Coyote Concerns Collingwood
April 22, 2018
- Informed residents are faced with a serious issue in Collingwood;
- Wild urban habituated coyotes/coywolves/coy-dogs are roaming at large in Collingwood – attacking and killing pets – greatly affecting the enjoyment of our private properties and public space – streets, trails and parks
- A simple but controversial solution is to remove urban coyotes from Collingwood,
- The complication is that many people including our government think coexistence is the solution – governments tend to follow this script,
- Coyote advocates want coyotes protected,
- Animal advocates and activists want wildlife (in general) protected,
- The issue is, does Collingwood protect urban coyotes and live with the threat and consequences (more attacks and killings of pets, restricted freedom and reduced enjoyment of life) or remove the urban coyotes.
- coyote sightings report Aug 24 – Feb 17 Collingwood_0001
Why Is The Coyote Issue So Complicated
- Concept of coexistence vs conflicting with the necessity of cities – human habitat for human safety including domestic pets,
- Harming wildlife vs dangerous coyote (wildlife) devastating enjoyable wildlife in cities,
- Problem is – over population of coyotes – leads to growing territories and urban coyotes – problem is not people providing food sources to attract coyotes to cities,
- Hazing of coyotes is effective with short term encounters but not long term ,
- Education is needed on the real issues – over population of coyotes, new breeds of coyotes, threat, danger, damage from coyotes, pet attacks and pet killings, how to responsibly remove coyotes,
- Residents/taxpayers do not have a meaningful voice in government policy – vote every 4 years – government is not held accountable for policy,
- Coyote and Animal advocates and activists – organized to have a strong voice (misleading voice to win their cause) – attach to a misinformed ideal,
- Residents have no advocates in this matter, government is setting policy on information from coyote advocates- dismissing residents,
- Residents – pay their taxes – are too busy in life to get engaged with government decisions – safety and enjoyment of life in Collingwood is a good cause to support. Please get informed and engaged.
- Coyotes are legally hunted and trapped to control population – thousands are harvested in North America annually like many wild animals including deer,
- Protecting a few coyotes in Collingwood is beyond logic and negligent policy – the consequences are staggering in damages to safe guard pets and children. Impact on the enjoyment of life in Collingwood.
Ideas For Discussion
- New leadership and new direction to address coyote concerns,
- Try to work with staff and Council,
- Residents meet with Council members – understand what it would take to get their vote – how many petitions, how many dead pets, how much damage.
- Resident awareness
- Hand out Coyote Concerns Collingwood – information cards,
- Ask residents to sign petition,
- Pubic Relations
- Take out an editorial on Coyote Concerns in local paper,
- Hire a PR firm – possible pro-bono
- Removing coyotes as residents,
- Legal action
Ideas – Coyote Concerns Message
- Too much information to understand the issue,
- Key message summarizing the coyote problem,
- Video resident perspective
- Create a YouTube channel
- Post on https://www.facebook.com/groups/CoyoteConcernsCollingwood/
- Post on https://www.coyoteconcernscollingwood.com/
- Share in social media campaign,
- Share with media.
- Email campaign to Collingwood Town Council and Staff,
- February 9, 2018 I sent an email to Supervisor Parks Dept – concern over coyotes in my area of Collingwood,
- Responded that he forward my email to By-law dept.,
- By-law department responded at length;
- In general the Town of Collingwood does not control or provide any service for wildlife. Good insight in dealing with encounters with coyotes.
- I started a journey to try and get the Town of Collingwood to acknowledge a coyote problem and deal with it,
- Approximately 150 emails exchanged with the Town of Collingwood regarding coyote concerns,
- Freedom of Information Request with the Town of Collingwood to try and establish the level of coyote sightings and complaints, and the 2015 Police shooting of a dog mistaken as a coyote.
- March 01, 2018 created. https://www.coyoteconcernscollingwood.com/
- Over 22,000 pages of information have been shared,
- Interest from around the world – Toronto very interested,
- Resident perspective while also sharing government information such as coexistence preventative measures to avoid coyote conflict,
- Open and transparent with information but a clear bias to removing coyotes,
- March 02, 2018 created Facebook group to bring residents together to discuss this issue, https://www.facebook.com/groups/CoyoteConcernsCollingwood/
- 254 approved members
- March 02, 2018 petition was created on Change.org.
