Town of Collingwood Deputation – April 9th, 2018
Coyote Concerns Collingwood
Version 04-02-2018 8:48 am – Revised 04-13-2018
A recent tragic death of a Collingwood family dog named Wally has raised the emotions of residents and created a need for immediate action to remove coyotes.
There is a disconnect, confusion and misinformation with the position to date taken by the Staff and Town of Collingwood regarding the threat of coyotes to safety in Collingwood. Who should deal with this problem and the action required to address residents’ coyote concerns and the demand to remove coyotes from Collingwood must be addressed.
Council has dismissed resident concerns and failed to act to date. Please take the time to read information from a resident’s perspective which clearly contradicts your misguided coexistence policy and campaign to date. Coyotes have killed people, attacked kids, attacked and killed small and large pets. This is happening in Collingwood under your watch or lack of.
Risks associated with Coyotes – media reported attacks;
Government funded materials fail to fairly disclose risk and threats of coyotes by presenting very clear bias to a coexistence strategy. These resources which the Town of Collingwood is relying on, use statements such as ;”Generally speaking the presence of coyotes in urban areas does not pose a dangerous situation or threat to public safety.However, coyotes are wild animals and should be treated accordingly”, ” lt is not uncommon for habituated coyotes to go after small dogs” as noted in “MNRF risk assessment emails.
Town of Collingwood coyote signs have been stating “Coyotes may be present”. There is a reluctance to use the word “danger” as this would imply some action needed to be taken by the Town of Collingwood or that people should be concerned/fearful/threatened or scared.
Is the Town of Collingwood misleading residents and visitors to Collingwood with these signs and website information? Yes. Is this negligent? Yes.
It is a misguided and ineffective policy to try and change the population of 20,000 plus visitors to accommodate the needs of a pack or several packs of coyotes and or coywolves.
The damage associated with this failed policy is substantial. If you value;
- the damage from the loss of pets to families in Collingwood,
- the damage from the loss of enjoyment from the changes residents and pets are expected to make under coexistence policies to restricted use of our properties and public space,
- the damages are high and escalating with further failure to act.
The cost of removing coyotes from Collingwood as needed is minimal (several thousand dollars) in comparison to the damage and threat of damage being done in Collingwood. Residents have been forced to deal with the removal of coyotes at their cost.
The Town of Collingwood Police budget as per the OPP Police Services Agreement is over $5,000,000.00 annually. Based on the 2015 dog shooting incident; police are not responding to coyote threats. The Parks and Recreational Budget to maintain the great trails of Collingwood should address safety considerations for the trails. The by-law office has failed to act and has been silent and ineffective – resources, leadership and capabilities should be reconsidered. To date no action has been taken to remove coyotes. In effective residents have been sent in circles and staff is spending resources to support their predetermined coexistence policy.
If the coyote narrative changes to; coyotes have killed people, have attacked small children, attacked and killed small dogs and large dogs – then you will begin to address coyote concerns seriously and in a very different way. Action to remove coyotes will be the clear policy decision.
The link below provides actual incidents that are not available on the Town of Collingwood website or the links referenced on the Collingwood website. This may not have been available in prior staff reports to Council.
Why is the Town of Collingwood promoting a Coyote Watch Canada information session to promote coexistence but not promoting resident perspective, research and facts such as www.coyoteconcernscolllingwood.com – which presents both ends of the spectrum with a bias on removing coyotes from Collingwood. The basis of democracy is freedom of speech to be heard and considered fairly. This amounts to obstruction by Collingwood and further failure to act.
https://www.coyoteconcernscollingwood.com/risks/ (insight to actual attacks by coyotes)
Why is this information not available to Collingwood residents through the Town of Collingwood?
Concerns of Residents
As expected the concerns are higher with residents who have seen coyotes, had pets attacked and/or killed, been threatened by coyote presence close to them on our streets, parks and trails or on their private properties. People who have taken the time to understand the risks are more concerned. People who have been told that coyotes will not hurt them are less concerned.
Petitions have been signed – “Please take action to remove the threat and nuisance of coyotes in Collingwood”. Council members please take the time and read the “Reasons for signing” section at the bottom of the petition and note the number of petitions signed.
Complaints and emails have been sent to the Town of Collingwood with concerns over the threat by coyotes – resident issues have been dismissed. (Freedom of Information Request is being processed for an estimated cost of $312.00 to residents)
Attacks and killings of pets are happening!
How many pet attacks and missing pets have happened recently? This type of reporting has been initiated by residents.
How many pet killings do you need in order to take action to remove coyotes from Collingwood?
How many petitions do you need in order to take action to remove coyotes from Collingwood?
How many complaints do you need in order to take action and remove coyotes from Collingwood?
We take issue with the fact that our coyote concerns have been dismissed by the Town of Collingwood Staff, Council and OPP. Finger pointing at each other does not resolve this issue or forcing residents in circles with no resolve.
Local media has helped to make residents aware of the risks of coyotes in Collingwood https://www.coyoteconcernscollingwood.com/action/media-coverage/
By-laws are not being acted on
Collingwood has animal by-laws in place to address issues with animals; roaming at large, making noise, attacking pets and restrictions on animals we are not permitted to own. The existence of coyotes roaming at large, howling day and night, attacking and killing pets contravenes the intent/purpose/necessity and common sense behind animal by-laws. The By-law office has failed to act.
Why should coyotes be exempt from the underlying protection our animal by-laws attempt to provide?
Should the Town of Collingwood be allowed to protect a prohibited species of coyotes( all canids, except the domestic dog) and allow them to roam at large in Collingwood – threatening residents, attacking and killing our pets?
