Take steps to protect your pets and children from urban wildlife
By Lauren Kelly, News Editor
Just south of Coquitlam Centre, a coyote approached a family’s porch and snatched up their dog in front of one of its owners. The dog, an eight-year-old Maltipoo mix named Vegas, is expected to make a full recovery.
Her owner, Tammy McBride, had just taken Vegas out to relieve herself. The pair was just a few steps from their door when a coyote came out of the bushes and grabbed the seven-pound dog. The first coyote quickly ran from the house with Vegas and was soon joined by a second one.
McBride pursued them, picking up rocks from her garden and throwing them at the coyotes while screaming at them. By the time she had closed the gap between her and the wild dogs to five feet, the coyotes dropped Vegas and ran away. The small dog bolted back into their home, and when McBride returned, Vegas was shaking and in pain.
The BC SPCA’s chief scientific officer Dr. Sara Dubois told Global News, “Letting your dog even go in a fenced backyard, there is a risk because we do have urban wildlife that they may encounter an animal in your own backyard.”
On the BC SPCA’s website, they offer advice to pet owners looking to keep their pets safe from similar incidents. To keep cats safe, keep them indoors from dusk until dawn, and do your best to keep an eye on them while they are outdoors. However, the only way to guarantee a cat’s safety is to keep them indoors or use an outdoor cat run. For dogs, keep them on short leashes when outdoors and closely supervise them if they are off-leash. Keep tall fences that are flush with the ground if you let your dog into your backyard.
According to a pamphlet released by the City of Coquitlam on dealing with urban wildlife, if you encounter a coyote, make your body as big as possible and yell loudly at them. If this does not work, throw rocks towards them to scare them off. Do not run or turn your back on the animal, as this will show weakness. These tips are most important for children to know, as coyotes are rarely brave enough to attack an adult. When they do, it is usually because someone in the area was intentionally feeding the animal, which makes them less afraid of humans.