Aggressive coyotes in the Mission area have the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) urging residents to take precautions.
Six people suffered minor injuries in coyote incidents in Mission on Thursday morning (Sept. 14), according to a COS statement.
“All of the individuals were bitten on the leg by a coyote in four separate incidents between 5:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. In one incident, three workers in the same area were bitten by a coyote,” the statement reads.
Conservation officers patrolled the areas, including Lark Street, Starling Avenue, River Place and Raven Avenue but no coyotes were seen.
The COS is investigating but it is unknown how many coyotes could be involved in the incidents.
The Dirksens live close to Mission Golf and Country Club near Silverdale and had troubling encounters with a coyote or coyotes over the past several weeks.
Matthew Dirksen suffered a bite on his leg just weeks after the Dirksens’ cat, Maisie, was killed by a coyote in August.
On the morning of Aug. 24, the Dirksens’ neighbour was banging on their door. Kim Dirksen, Matthew’s mother, says the neighbour saw the coyote catch the cat – who wasn’t supposed to be outside – on their front lawn.
“Obviously, we know that it’s one fell swoop with the coyotes that they go in at the neck and kill them right away,” Kim said.
The coyote eventually dropped the cat after the Dirksens tracked it down, and the family was able to retrieve her.
“He didn’t get to take her away, but he kept trying to come at my husband and bite him,” Kim said.
Upon returning home, the Dirksens found their other cat stirring and the coyote back at their front door.
“He knew, I guess, that there was more [or] he wanted the cat back – I don’t know – but he was very, very brazen. He was not one bit afraid of us,” Kim said.
The Dirksens were able to chase the coyote off, but Kim says it was a horrible experience
“Everybody loves their pets, but she was a special little sweetheart,” Kim said.
Kim says she understands that people will say they shouldn’t have let their cat out, but was more worried by the coyote’s actions towards people.
Early in the morning on Sept. 6, Matthew was at work changing a tire on Gill Avenue when he had another scary encounter with a coyote.
“It was nice and loud – the semi truck’s running, my work trucks running and I’m flailing around with my tools. Out of nowhere, [a coyote] came up behind me and grabbed my leg. So that surprised me pretty good,” he said.
Dirksen went to the hospital and was given shots and antibiotics. He says if it had been a child, there would have been no hope for them.
“There’s a couple of teeth marks but I wear cowboy boots to work and that was kind of my saving grace that day,” he said.
The COS investigated the incident and patrolled the area. According to a news release, no coyote was seen.
Kim is hoping for vigilance from the conservation officer service with increased coyote activity in the area.
“It’s just scary what could potentially happen to a child or an elderly person out walking their dog,” she said.
The COS says officers are working with the City of Mission on public outreach efforts, including signage and patrols.
“The COS encourages people to take precautions in case of coyote encounters, including leashing pets, considering keeping cats indoors, travelling in groups and carrying bear spray,” a news release reads.
Coyote activity will be monitored by the COS and the service will respond as necessary to ensure public safety. The COS stressed the importance of not feeding dangerous wildlife.
Reports can be made to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1-877-952-7277.