The firearms by-law 94-17 Collingwood Firearms bylaw has anticipated the need of firearms for “the sole purpose of the destruction of an animal posing a nuisance or threat to inhabitants”.
Coyotes should pass a reasonableness test to be deemed a nuisance and a threat to inhabitants (which by definition includes pets).
Why has by-law 94-17 been removed from the Town of Collingwood website?
By-law staff will argue that dog bites are a bigger issue in Collingwood. This further demonstrates how ineffective the by-law department is, as we have laws in place to counter this issue of dogs off of leash. By default; the dog biting can’t be controlled in Collingwood so the current strategy appears to allow coyote attacks without by-law intervention. The by-law official of Collingwood laughed at an issue with coyotes. This is a serious matter and Collingwood needs appropriate staff to deal with this issue.
Population Control of Coyotes
Coyotes are open season for hunting and trapping. This is legal and allowed to help control the coyote population. There is a strong argument that it is not the destruction of habitat as much as the growth in population that is causing the problem of coyotes in our city and other cities. There are no predators of coyotes such as wolves and bears as of yet in Collingwood and Collingwood policy to date further protects coyotes in Collingwood.
The Town of Collingwood keeps turning to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry “MNRF” to control the situation. The MNRF is mandated to protect Ontario’s biodiversity and has a bias to protecting coyotes and promoting coexistence education.They are part of the problem and not the immediate solution as they do not trap coyotes to be more effective in controlling the coyote population.
Resident perspective on this issue (website blog)
There is a lot of misinformation, scare tactics and valid concerns surrounding trapping. Trapping is allowed by law in Ontario to protect property owners from damage and threat of damage by wildlife such as coyotes and trapping is used legally to help control wildlife population such as coyotes – this does not need to be debated at the Municipal level. Yes there are many cases in which harm to other animals has been related to inappropriate trapping – unfortunately many of our laws are broken daily in many ways in our area and with consequence – impaired drivers, speeders etc. The case which supports trapping is far stronger then the case to do nothing and allow coyotes to roam at large.
Some will argue trapping is cruel, unnecessary as is legal hunting and coyote attacks on our pets. Why should these people have so much say in the resident and pet safety in Collingwood?
Trapping can be effective as a way to remove coyotes. If a child is attacked or killed in Collingwood it is reasonable to assume action will be taken by the Town of Collingwood to remove coyotes and trapping will be one of the options as used in other cities facing the same tragedy. Interesting problem that cities have faced is finding the specific “problem” coyote to trap while having to trap several. The issue that is being missed is that they are all problem coyotes and the trapping after a tragic incident is a reactive measure which is too late.
Staff will report from “experts” on how trapping can increase the population of coyotes and how groups of people think it is cruel. Trapping is an unfortunate reality to coyote control as is hunting and to some it is cruel – nature is also cruel at times as we have seen coyotes destroy rabbits on our lawns and swans we enjoy on Georgian Bay – which had added to the beauty of Collingwood. The potential impact of trapping on the long term population of coyotes argument is an excuse to avoid trapping – measures have to be taken immediately without delay. Future trapping needs can be assessed if and when they are needed.
Trapping can eliminate the problem in the short term and if managed properly can be effective in the long term. A common approach to problem solving and risk management is to eliminate the risk which in this case is coyotes roaming at large in Collingwood. The route of the problem is not residents who require education to coexist with coyotes but rather the over population of coyotes and their existence in our city.
A Collingwood staff member recently responded to an “expert” report video for a Town Council in North Carolina. His response was that the biologist recommended coexistence and he referred to a study that suggested trapping was not effective. He did not understand why Council authorized the trapping and removal of coyotes from the City. The staff member failed to recognize the fact that Council was acting on the complaints they received and concerns from residents -which is the role of Council. Part of the problem in Collingwood is that staff want a coexistence policy similar to other larger cities and will build the case accordingly – with bias chosen expert opinions and research information. This is not acting on behalf of residents. The expert option of many residents is that coyotes should be removed from Collingwood.
Residents need to have a say in safety issues in Collingwood – with a bias to people and pet protection over coyote protection in Collingwood.
Coyotes are attacking and killing our pets which is enough information to make a policy decision in the short term and long term. Simply deem coyotes as an immediate threat to public safety and then have them removed. If the OPP does not have the expertise or resources then hire licensed wildlife agents/trappers.
Biologist presentation – Dealing with Coyotes (the last few minutes are Council questions)
How and why this initiative got started March 04, 2018.
A resident action plan to address the coyote concerns in Collingwood started a month ago.
Action is needed Immediately – no further delay!
Staff require Council to make a policy decision and Council requires staff to make recommendations or provide a report to approve policy. Staff is spending resources to develop a policy to follow other cities who coexist with coyotes – while failing to respectfully examine cities/Towns that do not – Collingwood is not Toronto. People are retiring to Collingwood and visiting Collingwood to get away from city life and the many issues that come with larger cities including a sense of community and a safe community.
Residents have had to take a leadership role in this issue – we are demanding action to remove coyotes from Collingwood – this should be an important factor in resolving this ASAP.
TIME IS UP
My investigation into why the Town of Collingwood is so protective of coyotes while sacrificing our pets and dismissing residents concerns uncovers a government scandal surrounding coyote population control. TIME IS UP – Collingwood residents are beginning to understand this scandal.
If the Town of Collingwood Council has a conflict of interest from parties supporting this coexistence scandal – declare it and step aside to allow the appropriate action to be taken. Appoint a resident oversight committee to address this issue.
Concerned Resident Collingwood