Coyote kills dog in PEI; Woman warns others to take care of their pets
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – A Hampshire, PEI woman is advising people to keep an eye out for coyotes after her dog was attacked and killed on January 28.
“Just as a heads up for the Hampshire area we had a coyote attack and lost our Pomeranian right on our deck last night,” Christina Smith posted on the PEI Lost Pet Network Group’s Facebook page on Jan. 29.
“They are a large pack, live near Bluefield High School and are not afraid of people or big dogs. Please keep an eye on your pets and do not feed the coyotes.”
SaltWire Network spoke to Smith on January 31, but she declined an interview, saying she was still upset about the incident.
Flory Sanderson, who owns Island Hill Farm in Hampshire, said she’s been seeing more coyotes lately.
“Yeah, we see them all the way to the barn,” Sanderson said. “I don’t know what else to add other than keep my eyes peeled.”
Deep snow can drive coyotes out of the woods
Garry Gregory, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Communities, Land and Environment, said he didn’t hear about the attack in Hampshire until SaltWire Network contacted him on January 31.
“We would certainly like to get more information and find out if any intervention might be needed and determine if these are aggressive or brave coyotes,” Gregory. “We understand this lady’s experience and would encourage her to reach out so we can get… more information.”
That’s as much as he wanted to say about the Hampshire attack, but it gave some insight into the coyote’s winter behavior.
Gregory said while his office receives calls year-round from people in suburban and rural areas who feel the animals are getting too close for comfort, this winter has not been unusual in terms of animal behavior .
“This is the time of year that we talk about fairly regularly about how coyotes tend to be more visible in the landscape. At this time of year, deep snow can drive them out of the woods…potentially leading to more interactions between pets and coyotes.”
Coyotes in PEI
- Coyotes in the province are part of the Eastern Canadian breed, which contains a hybrid of a wolf and a domestic dog.
- The average coyote weighs less than 50 pounds.
- Anyone who sees a coyote or wildlife behaving erratically or aggressively is urged to call the Department of Communities, Land and Environment at 902-368-4683.
Gregory added that February is peak mating season, which can lead to territorial aggression in coyotes.
“It’s not usually a predatory thing. It’s not necessarily the case that coyotes are trying to prey on pets. Occasionally a coyote (may) feel somewhat threatened (that a) house dog might compete for access to companions. They (coyotes) are canines, after all. It can lead to more territorial incidents.”
Gregory said that while his office doesn’t keep accurate figures on the coyote population in PEI, it’s safe to say it’s significant.