Ottawa

Councillor vowing to take care of Riverside South's coyote problem

The councillor for an Ottawa suburb beset by a rash of frightening coyote attacks says if the city, the province and the National Capital Commission won't do anything about the problem, she will.

Residents report string of attacks by aggressive animals

Coun. Carol Anne Meehan stops to warn people in Riverside South about coyotes following a string of frightening attacks in the area. (Stu Mills/CBC)

The councillor for an Ottawa suburb beset by a rash of frightening coyote attacks says if the city, the province and the National Capital Commission won't do anything about the problem, she will.

Frustrated with the jurisdictional tug of war, Coun. Carol Anne Meehan said she plans to hire a trapper to bring the increasingly aggressive animals that have been attacking people in Riverside South under control.

"We've had a constant runaround since last week." she told CBC's Ottawa Morning on Thursday.

CBC is aware of at least half a dozen incidents in the last week, including a 74-year-old newspaper carrier who needed stitches and treatment for possible rabies after being bitten early Saturday morning. On Wednesday, an 81-year-old woman was chased and nipped while out for an early morning stroll on a residential street. 

Most of the attacks happened at night or in the early morning hours.

Newspaper carrier George Bayne needed stitches and shots after a coyote attacked him in Riverside South last Saturday morning. (Submitted)

'This is craziness'

"This is craziness. It can't be allowed to go on," said Meehan, who fears it's only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured.

In Ontario, licensed trappers are permitted to trap both wolves and coyotes when in season, provided they use humane techniques. In Ottawa, the trapping season runs all year long. 

As for hunting the animals, it's open season in the Ottawa area as long as hunters carry a valid small game licence and they're not hunting in designated urban areas where a city bylaw forbids the discharge of firearms.

Meehan said her staff has begun the search for a trapper, but said live-trapping and relocating the animals probably isn't an effective solution since coyotes are capable of travelling great distances to return to their territory.

Meehan said she's not worried about getting in trouble for destroying aggressive coyotes.

"From whom?" she asked. "When everyone is abdicating their responsibility? I'll take any repercussions for that."

Rico Yan's wife snapped a picture of the coyote that chased Julia Frangione on Spratt Road last weekend. Frangione kicked at the seemingly fearless animal before jumping into the safety of Yan's car. (Submitted)

In the meantime, Meehan continues to warn residents on social media and with posters advising people to keep their household garbage indoors until pickup day, and to keep a close eye on pets.

"We can't do anything to attract them," she said.

On Wednesday, the City of Ottawa released data on coyote sightings over the past six years.

 

Some of the calls may come from different callers about the same animal, and some are merely reports of dead coyotes  on a roadway, the city said.

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