By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
A local resident is concerned about what he says is a growing number of coyote-dog hybrids in Oshawa.
Rod McGillawee says he has encountered the hybrids, or as he calls them “coydogs,” in a number of locations across the city and region.
McGillawee says he first witnessed the animals near the CNR rail spur on Harbour Road a few years ago.
Other past encounters occurred on Hall’s Road in south Whitby, and Summerlea Golf Club in Port Perry.
In south Oshawa, he captured photos of a ‘coydog’ through a fence near the AG Simpson lands on Simcoe Street South.
The latest encounter was near Bonnie Brae Point.
McGillawee said he has sent photos he captured of the animals to CLOCA and the Ministry of Natural Resources in Peterborough.
Jolanta Kowalski, a spokesperson for the MNR, said experts from the ministry examined pictures taken by McGillawee.
“Our experts determined those are typical eastern coyotes which are common across the landscape in parts of southern Ontario,” Kowalski said in an e-mail to The Express.
While eastern coyotes show evidence of past interbreeding with dogs and wolves, Kowalski said mating with dogs or wolves is currently rare.
“Interbreeding between coyotes and wolves is largely restricted to areas of central Ontario where the range of Algonquin wolves and eastern coyotes overlaps. Given a choice, wolves and coyotes prefer to breed with their own species.”
Despite this, McGillawee says something should be done by the ministry, CLOCA or the region to address the issue.
McGillawee told The Oshawa Express he has spoken with others who’ve also seen the animals.
A resident of Whiting Avenue apparently hunts the animals with his large dog as McGillawee says a number of cats and small dogs have gone missing.
McGillawee alleges he was told the ‘coydogs’ have killed two adult Whitetail deer in recent months.
He’s seen both adult and young animals, and never more than four at a time.
In his view, an “unknown about coydogs is we do not know how many generations of crossbreeding is being expressed by any one individual.”
McGillawee says the animals he has seen have been “very-tan coloured” and of “varying darker” colours.
“One of the hallmarks of the coydogs is the tail is not the big brush of the pure coyote [also known as a brush wolf],” he states. “Also the pure coyote has a reddish tinge on the fur on top of the head and nose.”
Personality-wise, these animals may not have the “same fear of people” coyotes possess and could be more aggressive, especially if hungry, McGillawee says.
“A small child could very easily be attacked by a coydog.”