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'A goodie on a leash': Newmarket residents, pet owners warned about frequent coyote sightings
July 12, 2021

There have been 66 reported sightings of coyotes in Newmarket so far this year

Natalie Favrin was walking her cat along the path by Mulock Drive and Sawmill Valley Drive early one June morning when a coyote crossed their path just 50 feet ahead of them.

“I would never have been worried if it was just me but because of the cat I’m like I literally have a goodie on a leash here,” she said.

The coyote had been between her and the way home, so she scooped up her cat and walked away quickly.

When she returned to her house, which backs onto the path, she noticed there was a rabbit in her front yard that looked like it had become prey to a bigger creature.

“I have no doubt that a coyote had been there and ate the rabbit because we’ve never seen a kill like this,” Favrin said. “It was very obvious a large animal had had a meal.”

The sighting hasn’t deterred her from her regular morning walks, as she still takes her cat out every day early in the morning but she is taking extra precautions now.

“The first two days, my husband made me walk with a golf club just so I had something,” she said, adding she bought a special pepper spray that she carries in her hand.

Newmarket residents are being warned to watch out for coyotes, after sightings have become more frequent in the past few months.

The Town of Newmarket said there have been 66 reported sightings between January and July 7 of this year alone.

“Every year around this time, typically from March to July, Newmarket sees an increase in coyote sightings due to seasonal behaviour,” they said. “In addition, changes in land use, agricultural practices, weather, and natural food shortages may contribute to increased coyote sightings in rural and urban settings.”

On the town website, residents are able to report where they have seen coyotes recently.

Those results are then compiled on a map that shows where the creatures are frequenting in the past three months.

According to the map, the area between Davis Drive and Mulock appears to be a hot spot for the animals, with 15 reported sightings in that area since May.

Two of those were on town land, at the Fairgrounds Park and College Manor Park.

Residents are being told to remove food attractants and put motion sensor lights in their yard to deter coyotes.

While out on walks, pet owners are advised to keep their pets close and on the leash at all times.

“Generally, coyotes do not pose a threat to human safety and as they are shy and would prefer to avoid confrontations with people,” a spokesperson for the town said. “However, if residents are approached by a coyote, please remember to stay calm and to wait until they have moved on or if threatened use whistles and personal alarm devices as a deterrent. Back away slowly while remaining calm, never run or turn your back on a coyote.”

Last October, York Region shared tips about what to do if you see a coyote or other wild animal after three residents were bitten by coyotes in separate incidents in Vaughan parks.