City gives more teeth to bylaws aimed at preventing the feeding of coyotes


Published September 21, 2022 at 3:40 pm

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The City of Burlington has decided to give some teeth to a bylaw aimed at preventing future coyote attacks on people.

Every expert so far has agreed the main reason local coyotes are losing their fear of humans is because of feeding, intentional or otherwise.

In order to try to stop locals from leaving treats for wildlife, council has decided Animal Control Officers now have the discretion to issue tickets of $300 (previously $150) or issue a court summons with an increased fine range from $500 up to a maximum of $100,000 (previously, the limit was $5,000). A summons is usually reserved for serious offenses and repeat offenders.

In addition, they made changes to the lot maintenance bylaw. A property owner is responsible to keep their lot clean and clear of debris. Residents and property owners can make sure they comply with the bylaw by ensuring their property is tidy and clear of garbage, food, brush, long grass and wood piles which are ideal den sites for coyotes or other wild animals that attract coyotes.

The animal control bylaw has been updated to include definitions around feeding wildlife, including coyotes. It also allows officers to legally enter onto private property when carrying out inspections related to bylaw investigations. This is required to ensure appropriate and swift action by animal control officers.

“Increased fines and allowing Animal Control and Bylaw Officers to act swiftly are what the City of Burlington must do to stop the feeding of wildlife, including coyotes,” said City Manager Tim Commisso.

“This feeding was the main cause of coyote aggression that led to seven residents being attacked in recent weeks. We had no choice but to eliminate aggressive coyotes responsible for these recent unprovoked attacks. The City must be proactive when it comes to managing coyotes and wildlife to protect its residents and these updated bylaws will help us do that.”

Increasing these fine amounts and how animal control and bylaw officers can act upon them are part of the City’s coyote management recommendations and strategic actions to stop feeding of wildlife, including coyotes.

Feeding coyotes is the main cause of coyote aggression that led to seven unprovoked attacks on people in south-east and south-central Burlington in recent weeks. The three aggressive coyotes responsible for the recent unprovoked attacks were eliminated.

“While we collectively breathe a sigh of relief, our city’s animal control staff will continue to be on watch doing their best to ensure these coyote attacks won’t happen again,” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

“It is critically important for our residents and community to understand these coyotes became aggressive because they lost their fear of humans due to being fed intentionally or unintentionally. We don’t want to have to eliminate a wild animal, but public safety must come first.”

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