Residents in the central Thorold-area are growing increasingly concerned over the presence of one or more coyotes, who they say are stalking their pets, and appear to be increasingly bold in its approach to humans.
When Lisa Maybury was out for an early Monday morning walk near her home in the Pine St-Richmond area with her 3,5-pound mini Pomeranian, she found herself facing off with the coyote, who clearly had its eyes fixed on the dog, named Summer.
“It was dark outside, so it was quite terrifying. It was growling and moving fast, not quite running, but more like skulking up toward us,” she told ThoroldToday.
Lisa's boyfriend and his brother saw the ordeal and came to the rescue, scaring off the coyote - but Maybury has no reason to think it could be the last time she bumps into the animal.
“My friend had the same experience in the Ormond-Regent Street area. She has been chased by it twice. I look like a turkey dinner for this thing. It is not something I should have to deal with myself”
Another Thorold resident reached out to ThoroldToday and said a coyote had been seen in the Prince of Wales school yard on Monday night as he was playing fetch with his puppy.
“This is the third time this week she was stalked by a coyote,” said the man.
In local Facebook-groups, more sightings have been reported in the past week in the Thorold-area, leaving Lisa Maybury rattled and annoyed over what appeared to be an issue that no one wants to immediately deal with.
“I first called the Humane Society, whose after-hours service said it was the Ministry of Natural Resources, so I called them, and they advised me to call the Urban Wildlife refuge, but they only rescue injured animals.”
Maybury said her online research told her to call 911.
“But they said they wouldn’t deal with it, and that I would have to talk to the Humane Society, so the circle closed there.”
Kevin Strooband, Executive Director of the Lincoln County Humane Society told ThoroldToday that his agency appears to be getting an unusually high number of reports about coyotes this year.
“But we are not a pest control service. It is not what the municipalities have us there to do,” said Strooband.
“From a public safety perspective it is the police that handle people that need help, even if it is from an animal. If there is an animal in distress, we will help.”
Strooband said an example of when his agency will dispatch to a scene is if an animal has been trapped or subdued, and that police need assistance.
“The only solution is to hire a trapper, which is something the residents would do. But one thing that is important to note is that when a coyote has been removed, you can’t relocate it since it does not adapt well to new territory.”
Strooband described the coyote-issue as one that has been noted in many places across southern Ontario, with no discrimination even in dense urban-areas.
“This is happening everywhere from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Oakville and Toronto. We are having meetings with the city of St Catharines about this, and are looking to improve signage in the area.”
The Ministry of Natural Resources said municipalities are responsible for 'taking appropriate actions when human-wildlife encounters create ongoing conflict situations on municipal property.'
Municipalities can also take action on private property with the permission of the landowner.
ThoroldToday has reached out to the City of Thorold for comment on the issue but has not heard back - we will update this story as we hear back.