The Big Story: Animal control officers catch a coyote that was wandering around Mattapan near the Mildred Avenue School. [[SLIDE]]
A coyote that had wandered into the city was captured this afternoon after his travels through the Mattapan neighborhood caused alarm — and the lockdown of a school.
After hunting for the animal for at least an hour, animal control officers caught the coyote behind 12 Hosmer St. around 12:30 p.m., just down the road from the Mildred Avenue School.
The unhappy animal, a bit smaller than a Labrador, was dragged from behind the house by officers and placed in an Animal Control truck.
“I just came out here and saw everyone making a fuss. I’ve never seen one in the neighborhood,” said Anthony Smith, 48, who lives on the street. “I don’t know why they’re coming here in the city. They should be out in the woods. I think they’re following the train tracks because it’s rare to see them in the neighborhood.”
The MBTA’s Fairmount commuter line, which goes to Needham, runs through the area.
Sightings of the forest denizen had caused the lockdown of the K-8 school this morning.
While the search was still underway, Principal Deborah Dancy said, “Everyone is just fine.”
She said animal control officers and other personnel had responded because of the “detection or suspicion” of a coyote in the neighborhood.
Boston School Department spokesman Lee McGuire said the school had been placed in “safe mode” out of an abundance of caution. Students could move freely inside the school, but they weren’t allowed out for recess.
Coyotes are not uncommon to the area, since cities do have greenspace that are attractive to wildlife, said Laura Conlee, the state’s wildlife biologist.
“Railroads aren’t as busy as busy streets, and typically connect different bits of greenspace,” Conlee said. “And they’re usually covered in trees, not in the open. They’re pretty good corridors for wildlife movement.”
She added that wild animals are attracted to trash and food left outside, and it isn’t unusual for them to appear during the day if they know that’s when they will find food.
The coyote was later transported to the Tufts Wildlife Clinic in Grafton for an examination, which has not yet been completed, said Katie Cinnamond, a spokeswoman for the clinic.