Oshawa may educate residents on coyotes after 2 recent attacks on children
City to look for advice from other communities on coyotes, councillor says
Oct. 7, 2021
Oshawa city council will consider educating residents on how to deal with coyotes after two attacks on children in one neighbourhood in less than four months.
A six-year-old girl was bitten by a coyote on July 1, then a three-year-old boy was bitten on Sept. 28.
Coun. Jane Hurst, who represents Ward 2, said council will likely look for advice from other cities as well as wildlife experts on how best to address the problem. She said the attacks have been shocking for the city.
"We have taken it very seriously," Hurst said on Tuesday night. "No stone has been left unturned. It continues. We haven't stopped ... A lot of things have been going on behind the scenes."
At a meeting on Oct. 4, council's corporate services committee approved a report that calls for a virtual community information session on how to co-exist with coyotes and for the development of a "coyote education and response strategy."
The report says city staff members have reviewed the coyote response strategies from Brampton, Burlington, Collingwood, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Toronto and Vaughan.
According to the report, there have been 507 sightings of coyotes in Oshawa in 2021 alone, but it notes that one sighting does not represent one coyote. "A single coyote is often reported multiple times," the report says.
Fencing and signs have been put up in the area where the attacks have happened, Hurst said. Bylaw officers have hand-delivered information on coyotes to residents, who have also been asked to report sightings.
Hurst said the city has contacted the Ontario northern development, mines, natural resources and forestry ministry, Durham Regional Police Services and Coyote Watch Canada for advice.
"All options are open. The safety and security of each and every one of our residents is paramount," Hurst said.
More action needed to keep children safe, residents say
Residents, however, are calling on the city to find a way to remove the coyotes before a child is seriously hurt.
Berlyn French, a resident, said a coyote bit her son, Marcus, 3, when he was playing in his backyard sandbox at about 7:40 p.m. last week. She heard Marcus scream and she saw a coyote in the air. She said she started yelling at the coyote.
French said she was able to get to Marcus quickly and pull him away but the coyote punctured his skin.
"We noticed that he did get nicked, he got bitten and it broke through the skin," she said.
Berlyn French, a resident, said a coyote bit her son, Marcus, 3, when he was playing in his backyard sandbox at about 7:40 p.m. last week. 'We noticed that he did get nicked, he got bitten and it broke through the skin,' she says. (Submitted by Berlyn French)
Marcus had to be taken to hospital, where he was given rabies shots. He has had to get three rounds of shots in all, she said.
"I think that's going to be the most traumatizing part of it all, is remembering the shots," she said.
French said she wants the city to do more about the coyotes. She said signs are not going to stop coyotes from attacking people.
"Yes we're going to wait for them to do more, but what if something happens in that time."
Joe Lefebvre, another resident, said his six-year-old daughter was attacked while playing in a park on the night of July 1.
"There are scars in my daughter's groin area from where the coyote had bit her," he said.
Lefebvre said it's time for the city to take action. He said his daughter is now afraid to be alone in a room in a house.
"We're afraid to walk the streets now."