The city of Burlington is urging residents to “continue to be vigilant” after reporting a seventh coyote attack last month.
City officials have been investigating a series of “unprovoked” attacks this summer involving victims including a toddler, an 18-year-old girl, a resident of a retirement home and most recently, according to a press release, a home on Lakeshore Road on Saturday.
The city says the victim was resting in her backyard when a coyote bit her knee. She was taken to the hospital and treated.
“It’s horrifying and traumatizing,” Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said.
“In every situation, people were in parks or trails, some in their own backyard or front yard, and the coyote would appear and attack.”
2 coyotes dead, 1 still at large
While coyotes are commonly seen in Burlington, the city says they rarely attack humans and naturally fear them.
However, according to Ward, wildlife experts and the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Forestry have told these attacks come from a small pack of coyotes that have learned not to be afraid of humans – most likely because someone fed them.
“People may think they mean well, but they’re actually signing the death warrant for this animal,” Ward said.
City and Wildlife Protection has killed two coyotes in connection with attacks in south central Burlington.
But a third worrying coyote is still at large, according to a news release Monday.
The coyote is described as smaller and sandy-colored — the same traits noted in the sixth and seventh attacks on September 10 and 17.
The city says it is asking residents to remain vigilant in areas of the attacks and to report coyote sightings to the city.
The city is raising awareness as residents remain on high alert
Burlington City Council recently voted to step up its Coyote Response strategy amid news of the sixth attack surfacing last week.
However, some local residents question whether all measures are effective enough to prevent others from being injured.
Val Riggs says she’s been careful to bring things that make loud noises when she or her kids are walking their dog.
She calls the situation “scary”.
“It’s hard to say if they’ve really addressed the issue in the right way or if it’s just a band-aid for the whole problem we’re facing,” Riggs said.
Simon Leung says he’d be scared if anything happened to his one- and three-year-olds at home, and makes sure they stay inside if coyotes roam his property after sunrise.
“I hope the city will do everything possible to address the problem,” Leung said.
Ward says the city has issued over 3,000 whistles to residents to ward off the animals, and the city says it has put up more signs in high-risk areas of south-central Burlington to warn residents of “increased and aggressive coyote activity.”
She adds that the city is raising awareness of the issue through social media posts, has planned a “mail drop” to educate residents about the dangers of feeding wildlife, and notes that it’s also considering imposing fines for those caught feeding wild animals.
The city has a list of tips Burlington residents can follow to minimize interactions with coyotes, which can be found here.