A week after Global News first reported on coyote attacks on dogs at Princess Margaret Park in Etobicoke, residents continue to come forward to express their concern over the ongoing issue.

There have been numerous reports to the City of Toronto concerning coyote attacks in the area.

Doug Youngson says he didn’t think twice about stepping in when his dog Kahlua was surrounded by a pack of coyotes at the park on Canada Day.

Youngson says he, his wife and their two canines were out for a walk around 5 p.m. when they came face-to-face with multiple coyotes.

“My wife said, ‘Look, there’s a coyote. Let’s go.’ I turned around, said, ‘OK, fine, let’s go,’” he recalled.

“As soon as I turned around, there was another one there. I went ‘Oh my.’ There was another one here. I said, ‘We have a problem.’”

Then I turn, there’s another one here. I said ‘We have a problem.’”

Both dogs were on leads, but while Mai Tai stopped on command, Kahlua didn’t.

Youngson said he could hear the commotion unfolding in the wooded area of the park. He soon discovered his dog in the grips of one of the coyotes.

“The large one, which is about the size of a pretty good German Shepherd, walking away with him in his mouth,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘Oh my God. He’s dead.’”

Eventually, he was able to reach his dog and rushed to get him to the emergency veterinarian. His injuries were severe, and Youngson says medical bills for Kahlua have totalled around $20,000.

The email you need for the day’s
top news stories from Canada and around the world.

Speaking one-on-one with Global News, he acknowledges how fortunate they’ve been to be able to provide their dog with immediate and continuous care, despite the cost. However, he says not all dog owners have that ability and he fears what may happen next if the situation isn’t brought under control.

He says Kahlua sustained at least a dozen bites, including to his neck, chest cavity and abdomen.

“It’s my dog. It’s part of my family,” he says.

Kahlua underwent surgery and spent a week in hospital before being able to come home. Youngson and his wife say they’re closely monitoring his recovery.

Scars are still visible on the canine’s body, including a large vertical surgery incision from his chest to his abdomen.

Global News reached out to the City of Toronto for an interview to establish clarity on how it is addressing reports of coyote attacks in the area.

In an email statement, Animal Services director Dr. Esther Attard says, “The City of Toronto is aware of recent coyote attacks on dogs in Princess Margaret Park and continue to work to address issues involving these coyotes in the area through education and community support.”

Over the last week, multiple signs have been installed by the city warning residents of the coyotes’ presence in the park. Caution tape has also been placed at entrances to deter people from using the densely-forested area.

According to the city’s website, if you do encounter a coyote, you should make yourself appear large and imposing. That includes standing upright, raising your arms in the air, and waving your jacket.

They also advise people to be loud and make sounds or noises to scare the coyote away. That can include blowing a whistle or air horn, stomping your feet, clapping your hands, or snapping open a large plastic or garbage bag.

It also recommends being assertive, which can include swinging a walking stick or cane, shining a flashlight on the coyote, or throwing a tennis ball or small pebble in its direction.

“Yeah, a stick would be great for one [coyote],” Youngson said. “You can’t do anything if there are six or seven.”

The city tells Global News members of the coyote family have been known to be in the West Deane Park area for over six years and it appears they recently relocated to Princess Margaret Park. It’s unknown exactly why their behaviour towards dogs has turned aggressive.

In the statement, Dr. Attard says “a variety of factors are likely to be contributing.”

When asked what some of those factors include, Dr. Attard said loud noises (such as fireworks) and perceived threats to their young could potentially trigger a reaction. She added that feeding by residents may also be “blurring the boundaries between humans and wildlife.”

If you encounter a coyote while walking your dogs, the city is advising that you pick them up or keep them on a short leash and try to get to a busy area.

The statement goes on to read, “While the city does its best to support wildlife in their natural habitat, if animal behaviour changes in a way that affects public safety, the City will take action after assessing all options available.”