Two Ontario children were attacked by coyotes and their parents say the city isn't doing enough

Two Ontario parents say they are afraid to let their children go outside after they were viciously attacked by coyotes and believe the city isn't doing enough to protect them.

Oshawa, Ont. woman Berlyn French said her three-year-son was playing in a backyard sandbox last week when he was attacked. 

She said she turned away for a moment to speak to a friend when she heard her son start to scream.

"I quickly turned and I see my son standing in the backyard with a coyote," French told CTV News Toronto. 

She said the coyote had bit her son multiple times before it was scared away temporarily by his screams.

French said when she started screaming and ran towards her son, the coyote tried to attack again. 

"I started running towards my son and he started running towards me and I was able to grab him before the coyote could get him again," French said. 

She said she ran inside the house and was able to inspect the bites on her son. 

"He just got nicked, it wasn’t too bad, but it did break the skin, so we decided to go the hospital," French said.

She said when she left the house to go to the hospital the coyote was sitting in her backyard "waiting for us to come back."

French said that even hours later, the coyote was still sitting in their backyard. 

"He's traumatized," French said about her son. "But because he’s so little I don't think he understands what could have happened. If I had of gone inside my house, he could have been pulled off."


French's son isn't the first child to be attacked by a coyote in recent months in the area. 

Joe Lefebvre's six-year-old daughter was attacked on the playground in July not far from French's house. 

He said she was bitten multiple times before the coyote was scared away. She was taken to hospital as a precaution. 

After the attack, the city put up a temporary fence up around the park that warned people that coyotes are in the area.

But Lefebvre says that's not enough, and that his daughter has become scared to leave her house.

"What does that actually do?" he said. "We're all aware there are coyotes here. The fence is just a façade."

He said the signs also say to call 911 if anyone feels threatened by the coyotes.

Lefebvre said in August another coyote tried to attack his daughter on the street but he was able to scare it away just in time. 

He says when he calls 911 about the coyotes, he’s told that there's little they can do.

Meanwhile, French said when she called 911 about her son's attack, she was told not to call them.

"911 told us not to call them and that we aren’t supposed to be calling them," French said. "We're confused."

French said she called the local police department after she got back from hospital and officers came to her street but not much else was done. 


Lefebvre said he's struggled to receive communication from the city about what steps they will take to protect the children.

He said he met with city councillors on Monday to discuss the issue, but said "they're not doing anything about it."

"We're dealing with little children here. Would you rather protect the coyotes? You would rather make it sound like you’re doing the best that you can by putting up flyers telling us to co-exist?"

CTV News Toronto spoke with Oshawa City Councillor Jane Hurst, who lives in the area on Tuesday morning. She said the city is taking the issue "very seriously" and that nothing like this has happened before.

"There is a process and procedure we have to do to make the appropriate decisions," Hurst said. 

"We have brought forward a strategy to our staff to consult with a wildlife expert and the appropriate qualified trappers and hunters to pursue this course of action."

But until the coyotes are gone, parents like French and Lefebvre said they’ll be keeping their kids inside.