'I'm terrified': Coyotes spotted in outskirts of Charlottetown

Charlottetown resident Ashley Belanger-Birt said she's terrified after she and her family recently spotted a coyote in their driveway.

Resident believes coyotes have taken family cats

It's not uncommon to see coyotes in the peripheral of the city this time of year, says wildlife biologist Garry Gregory. (Getty Images)

Charlottetown resident Ashley Belanger-Birt said she's terrified after she and her family recently spotted a coyote in their driveway.

"Got home the other night and this little black guy was sitting in our front yard, waiting," said Belanger-Birt who lives in Horsehoe Hill Estates in East Royalty.

"He wasn't scared of us. He didn't run away. My husband took a hockey stick and started whacking it … to get him to go," she said.

Missing cats

Belanger-Birt said she also believes coyotes are responsible for taking the family's cats after they went missing over a week ago.

"We noticed one last week after the big storm, he went missing. I just had a really bad feeling and then I noticed within the next day the other one was gone," she said.

Ashley Belanger-Birt says she and her family saw a coyote on their driveway after coming home the other night. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Belanger-Birt said she and her husband — who is a wildlife officer — went looking in the fields behind their house and found clumps of their cats' fur.

"I'm terrified because we have a three-year-old as well and we have a beautiful backyard and big field, and it's not cut yet, the hay hasn't been hauled, so we don't know what's hiding back there," she said.

'Coyotes are just used to people'

Garry Gregory is a wildlife biologist with the province's fish and wildlife division and said it's not uncommon to see coyotes in the peripheral of the city this time of year.

Wildlife biologist Garry Gregory says this time of year is when coyotes are most commonly sighted, and that they typically make their homes in fields and pastures. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

But he also said residents shouldn't panic over seeing a coyote unless they show aggressive behavior.

"There's often confusion with somewhat indifference to people with aggression," said Gregory. "In suburban landscapes, coyotes are just used to people."

Don't leave pets outside unattended

Gregory said if people see coyotes in their neighbourhood, they should make lots of noises to intimidate the animal but to never run away.

"It can trigger an instinct to chase," he said.

Gregory also suggests to not leave small animals unattended outside.

"That's the most responsible thing you could do to ensure their safety," he said.

As for Belanger-Birt, she said she's not going to be taking any chances.

"The kids are not to be outside by themselves after dusk. No one's out," she said.