Metro / CANDICE WARD Michelle Willson walks her two dogs Charlie and Barney in Nosehill Park on Wednesday afternoon.

A string of coyote attacks in a Calgary park have pet owners and local animal businesses concerned, as Fish and Wildlife officers are reporting a sharp rise in urban coyote sightings.

According to Hailey Seidel of Bowdog Canine Specialists, a dog was separated from a group of five others and attacked by a pack of coyotes in Nose Hill Park Wednesday morning. The dog was taken to an area vet.

Wednesday’s victim was the third pup from Bowdog to be targeted by coyotes.

A boxer and a Doberman were injured Monday, said Seidel.

“The coyotes are more aggressive than they’ve ever been before,” she said.

Cara Piskopos of Creekside Veterinary Hospital on Symons Valley Rd. NW, said she’s also seen an increase in the number of animals brought in after coyote attacks.

“They’ll just come up, grab [the dog] and run – leash or no leash, whether the owners are screaming or not,” said Piskopos.

Coyote calls have increased by about 20 per cent this year, said Alberta Fish and Wildlife officer, Ed Pirogowicz.

Pirogowicz attributed the rise to such factors as human food sources, the mild winter has allowed more coyotes to survive, and territorial claims with newly born young.

What to do if a coyote approaches you?

  • Do not turn away or run. This may encourage the coyote to chase you.
  • If you spot a coyote, pick up your small dog. Ensure your large dog is leashed and under your control. Back away slowly and leave the area immediately.

- source: Alberta Fish and Wildlife

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