing a cyclist.
“Several recent reports have also surfaced of people encountering coyotes, especially while out walking their dogs,” the agency added.
The Lower Mainland is home to an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 urban coyotes, which moved into the area in the 1980s, according to the BC SPCA. The province does not publicly track coyote conflicts as it does bears and cougars.
Conservation officers suspect that while coyotes may be acting more aggressively because they typically begin looking for a mate around this time of year, it is not normal behaviour for coyotes to attack or chase people – especially larger people, like adults – and is likely due to the animals becoming food conditioned.
“Like other wildlife, coyotes can also be lured into communities due to unsecure attractants such as garbage, pet food and bird seed,” the agency said. “Securing attractants around your home is the best way to prevent human-wildlife conflicts from happening in the first place.”
The Conservation Officer Service is reminding people to discourage coyote conflict by:
- Picking up after your dog and keeping dogs on a leash.
- Not feeding pets outside. If needed, cleaning up any pet food immediately after feeding.
- Not leaving any small pets out unattended for long periods of time, particularly at night.
If a coyote is in the area it is recommend to keep children inside until the animal has left the area, or to pick children up and carry them.
If a person encounters a coyote behaving aggressively to them, BC COS recommends the person make them self appear large, make lots of noise and don’t turn your back on the animal. The person should also use stones or sticks and wave their arms aggressively while maintaining eye contact. If children are in the vicinity they should be picked up and the adult should slowly back away.