British Columbia

Vancouverite warns pet owners after coyote snatches toy poodle during walk

David Gens said he's sharing what happened to warn other dog owners about coyotes, which officials say are a regular part of urban life in Vancouver.

David Gens says Ellie was gone before he had a chance to help her

Ellie was a well-trained dog who stayed at the heel of owner David Gens, so she wasn't walked on a leash. (David Gens)

David Gens always took his dog, Ellie, on the same route for their walks through Vancouver's Point Grey neighbourhood.

On Sunday, Gens and a friend were walking with the grey toy poodle near Belmont Street and West 2nd Avenue when he saw what he thought was another dog come down someone's driveway.

By the time he realized it was a coyote, it was too late.

The animal grabbed Ellie and took off. Gens and his friend chased after them, but never found anything.

Ellie, a 5½-year-old toy poodle, was killed by a coyote in Vancouver's Point Grey area on Sunday. (David Gens)

"I think it was lights out for her pretty quick," Gens said Sunday.

"It started out with shock, then grief, now I'm ... I don't know. Bouncing in between."

Gens said he's sharing what happened to warn other dog owners about coyotes, which officials say are a regular part of urban life in Vancouver.

'A sweetheart'

Gens said Ellie was 5½ years old. She weighed nine pounds.

"She was just an unreal dog ... Such a sweetheart, awesome dog. Everybody loved her," he said.

Gens also said she was an obedient dog who always walked at his side, so he never had an issue walking her off-leash.

He also didn't think a coyote would attack in the city.

"In broad daylight on a sunny day in a residential neighbourhood, I would never think that could happen," he said.

"People should know that they should be super, super careful even in residential areas, even in broad daylight. Short leash. They can come out of nowhere."

'Regular part of urban life'

Gens reported what happened to the Ministry of Environment, but officials said the ministry doesn't act on coyote encounters unless humans are threatened.

Officials have said coyotes are "a regular part of urban life" in Vancouver and Burnaby, just like cougars and bears on the North Shore.

A ministry spokesperson said there hasn't been an uptick in reported encounters this fall compared to previous years.

Coyotes are common in Vancouver and Burnaby. (CBC)

Locals are advised not to feed coyotes and chase them off if they see them around their homes, to avoid them getting comfortable around people. Pet owners are told to keep their animals on a leash. 

Gens said he wished he'd done that on Sunday.

"It might have been a different outcome," he said.

With files from Chad Pawson

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