Pet owners in Yellowknife’s Range Lake area are being warned to keep their eyes open for wildlife after a coyote snatched a small dog from a backyard over the weekend.
On Sunday afternoon, Shelley Grimes let out her two Yorkshire terriers, Charlie and Zoey, for only a couple minutes before looking outside to bring them back in.
It was at that point that she noticed a coyote approaching one of her dogs.
“I ran out and made a lot of noise and shushed it away,” said Grimes. “Then I picked up [Charlie] and starting calling for [Zoey] and looking for her because I couldn’t see her anywhere.”
Grimes and her husband started searching their backyard and a forested area behind their home on Rivett Crescent, but she says it was to no avail.
“All we could see were big paw prints and no little prints,” said Grimes. “We noticed too that prints were all over other people’s back gardens as well … but there were no signs of [Zoey] anywhere.”
Grimes says her backyard is fenced off, but only high enough so that her small dogs can’t get out. She reckons animals like coyotes would have no issue jumping it.
Grimes is reminding other pet owners to keep their animals close.
“If you do have your pets out, please watch them or keep them on a leash. Dogs, cats and other small animals can be easy prey.”
Coyotes bolder this time of year
Wild predators like coyotes have a tendency to become bolder this time of year, according to a biologist with the territory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Dean Cluff says food sources can become limited this time of year, pushing animals like coyotes into more urban areas. Younger coyotes might also become bolder as they leave their mothers.
Cluff says coyotes have been in the Yellowknife area for decades, but only recently have they started breeding in the area.
“It’s only been since 2000 where we’ve had coyotes for sure breeding in the area,” he said. “You also have to remember that we tend to get spikes in sightings this time of year and during denning season.”
Cluff says wildlife officers were called to investigate Zoey’s disappearance but their efforts to track down her down have also come up empty.
He says pet owners should keep their pets close and even on a leash if necessary.
If you feel threatened by a wild animal like a coyote, call the territory’s wildlife emergency line at (867) 873-7181.