Pack of coyotes in Côte Saint-Luc backyard prompts warning from city

The last thing Essie Vineberg expected to see when she looked out into her Côte Saint-Luc backyard was a pack of four coyotes, grazing under her crab apple tree.

City poised to hire trapper to catch, relocate coyotes wandering close to homes from CPR tracks

Essie Vineberg Szlak, whose home in Côte Saint-Luc backs onto CPR land, took this photo of a pack of coyotes in her yard on Oct. 2. (Essie Vineberg Szlak/Facebook)

The last thing Essie Vineberg Szlak expected to see when she looked out into her Côte Saint-Luc backyard was a pack of four coyotes grazing on fallen crab apples under a tree.

But that's precisely what she saw the morning of Oct. 2 and then again that afternoon.

"I was scared," said Vineberg Szlak, saying she'd read reports about a coyote in Kirkland that did attack a man last summer. 

"I know they're supposed to be harmless to people, except one of them was not."

Vineberg Szlak's backyard borders on Canadian Pacific Railway tracks. But she's never spotted coyotes before.

She went out on her back patio and used her camera to zoom in on the pack and says they didn't even flinch when they saw her.

She posted the photos to Facebook and emailed them to Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein. The security team for the municipality then contacted her to get more information.

Côte Saint-Luc to hire trappers

Darryl Levine, the city's director of public affairs and communications, said the coyotes are believed to be wandering into populated areas of the city from CPR property. He said the coyotes tend to gather in gullies along the railway tracks.

He said CPR will attempt to catch the coyotes once trapping season begins. 

In the case of the Montreal region, the season runs from Oct. 25 to March 1.

Levine said Côte Saint-Luc is seeking permission to set traps for the animals before the start date and intends to hire a trapper to live-trap the animals and relocate them.

'Hazing' coyotes and other tips

"This is the first time where we see they've been that close to residences," said Jordy Reichson, Côte Saint-Luc's director of public safety.

The municipality has posted a notice on its website, warning residents about the sightings.

It includes a video from the Town of Oakville, Ont., that shows people how to scare coyotes away from their property, or "haze" them.

The video advises residents to frighten visiting coyotes by standing tall, with arms raised, and yell, "Go away!"

"Stamp your feet and make short advances towards the coyote," one person in the video says. "Use noisemakers. Clap your hands, or blow a whistle."

"Throw sticks or small items in the direction of – but not directly at – the coyote." 

If that doesn't work, the video advises property owners to advance towards the coyote with a rake or other threatening-looking object, or to spray them with a hose. 

It warns against cornering a coyote, advising property owners to make sure the animal has an escape route. It also says not to haze an injured or sick coyote or a coyote with pups.

It also suggests several measures to discourage coyotes from visiting:

  • Do not leave garbage or compost outside.
  • Do not leave small pets outside unattended.
  • Remove brush piles or small enclosures that would make a comfortable den.

with files from CBC intern Matt d'Amours