- 387 supporters to remove coyotes from Collingwood
- I have reached out to many other stakeholders;
- MNRF, (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry)
- Trappers and hunters,
- Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program,
- Many others – trying to get perspective on what the problem is and what can be done,
- Many more emails
- April 22, 2018 created a YouTube Channel to share video on the impact of urban habituated coyotes in Collingwood.https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMk0SZhi8VxsRsiykQCHkbA?view_as=subscriber
- What has been accomplished through Coyote Concerns Collingwood?
- Awareness of both sides of the argument,
- Support system for concerned residents – sharing concerns,
- Research and education,
- Help people get informed to deal with their safety and to take action,
- Compiling information to build a case to remove coyotes from Collingwood,
- Initiated action by residents to put pressure on the Town of Collingwood,
- Media coverage,
- Town has taken notice of the coyote concerns issue,
- Coyote concerns Collingwood is now on the Council agenda with no meaningful action to date,
- Unfortunately I have had to be aggressive -Causing a strained relationship with the Town,
- They are in damage control vs policy change,
- Unfortunately – Town of Collingwood is not interested in working with me or residents in general to find a solution.
- Corporate & Community Standing Services Committee Meeting April 9, 2018.
- A number of residents came forward with their stories of pet attacks, pet killing, threat impact to their daily life and other concerns,
- We had a small success – we recorded on file what the impact these urban coyotes were having on our lives – attack and loss of pets and loss of enjoyment of life,
- We had support to remove the threat in East Collingwood – it was determined there was an immediate threat that needed action,
- Staff Report C2018-10 was not passed – amended with direction to take action
- Council Meeting 04-12-2018.
- Committee position was not shared by Council,
- Councillor Lloyd’s efforts/motion to deal with immediate threat was defeated by Council,
- Council supported Staff Report 2018-10 of coexistence with some gray support of dealing with threat,
- Town is taking action.
- Problem is the action they are taking supports coexistence,
- They have aligned with Coyote Watch Canada to sell in coexistence – appearance at Council meetings, Living with Coyotes Information session,
- Coyote Watch Canada did their “investigation” in East Collingwood
- Reported no sign of coyotes – no threat
- They have raised concerns over the feeding of wildlife in the area
- Town of Collingwood By-law officers investigated Georgian Manor Dr – Thursday April 19th.
- The Mayor of Collingwood appeared on local radio – coexistence is the plan
- Staff will report back to Council by April 30 on their assessment of the threat in East Collingwood.
- It appears the focus of staff findings will be the wildlife feeding charade.
- Next Steps.
- This initiative is now at a critical stage,
- We have many pieces in place to have more impact,
- It is going to take more people for this to succeed,
- I need to get others involved,
- I want to share some thinking with you to help this movement succeed – many hours of research have been shared and much more.
Terms to Understand
- There is a lot of misinformation which causes confusion – we need to think in a broader way and with new information;
- Coyotes in the wild
- Urban Coyotes
- Habituated Coyotes
- Nuisance or problem coyotes
- Coy dogs
- In the wild
- In urban centers
- Dangerous wildlife
- Enjoyable wildlife
- Definition: The natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism.
- The streets of Collingwood and our yards – is not habitat for coyotes.
- Definition: A person’s usual or preferred surroundings.
- An urban center such as Collingwood vs the wooded areas surrounding Collingwood.
- In concept it makes sense – misleading in the context of dangerous wild animals in urban centers,
- In the wild with wildlife,
- In urban centers with enjoyable wildlife,
- In urban centres with dangerous wildlife.
- “Threat to public safety” – Police will act
- “Animal posing nuisance or threat to inhabitants” – Town of Collingwood by-law 94-17 – animal can be destroyed,
- “Damaging your property or threat to damaging property” – Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry – criteria to remove wildlife,
- “Threat” – a person or thing likely to cause damage or danger,
- “Danger” – the possibility of suffering harm or injury.
