It was an emotional topic at a Collingwood committee meeting on Monday.
For over two hours of the Corporate and Communication Services Committee meeting, residents worried about coyotes in their neighbourhood voiced their concerns.
Many say they are afraid to go for a walk at any time of day and are worried about the safety of their pets in their own backyards. These people say coyotes have been coming onto their properties. Some homeowners say they have lost pets or their dogs have been severely injured by coyote attacks. Barbara Pickers says she lives alone and is concerned for her safety.
Council chambers was packed with people in the hallway and in another room where a video of the meeting was set up. Most of the audience appeared to be in favour of doing something immediately to get rid of the nuisance coyotes particularly those in the east end of town.
Sarah Abawi of Collingwood Animal Rights Advocate Group is on the other side. She wants increased public education on how to protect your family, property, and your pets and on how to co-exist with coyotes. She adds that if you remove coyotes from an area, other coyotes will just move in. She also says trapping is not the solution because other unintended wildlife will be harmed in the process. Abawi says she has been able to get 800 signatures on a petition in just two days. The petition supports co-existing with wildlife including coyotes.
By-law Officer Adam Herrod told the meeting that from February 2017 to March of this year, there have been 198 coyote reports. He adds there have been three recent suspected attacks on pets.
The committee is recommending that full council ask staff for a report on various options to address any threat immediately in the east end of Collingwood.