The death sentence is off for a pair of Beach-area coyotes, though the animals could still be headed to prison or rehab. Provided, of course, they can be caught.

“They are fairly wily animals. They are not easy to trap,” said Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield.

The coyotes, who have been roaming around Neville Park Boulevard, were thrust into the media spotlight after one snatched a dog in broad daylight in front of its owner.

Cansfield yesterday gave them a reprieve by clearing their transfer to another location, likely a zoo or animal rehabilitation facility. Under the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, animals can be relocated only as far as one kilometre away, unless the ministry approves a farther move.

The news followed a Friday announcement that the city had laid traps and planned to euthanize the animals once captured.

Spokesperson Rob Andrusevich said the ministry had denied the city permission to relocate them farther away. “So that left us with no choice but to euthanize,” he said.

Ministry biologists will decide where the animals should be taken after they are caught, Cansfield said.