If you’re a cat or dog owner, you’ll want to hold your furry friends close while reading this story, which, while disturbing, will hopefully remind people in Toronto to keep a close eye on their pets while outdoors.
A resident of the city’s Don Mills neighbourhood has just faced the worst possible ending to her desperate search for her family cat, Pepper, an 11-year-old outdoor calico who liked to sit just outside the front door of her home.
A few days after reporting the kitty missing with an agency and sharing Pepper’s photo on community Facebook groups, owner Mehr-Afarin Kohan was forced to call off the search and issue a tragic update to the case: though Pepper had not been found, security camera footage made it evident what unfortunate fate she met.
“I’m sad to say that after hours of watching our CCTV, we realized that our dear Pepper was attacked and taken by two coyotes right in front of our front door,” Kohan wrote in the Toronto Lost and Found Cats group.
“We are heartbroken and scared at the same time because we have a small child.”
The bereaved pet parent noted the boldness of the wild animals, who crossed the driveway, wandered around the yard and approached the front door despite the porch lights being on.
They then chased the cat, who made a few futile attempts to flee up a tree before she was sadly caught. Though further interaction between the creatures appears in the background of the shot, viewer discretion is definitely advised.
TRIGGER WARNING: The following video may be disturbing to some viewers. pic.twitter.com/OVzvjgVRLR
— blogTO (@blogTO) October 27, 2023
“This was so unexpected and so I wish for others to know this can happen… We definitely wished we had been warned because we have now lost a sweet member of our family and especially a friend to our 5-year-old daughter” Kohan, who has lived at her current homewith Pepper and her family for five years, tells blogTO.
“We knew the dangers of coyotes on the streets or in the parks, but we somehow thought our front door was safe! Perhaps because Pepper sat there every night for many years without any incidents.”
Coyote sightings and interactions have increased in and around Toronto in recent years, with tons of videos shot of the creatures in schoolyards, in parks, transit stations and, indeed, in people’s yards.
While attacks are rare, they have happened; in summer 2021, a tiny Yorkie mix sustained serious injuries defending her 10-year-old owner from a coyote during a walk in Scarborough, and a year later, an owner had their maltese snatched from their grasp by a coyote in Oakville.
There was also the Bayview Village Park coyote that was aggressively tormenting humans and their pets a few autumns ago.
The City always advises citizens to avoid feeding the animals, keep garbage locked up and very closely supervise pets while outside.
“If you know of coyotes in your area, do not let your pets out into your backyard alone. Always supervise your pets when out in the backyard, especially if you live near ravines, green spaces or other areas where there are coyotes,” staff wrote in a PSA on the subject after sightings started spiking.