- This is a term commonly used in coyote coexistence programs,
- The concept is to make coyotes afraid of people by scaring them away,
- Make loud sounds, throw things at them,
- Make them feel unwelcome so they do not come back,
- Recommended that you vary the hazing so coyotes do not get accustom to one approach and become non threatened by the hazing,
- There is no question hazing should be used if you are confronted with a coyote in a urban center or in the wild,
- People should not have to apply hazing frequently in a city,
ØIf coyotes are wildlife people want in their communities then why do we want to scare them away – a contradiction – make them unwelcome so they don’t come back?
ØHow is this enjoyable experience with wildlife – defeats logic,
ØReality is urban coyotes are not going away – they are habituated and fearless of people,
ØThere is a contradiction that coyotes are a normal occurrence in cities – logically we are not successful in scaring them away – we have failed in making them feel unwelcome,
ØHazing has not worked in the long term– we want to scare them away because they are unpredictable wild animals – this makes them dangerous,
ØThere are so many situations in which hazing will not be effective; small children, elderly, disabled or handicap individuals – this type of defense does not work for many including visitors who are unaware of the coyote problem,
ØHazing as the defense from urban coyotes long term is a formula for failure; if we do not remove coyotes.
Coyote Population Problem
- Population of coyotes are controlled by;
- Government trapping and hunting,
- In Ontario the Ministry of National Resources and Forestry licenses trappers and hunters and sets the hunting and trapping seasons,
- Age mortality,
- Territorial fights,
- Predators – bears, wolves,
- Accidents – hit by a car etc.
- Population is not effectively controlled – as coyote territories are expanding,
- Fallout is coyotes taking over new territories such as cities,
- Government failed population control response is coexistence,
- Coyote territories continue to expand;
Coyote Territory is Expanding
Coyotes are Harvested
Coyote Control Management
- Some communities have taken population control management.
- Compensation programs to trap and hunt coyotes,
- Coyote bounties – an incentive to control population,
- Some cities have brought trappers in to deal with the urban coyote problem,
- Trapper removed 17 coyotes. Cost $1,800.00. Council votes to trap after 68 complaints.
- In North Carolina in 2017 45,568 coyotes were hunted and 6,337 trapped
Coyote Fur Trade – A Reality
- Reality is that animals such as coyotes are trapped and hunted as a business – coyotes are harvested like many animals,
- It is legal and necessary for population control,
- “North American Fur Auctions (NAFA) is the second largest fur auction house in the world, and the largest in North America, with a tradition of excellence stretching back to 1670 and its Hudson’s Bay Company roots”,
- North American fur trappers, have up to four major fur auctions throughout the year in Toronto, Canada,
- February 2018 North American Fur Auction – 73,000 coyotes were sold,
- Prices from $20.00 to $106.00 per coyote,
- There is a very healthy population of coyotes,
- I understand there are over 2,800,000 deer hunted annually in North America to control the deer population.
- In concept; coexistence sounds like the right thing to do.
- Many people accept this concept,
- Attracts activists, advocates and many people to petitions,
- Protect wildlife – many people attach to this cause – the right thing to do,
- Actually, by protecting “dangerous wildlife” – urban coyotes in Collingwood, this position is leading to the devastation of enjoyable wildlife,
- How do we inform people of this contradiction?
- We need to educate the coexistence advocates – beyond a slogan or uninformed emotion,
- Think back to what coexistence means in the wild vs in urban centers,
- Coexistence has it consequences.
- Coyotes will kill pets,
- See pets as source of food,
- Pets can be considered competition for a territory,
- People are logically at risk; small children and people in the way of a coyote attack, or walking into a situation in which a coyote defends itself.
Pro Arguments for Urban Habituated Coyotes
- Governments and advocates build their case on support that suggests;
People destroy habitat,
- “Urban boundary expansion creates a loss of habitat and green spaces for wildlife. Coyotes and other wildlife species must adjust to their ever-changing world and may be forced to establish new territories to hunt and forage for sustenance; dens are destroyed through development activities and the resilient coyote responds to these environmental impacts”,
ØScience has shown that coyotes have actually been expanding their territories.
ØHabitat destruction is a case but is it not that significant. How many coyotes live on a 100 acre farm being developed for a subdivision?
ØThere are consequences to development,
ØMore people = less wildlife area,
ØThis is how the world has evolved from dinosaurs to cities –sad reality for animals – important for people to have space to live also.
