Toronto

East York couple warns neighbours after 2 coyotes kill pet dog in fenced backyard

An East York couple says two coyotes attacked and killed their dog in their fenced backyard on the weekend and they want to get the word out to neighbours to keep their animals close.

Hank, an English and French bulldog mix, was killed early Saturday

Hank, a two-year-old English and French bulldog mix, died on Saturday. When he was found in his fenced backyard, two coyotes were standing over his carcass. (Supplied)

An East York couple says two coyotes attacked and killed their dog in their fenced backyard on the weekend and they want to get the word out to neighbours to keep their animals close.

Ashley Martin and Tyler Moore, who live near St. Clair Avenue East and O'Connor Drive in Toronto's Topham Park neighbourhood, said on Monday they are still in shock over the loss of Hank, a two-year-old English and French bulldog mix. 

"I went to grab him and there were two coyotes in my backyard, standing over my dead dog's body," Martin said on Monday in tears.

Martin and Moore said they are not letting their other dog, Theodore, also a bulldog, out of their sight now. Their detached home is in a cul-de-sac near a ravine.

Heartbroken, they said they are sharing their story to warn their neighbours. Coyotes are in their midst, making their way in and out of backyards in what is an urban area, they said.

Early Saturday morning shortly after 6:15 a.m., Martin said she let Hank out into the backyard and she went to get a cup of coffee. There were no sounds at all. 

Then, she saw the two wild animals with her pet's carcass.

"They looked at me and I threw my coffee mug at them. And then I just came running down here to grab his body. I could tell he was dead already. I think his neck was broken. I just scooped him up."

Ashley Martin, an East York resident, says if nothing else, the city should communicate better about what it plans to do. Coyotes are making their way in and out of backyards in what is an urban area, she says. (CBC)

Martin went back into the house to wake her partner, Moore, who chased the wild canines. After a couple of attempts, the coyotes scaled a two-metre high fence. There was no blood, Hank was in one piece and Martin believes the coyotes had snapped his neck.

"They were scarier looking than I had anticipated," she said.

Martin called 311, and was told to call back later. She did, and was put on hold.

Then a clerk gave her a reference number and was told a supervisor would call back. When he did, he gave her advice on how to deal with coyotes, including to use an air horn when she goes outside and to carry a stick.

The city said someone would come around because there was an incident.

Martin and Moore say the city should, if nothing else, communicate better about what it plans to do.

City plans coyote info session for neighbourhood

Mary Lou Leiher, program manager of partnerships and marketing for Toronto Animal Services, confirmed in an email to CBC Toronto on Monday that the city received a report about a dog attacked and killed by coyotes on Saturday after the wild animals entered a property.

"We are very sorry for this tragic loss and our thoughts are with the resident and their family," Leiher said in the email.

'We advise Toronto residents who live near ravines and forests — typical coyote habitat — to be particularly vigilant with their pets,' says Mary Lou Leiher, program manager of partnerships and marketing for Toronto Animal Services. (Getty Images)

Officers from Toronto Animal Services went door-to-door in the area to deliver "coyote awareness information" to educate residents about what to do when encountering a coyote, she said. The city is also planning a coyote information session for the community in the next couple of weeks, she said.

"We advise Toronto residents who live near ravines and forests — typical coyote habitat — to be particularly vigilant with their pets," she said.

The city says it encourages pet owners to do the following:

  • Always supervise pets, especially if you are living in a "coyote-prone" neighbourhood near ravines and forests. Keep dogs on a leash and keep cats indoors or supervised when outside.
  • Never feed coyotes or other wild animals. Having a regular food source can attract coyotes to a neighbourhood.
  • Avoid feeding pets outdoors.
  • Ensure that all household garbage is not accessible to animals.
  • Place garbage at the curb on the morning of the scheduled pickup instead of the night before.

Leiher said the city has a "coyote response strategy," including education, no-feeding provisions, criteria on when it removes coyotes from an area and the methods it uses.

"A bite to another animal is not grounds for removal — it is normal coyote behaviour," the city says on its website under its coyote response strategy.

With files from Natalie Nanowski

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