Dog killed in attack a beloved community pet

SandeeCoyoteAttackAn Oakville woman is warning fellow residents and pet owners to keep a close watch over their furry friends when outdoors after her dog was snatched and killed by a coyote Tuesday near her home.

The attack is one of two that occurred this week in northwest Oakville. A second dog was attacked on Wednesday morning while on a walk with its owner north of Upper Middle Road near Grand Oak Trail — it survived with a few injuries.

“We heard about sightings around our neighbourhood all the time, but we never thought it (the coyotes) would come this close to our house and in the morning,” said Debbie O’Neil, whose Saddler Circle residence backs onto a path that leads to Heritage Way Park and St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School — her dog was killed Tuesday morning.

O’Neil says on Jan. 10 around 8:35 a.m., she was getting her son ready for school and to walk him to St. Bernadette’s — a four- to five-minute walk from her home — using the path from her backyard.

The O’Neil family’s eight-year-old, five-pound malti-poo (a half-Maltese, half-poodle breed), Sandee, usually follows them outside to the fenced backyard in the morning, barking as her owners leave and waiting for O’Neil to return.

Upon arriving back home after dropping her son at his school, O’Neil said she and her husband, Tom, heard a knock at their door.

“My husband heard a screeching sound like a cat coming from the forest area and we saw a crowd of our neighbours forming,” she said. “But by the time everyone came out it was too late, a coyote had taken Sandee and disappeared into the forest… It was all of 10-15 minutes from when the school bell rang, which you could hear from our backyard, when it probably happened.”

Although O’Neil and her husband didn’t see how their dog escaped from the backyard, she says Sandee was so small, the dog could have wedge herself through a tiny gap in their backyard fence.

Later, O’Neil picked up her daughter from school and the girl was obviously distraught after hearing about her dog. O’Neil and her daughter then went out looking for Sandee. It was around 11:30 a.m. when they came upon her in the forest area near Heritage Way Park.

“I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her body in the forest like that,” O’Neil said. “We’re just so glad we found her…. she’s not just our beloved pet, but the neighbourhood’s. Everyone knew her. We are truly saddened by it all.”

The dog’s remains were cremated and returned to the family.

O’Neil said she called the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) on Wednesday, but was told very little could be done.

“They said that coyotes are very territorial. They know that they’re going to get food from the neighbourhood, from garbage or animals nearby, like rabbits and squirrels — this is their territory. They’ve marked this as their territory and they will constantly come back,” she said. “(And) as it gets colder and we get more into the winter season, the coyotes will get closer,” as their natural food source becomes less readily available.

“We’re now seeing people carrying sticks while walking their dogs as a precaution if they encounter a coyote.”

Chris Jewell, a spokesperson for the Halton Catholic District School Board confirmed with the Beaver that coyotes have been sighted at St. Bernadette and other schools in the Glen Abbey area.

“The schools are very vigilant in that they constantly scan their properties for sightings to make sure the school area is safe for children. If one (a coyote) is spotted, the children are kept inside,” Jewell said. “They are aware of the issue and are taking the appropriate precautions to keep the area, and children, safe.”

Brenda Dushko of the Oakville and Milton Human Society said the organization sent animal control officers to the area Wednesday several times after a few reported sightings of a coyote.

“We are also sending an officer to the school near the sightings each morning and at dismissal time to monitor the situation,” Dushko said. “Our concern, as always, is for the safety of people and their pets and we are committed to providing as much support as possible. As the coyote appears to be healthy, we have also contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources to make them aware of this very unfortunate situation.”

The Town of Oakville held a seminar last September at which MNR representatives addressed public concerns about the wildlife in neighbourhoods and living with coyotes.

The MNR advises people not to feed or approach coyotes, if they encounter one. However, if they do, they are advised to act larger in stature and make noise by jiggling keys or using a loud voice to scare off the wild animal.

For more information on the Town’s wildlife initiatives and safety tips, visit

Meanwhile, O’Neil hopes what has happened to her family’s dog will serve as a warning to other residents to keep their pets safe.
“No matter what time of day it is, make sure you stay with your pet when you go out for walks or are outside,” she said. “My advice is don’t leave your pet outside without supervision and carry something that is going to scare them (coyotes) off.”–dog-killed-in-attack-a-beloved-community-pet

Share This Post

Related Articles

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /homepages/34/d196302255/htdocs/ml/wp-includes/class-wp-comment-query.php on line 405

Leave a Reply

You must be Logged in to post comment.