Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/5/2009 (4425 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
You see, once upon a time, back in February, a coyote appeared in an affluent Toronto neighbourhood known as Beaches, located near the shores of Lake Ontario. The big, bad coyote had apparently snatched a six-year-old chihuahua named Zoe one morning. Grabbed the little hound right in his maw and ran off, the National Post reported.
Damn coyotes. Can't trust 'em.
Alas, Zoe has not been seen since. And neither have several other pets in the area.
In essence, the coyote had been subsisting on prey (sustenance) provided by wealthy Toronto-area residents, who grew very angry at their collective and mounting losses caused by the deadbeat intruder.
Curiously, some in the community began to feel sorry for the coyote, believing it to be a prisoner of an environment in which it was ill-suited to survive. You know, kinda like a place where coyotes don't historically thrive. Some might call it a non-traditional coyote market. Sympathetic residents even gave the interloper a name: Neville, after a local park.
But others thought Neville was a pox on society and should be exterminated, put out of its misery, so that further losses would not be incurred.
Indeed, in March it looked like the end for old Neville. Animal control officers, according to the Toronto Star, were poised to euthanize the critter on sight. It was as though the coyote had no redeeming value whatsoever.
Besides, under provincial law, if captured alive, the unwanted coyote could only be moved one kilometre, which still fell within Toronto city limits.
So it looked like curtains for Neville again. But wait. Over 200 residents somehow managed to convince a third party, Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield, to issue a permit -- contrary to existing bylaws -- to have the coyote relocated outside the city. Can you imagine that? Someone authorized to "judge" if coyotes can be relocated?
That just sounds silly.
Anyway, to review, it's okay to relocate an endangered coyote trapped in an unnatural environment -- which as a result was responsible for significant losses to rich Toronto area residents -- as long as it's placed OUTSIDE a certain area. A buffer zone, if you will.
Hence the next step for the Toronto animal control officers: Trap the coyote.
Ah, good plan. After all, it should be easy for big-city folks in Toronto to trap a desperate and out-of-place coyote, right? Except for one problem. Turns out coyotes are not easily lured into traps. In fact, the more you try to exterminate the animal the smarter they become and the more they breed. It's survival instinct.
(It's as though focusing on Neville could only trigger offspring that could create even more damage and losses far exceeding those incurred in one isolated community. But we digress.)
True to form, Neville, a coyote as sly as a fox, has continued to elude box traps set up by city animal control staff.
But as one local blogger helpfully noted, sometimes affluent Toronto residents can be their own worst enemies. "In the case of the Beach chihuahua incident, apparently residents are indirectly to blame for feeding the coyotes," the HomeZilla blogger noted. "One resident even encouraged his dog to play with the coyotes!"
So you see, if you not only continue to feed a coyote, but invite it into your own backyard to play every so often, you're just looking for trouble. I mean, you can't coax a coyote to play with you and then try to exterminate him when he bites the hand that feeds him, can you?
Regardless, as a public service, Toronto residents were provided advice on "how to avoid attracting a coyote."
This list includes.....
- Never feed a coyote. (Sounds reasonable. If you just keep it alive it will certainly become dependent on handouts and never leave.)
- Don't encourage interaction with a coyote. (Again, this makes sense. Indeed, coyotes have a history scaring away large groups of humans.)
- Consider making your cat an inside pet. (Also, your Penguins, Panthers, Blue Jackets, Ducks, etc.)
- Don't run from a coyote if approached; stand still and make noise, such as clapping hands. (Coyotes, apparently, are not familiar with any form of applause or loud noises made by humans.)
So there you have it. Neville the wily coyote is, at last report, still alive and on the loose despite efforts by rich people in Toronto to have him either relocated or put out of his misery.
Is there a moral to this true story? You bet.
Beware the coyotes. Try to kill them and they'll only gets wiser to you. Feed them and they'll never leave. Invite them to play and face the dire consequences.
Relocate them outside Toronto city limits? Well, you can try.
Turns out, there might be a law against that, too.
Randy Turner spent much of his journalistic career on the road. A lot of roads. Dirt roads, snow-packed roads, U.S. interstates and foreign highways. In other words, he got a lot of kilometres on the odometer, if you know what we mean.