Coyotes are necessary for the ecosystem.
ØThis argument is relevant in the wild but not in urban centers such as Collingwood,
ØWe have fox, eagles and hawks providing a balanced ecosystem in Collingwood,
ØWe do not have a rabbit problem in Collingwood and if we did would we call on coyotes to deal with it?
ØCoyotes have killed many cats which will effect our mice population control,
ØOver population of coyotes will lead to an imbalance,
- Farmers are reporting this fact.
Coyotes are unlikely to harm people.
- Stats support that there are few fatal coyote attacks on people,
ØStats do not show the number of attacks on people,
ØMany reported attacks on people are in the media – not part of advocate information,
ØHow many attacks on people are not reported in the media?
Coyotes commonly attack small dogs.
- Advocates of coexistence acknowledge this fact,
ØThey do not track or publish the number of pet attacks or killings, as they accept this as normal behaviour of coyotes,
ØThey actually take the position there is often no proof that a coyote killed the pet or is responsible for the many missing pets.
Trapping or relocating coyotes is not a feasible approach in urban environments.
- Relocation in Ontario is limited to 1 km and release – not feasible as they have a large range and will return.
- Trapping issues appear to focus on collateral damage – a reasonable concern
ØThere are trapping techniques which can minimize or eliminate damage to other animals such as dogs off of leash, raccoons etc.
ØTrapping gets a lot of bad press and some is warranted but a responsible city could succeed by trapping responsibly.
ØTrappers are not respected but provide an important service and are a good source of information.
Ø Trapping is commonly the solution when government and police want to remove coyotes,
ØPolice in other markets have shot coyotes after attacks – attacks on dogs.
Trapping can increase the population.
- “Experience and scientific evidence has shown that when coyotes are removed from a population, breeding rates go up significantly, and it would take the sustained removal of at least 75 per cent of the population on an annual basis to have any impact on numbers”,
ØIf we do not control coyote population because it is difficult, we create an out of control situation which we are currently experiencing in Collingwood,
ØIf we need to deal with future removal of coyotes again. then more trapping should be the strategy,
ØWe have not had this problem before so let’s return to the past and see what happens in the future .
People provide food.
- They can always win on this argument,
- “Overflowing bird feeders, mishandled compost and fallen fruit attract a diverse range of prey species such as rodents, squirrels, chipmunks and insects, which coyotes will utilize as food”,
ØIronically – we are not supposed to feed wildlife – birds, squirrels, rabbits as they are food for coyotes – therefore it is clear coyotes actually kill enjoyable wildlife in Collingwood,
ØAdvocates use this argument to distract from the consequences of coexistence – blame residents for the coyote problem.
Role of Coyote Advocates
- Coyote advocates strategy;
- Motivated to protect coyotes,
- Motivated to fight hard to keep coyotes in urban centers,
- Motivated to dismiss attacks on pets and the rights of people to have a safe environment for their pets,
- They have a formula; (used by Coyote Watch Canada – Coyote Advocate)
- “Investigation” – visit the site of incidents and/or concern,
- Find sources of food provided by residents, (dog poop, bird seed – or they are not specific – only trying to point the figure at people – create suspicion)
- Change the focus to the fault of residents rather then coyotes.
- Get media attention – the go-to government tool to spread the word that coexistence is the solution to avoid dealing with the coyote problem (to protect coyotes)
Resident Advocates – Needed
- Problem in resolving this is there is not resident advocates,
- The coyote advocates are very vocal – organization such as Coyote Watch Canada; the go-to group to protect coyotes – to educate people to coexist – often trying to blame people for coyote issues – “investigations” always point to people making food available, (food will always be in cities)
- The wildlife advocates are very organized and vocal.
- Residents by nature do not organize, protest or become activists
- Difficult to get people engaged.
- Not in my backyard attitude– or does not affect me – then people don’t care.
- The use of class action lawsuits has been an effective tool to fight for many individual peoples rights – a way of advocating for people.
Pet Advocates – Needed
- Many cats are missing and killed when coyotes are around,
- Owners become isolated parties without an influential voice,
- Pet dogs are attacked and killed,
- We do not know how many pets have been attacked and killed when coyotes are active in an area,
- This is cruelty to animals,
- But who is fighting this issue for pets?
