Increased fines among the recommendations to help fight coyote problem in Burlington

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Published September 15, 2022 at 1:41 pm

With at least half-a-dozen confirmed coyote attacks on humans in the city, Burlington council approved an array of measures to help combat the problem.

A lengthy discussion about the issue was held at yesterday’s (Wednesday, Sept. 14) meeting of the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability committee meeting, which allowed local councillors to hear from a pair of experts before sending recommendations to next weeks full council meeting.

The final report outlines coyote management recommendations and strategic actions that must be taken to allow the City to be proactive when it comes to managing coyotes and wildlife to protect its residents.

“This is a giant step forward in our actions to protect our community from these coyote attacks. Based on advice we’ve received from staff at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and field researchers with Coyote Watch Canada, the aggressive behaviours we’ve experienced is the direct result of illegal feeding of wildlife — either intentional or unintentional,” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

“Council and staff are taking this situation very seriously. The unanimous approval of significant additional actions under our Coyote Response Strategy is a clear indication to our community of our commitment to ensuring public safety and an end to these attacks.”

Among the recommendations approved are:

  • Approve the single source of a Certified Wildlife Professional (CWP) and authorize the Manager of Procurement Services to sign a multi-year agreement with the CWP
  • Proceed immediately with the design and implementation of a new two-year Coyote Action and Awareness Program specifically directed at delivering enhanced coyote response services
  • Investigate the establishment of a new Bylaw Compliance Department inclusive of an enhanced coyote response model as part of the Animal Services function
  • Develop and implement a coordinated coyote management plan with Oakville
  • Procure and install lids for non-decorative garbage cans in the immediate area of coyote concern, to an upset limit of $15,000 in 2022
  • Add two additional contract Bylaw Enforcement Officers, and engage appropriate coyote specialist resources to assist with investigations
  • Connect with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and other ministries as needed, to formally request emergency funding, and staffing support
  • Review the current fine structure for illegal dumping and feeding of wildlife and bring back options to increase the maximum fine
  • Distribute a city-wide mailing and social media communication plan by Sept. 30 focused solely on the fact that the recent crisis of aggressive wildlife attacks is the direct result of illegal dumping and/or feeding of wildlife and clearly communicating increases in fines

Residents are reminded to report their concerns about direct or indirect feeding of wildlife to Animal Control at [email protected] or 905-335-3030 and are reminded that hand and ground feeding wildlife on private or public property is prohibited.

Anyone attacked by a coyote is advised to seek immediate medical attention and report the attack to the Halton Region Health Department and to the City of Burlington Animal Services at [email protected] or 905-335-3030.

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