Oakville’s coyote management initiatives

Online reporting system and stronger no feeding by-law

Urban Coyote, Town of Oakville,
Oakville’s coyote management initiatives
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Mary Jo Milhomens

Mary Jo Milhomens

Senior Communications Advisor for the Town of Oakville, and has worked for the town since 2000. She graduated from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology with High Honours, Creative Advertising & Marketing.

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Research and experience has shown the two most significant things the Town of Oakville can do to reduce direct public interaction with coyotes is education and the removal of coyote attractants such as food. Town Council enacted two initiatives — an online coyote reporting system and a by-law amendment to prevent coyotes from being fed on public land.

Residents can visit oakville.ca and complete the coyote reporting form letting town staff know about unusual coyote encounters. Unusual incidents would include a coyote that approaches you, interacts or attacks pets that are on-leash where the pet is within 5 feet of its owner, or one that is displaying bold behaviour. You can also report people who are directly or indirectly feeding coyotes, and garbage that is left in neighbourhoods or overflowing in town containers. The reporting system will give town staff the ability to address issues regarding coyotes before conflict situations arise.

Do Not Feed Coyotes, Town of Oakville

Do Not Feed Coyotes, Photo Credit: Alyson Hurt / Foter / CC BY

What should I do if I come in contact with a coyote?
Never approach, feed or turn your back on a coyote. Coyotes are typically shy and afraid of people, so reinforce their fear, by hazing them: yell, wave your arms, make lots of noise, blow an air horn or whistle, spray them with a hose, or throw objects towards (not at) the coyote. Continue hazing until the coyote leaves the area. If a coyotes comes into your yard, use these same techniques, teaching it that your yard is not available territory.

The existing parks by-law prohibits the feeding of waterfowl such as ducks and geese in public spaces. A new by-law amendment, approved by Town Council last night, makes it an offence for anyone to feed coyotes on public land. On private property, the feeding of coyotes is covered under Section of the property standards by-law which prohibits conditions that may lead to the harbouring of “…rodents, vermin or other pests.”

“Preventing conflicts before they occur is the basis of our coyote management program,” said Cindy Toth, director, Environmental Policy for the town. “In addition to education, the new reporting system and by-law amendment are just two of the many town initiatives that address the concerns of our residents.”

The town has:

  • Partnered with OakvilleGreen to provide workshops to schools. These workshops provide basic coyote information and safety measures to students ranging from grades 1 to 12.
  • Trained town staff on coyote safety and awareness.
  • Partnered with the Stanley Park Ecology Society (who run an internationally recognized “living with coyotes” program for the Greater Vancouver Regional District) to develop a coyote management plan and initiatives under the town’s Oakville Wildlife Strategy.
  • Posted signs in parks and along trails where coyotes are known to frequent. More signs will be installed as needed.
  • Installed wildlife-proof lids on garbage cans in high-risk trails and parks. Cans are labelled with the town’s phone number and residents are directed to call if garbage is overflowing.

The town’s coyote management initiatives were a first for Ontario and support Council’s goal to be the most livable town in Canada. Visit the Coyotes page for details. The indented question and answers are frequently asked and are part of a larger number of Q&A’s found as an attachment on the Coyotes page.

How can I keep my pets safe?
Small animals are part of the coyotes’ diet and a small dog or cat can be perceived as food. As a safety precaution, owners should not leave pets outside unattended and, as per By-law 2010-157, owners are required to keep pets (including cats) on a leash except in designated areas. If approached by a coyote while walking your dog, gather the dog in your arms if possible or keep it on a short leash, don’t let your pets approach a coyote. Haze the coyote and move toward a building or safe area with increased activity.


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