- Pets have the right to safety on their own property and public space,
- People should be able to let their pets out on their own property without fear of it being snatched by coyotes at large and known to be in the area,
- People are sad and left holding vet bills – upset but what can they do?
- There is a wildlife damage compensation fund for livestock but not pets.
Politics – Setting Misguided Policy
- Politics is unfortunately an important part of this discussion
- There appears to be more support to not hurt “wildlife” based on misinformation on protecting “wildlife”,
- Are we really talking about the same issue? Coyotes are devasting wildlife in Collingwood. Three coyotes frequently in East Collingwood over the past three months have found food to survive – not bird seed and dog poop – devasting rabbits, swans, squirrels, birds…
- Everyone has the right to their opinion and vote,
- Where is the logic to vote for coyotes rights over taxpayers rights?
- Are our elected officials doing their job to protect the residents and their pets in Collingwood?
- Council appears to be “rubber stamping” the staff report C2018-10 for policy without resident input but with lots of input from coexistence models elsewhere,
- Our elected officials are not acting on our behalf by adopting policy from other cities and ignoring the rights and representation of Collingwood residents.
- Actions of government and people cannot and should not cause damage to others.
- By preventing the removal of coyotes – pets and possibly children are at risk,
- Government and coyote activists are interfering with our safety in order to protect a few coyotes,
- How are these people damaged from the removal of coyotes in Collingwood?
- They will enjoy more wildlife in Collingwood,
- Their pets will be safer,
- Their children and grand-children will be safer,
- Their neighbors and neighbors pets will be safer,
- The quality and enjoyment of life in Collingwood will return and improve.
- How are we damaged by coyotes roaming at large in Collingwood?
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- We do not use our properties and public space the way we have in the past
- Loss of pets
- Costs to protect our pets,
- Fences (replacing wireless fencing)
- Motion lights,
- Hazing tools.
- Property values deteriorate in unsafe neighborhoods,
- Loss of tourism,
- Loss of current and future residents.
- The courts are not influenced by advocates, activists or political votes,
- There are legal issues related to coexistence coyote policy,
- Harboring coyotes in Collingwood.
- Contravenes Collingwood Animal Control by-laws in principle and within the actual by-law,
- Negligence from policy which creates a danger and damages,
- Causes damages of “loss of enjoyment to life” in Collingwood,
- MNRF (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) regulates coyote population through hunting and trapping regulations,
- MNRF is accountable for over population of coyotes problem,
- Need to put the Town of Collingwood on notice of the threat, danger and loss of enjoyment of life in Collingwood.
- The Town of Collingwood approves policy recommended by Staff Reports
- Staff Report C2018-10 recommended coexistence with coyotes based on policy from government policies – not residents.
- I tried to table a “Resident Report” to set policy on behalf of residents.
- Push harder with more resident input and pressure to propose and table with Staff and Council.
What Are You Prepared to Do?
- Take all necessary precautions to try and stay safe,
- Living with a real threat that dangerous unpredictable urban coyotes are around your area,
- Give up on removing urban coyotes,
- Fight the fight of your life with the government and coyote advocates – you pay taxes to work for you and in your best interests.
- Affidavit – written sworn statement for evidence in court. To confirm the loss of enjoyment of life caused by urban coyotes in Collingwood, damages to your pet, damages incurred to protect yourself and pet.
AFFIDAVIT Of “your full legal name”
I: “full legal name”, of the Town of Collingwood, Province of Ontario, make oath and say as follows.
1. I am a property owner in Collingwood and pay taxes in Collingwood. (or resident, or visitor)
2 .I have been made aware of the threat and danger from coyotes roaming at large in Collingwood.
3.I realize the Town of Collingwood has been asked to remove coyotes from Collingwood and has failed to act. A petition of over 385 people have asked the Town of Collingwood to remove coyotes. I participated in this petition.
4.The presence of coyotes has altered my live in Collingwood causing a loss of enjoyment of life.
5.I have incurred damages are a result of the continued presence of coyotes in Collingwood.
SWORN BEFORE ME at the town of
Collingwood, Ontario this ___ day of
Commissioner for Taking Affidavits “full legal name”
(or as may be)