Impasse over coyote danger sparks wily schemes

Jeff Walker Walkabout column logoPeople feeding animals outside are a menace. The practice draws coyotes. (See last month’s column about the coyote danger in the Leaside area.)

Since older folks seem to love feeding the squirrels and birds, prohibiting such would be painful. It would involve reporting incidents of feeding to municipal authorities, which would pit neighbour against neighbour.

Moreover, since police enforcement of even mundane traffic laws in this city is something of a joke, what can we realistically expect on this new front?

If you’re mad as heck at the prospect of a coyote infiltration of Leaside and want to blast the suckers à la Elmer Fudd/Donald Trump, forget it. Discharging firearms, setting traps and poisoning in the GTA are basically illegal. After all, these are just as likely to hurt other animals or fellow citizens.

Moreover, killing some number of coyotes would merely open up their territory for other coyotes to take over. As Leslie Sampson of Coyote Watch put it, as far as coyote control is concerned, “non-lethal is what we’re after.”

However, at one point during the East York town hall meeting I reported last month, while reiterating how futile a more lethal strategy would be, Sampson speculated it would reduce the numbers by only, say, half, and only temporarily.

I was amazed that no one else picked up on this. If the Leafs lost only half as many games next season as this season, surely they’d be atop the league standings.

Another speaker at that meeting, Brent Patterson of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, has humanely trapped many a coyote, and affixed a radio collar for tracking subsequent movements. Surely authorized personnel could humanely “trap and euthanize” once the problem gets bad enough….

Stop right there, buster. Two coyote-loving animal-rights activists announced their presence at the meeting with protest signs and a save-the-coyotes pitch guaranteed to rankle the concerned pet-owners present. When a mild-mannered gentleman had the audacity to suggest the burden of co-existing was falling far more heavily on residents than on the coyotes, he was verbally assaulted by one of the animal rights women. Inside of 30 seconds he was informed that Mars awaits anyone unprepared for the rigours of co-existence here on earth.

Well then. To accommodate the animal rightists, and to make our new neighbours feel as welcome as possible, I suggest that Leaside break away from the City of Toronto and elect our own “coyote mayor.” Inevitably, because of the communication problem, we will entice Doug Ford to Leaside (it pains me to write those words) to play the same role for our coyote mayor as he once played for his brother Rob—adult supervision and translation of mayoral musings into human speech. The slogan “Respect for Coyotes” should get them into office, and who better to complement Doug’s jolly and pudgy demeanor than a coyote embodying Doug’s lean and mean political philosophy? Also, by way of admitting forthrightly that this new co-existence has its dangers, I would recommend that the new Leaside hockey squad for 2–3 year-olds be christened the Leaside Coyote-Snacks. Just to keep the wee ones on their toes, which would naturally transition some tots to figure skating.

If the above sounds a little scary to you, work up to it by viewing that 1988 Australian movie with Meryl Streep, A Cry in the Dark, keying on a baby-snatching dingo (a coyote with an Aussie accent). The incident Down Under happened around the same time that a coyote fatally mauled 3-year-old Kelly Keen in Glendale, California.

Terrible, just terrible. Okay, look, if the Wile E Coyote/Doug Ford team can’t turn around the deteriorating situation in our community, I suggest that on some night lit by a full moon, Leaside villagers wield torches and pitchforks led by Elmer Fudd and Donald Trump himself and wipe out the nasty critters altogether. And then the animal rights people can wipe us out, and everyone will be happy.