For nearly two months, the Brookswood neighbourhood of Langley and residents of Maple Ridge lived in fear that there was a disturbed person mutilating cats and leaving their body parts around to torment residents.
RCMP and the SPCA were on the hunt for this deranged killer.
It turned out that the supposed deranged murderer is actually of the four-legged variety and without being able to read headlines about itself these scruffy wild dogs are still out killing, said Conservation Officer Dave Cox.
But just when it was thought coyotes were laying low after all the attention, it turns out they have become even more aggressive and have a taste for Brookswood and south Langley people’s pets, said Cox.
“The coyote has changed its focus from its regular food of small rodents and rabbit to start targeting cats and small dogs,” said Cox. He is receiving two to three calls a day about coyote killings and too-close for comfort sightings.
A most recent tragedy in Brookswood shows how brazen these hungry canines have become.
Last week, a family was having a birthday party with young ones in a backyard when a coyote came into the yard and attacked the family dog, killing it, said Cox.
Just last week, a few small dogs were killed and a fair number of cats are being killed every week. Missing cat posters fill telephone poles and fences.
“There is absolute rage out there because these are people’s pets, their family that the coyotes are killing and they want every coyote killed,” he said.
Cox said he doesn’t know if the coyote population has increased or not, but their food source has changed to the pet variety. While many are calling for a cull of coyotes or at least killing some trouble some ones, Cox said it isn’t a long term solution.
“If we kill a few, others will just take their place,” he said.
In the three years Cox, who is a Brookswood resident himself, has worked in the area there have been no attacks on humans and none that he knows of.
“That’s not to say it couldn’t happen,” he said. But his goal as a conservation officer is get coyotes and humans to coexist.
“We have the luxury of seeing wildlife so we need to take responsibility to protect them and ourselves,” he said.
Cox said there is a food abundance for coyotes here in Langley including rodents, a large population of eastern cottontail, field mice, moles, nesting birds. But coyotes are finding pets an easier, perhaps tastier target.
He’s hoping residents will become part of the solution and become very vigilant in making their yards coyote proof so these wily canines go back to eating wild meat.
Keeping a yard fenced is the best protection. Coyotes can jump about six feet though, he warns. If a coyote does come into a yard, be loud, mean and make them run away. Never leave garbage out or cat or dog food.
The Stanley Park Ecology Centre has created a “How to Coexist with Coyotes” webpage with helpful suggestions at stanleyparkecology.ca.
Cox suggest that people still call the 24-7 Conservation Office report wildlife line at 1-877-952-7277.
“We will remove coyotes if there is a public safety issue,” he said.