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Wellesley police issue coyote alert after two dogs, deer attacked

Posted by Your Town  February 7, 2012 11:20 AM

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Wellesley police issued an alert Monday after two dogs and a deer were attacked by coyotes around dawn in the past week.

Last week, a pet-owner let her dog outside between 6 and 7 a.m. While watching from the window, she saw a coyote grab her dog. The coyote dropped the dog when the owner ran outside, which authorities said is consistent with normal behavior for a coyote.

The small dog was taken to a veterinarian and is expected to make a full recovery. On February 4, another small dog was attacked by two coyotes at 6:45 a.m. on Bristol Road. The dog did not survive the attack.

About the same time as the first dog attack, a coyote attacked a sick deer on the opposite end of town, Webb said in an alert on the town’s website. Webb moved the deer carcass into the woods.

Webb said coyotes breed in February and March, so they are very active while looking for a mate. She said coyotes are around all year, and are most active at dawn and dusk.

On the town of Wellesley's website, animal control officials are telling residents not to feed, pet, or approach coyotes. Residents should not leave pet food outside and should always watch their pets, especially dogs under 20 pounds, while outside.

“If you see a coyote, make loud noises, yell, toss water balloons, a tennis ball and other objects in the general direction of the animal to startle it. By exhibiting these actions you are reinforcing wildlife's perception of you as a predator,” the website said. “Make sure that the coyotes natural fear of man remains acute.”

The Globe reported last month that, according to the state’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, in the 60 years that significant numbers of coyotes have been present in Massachusetts, there have been five recorded instances where a coyote bit a human, including an incident in Haverhill recently. Two of the coyotes in previous attacks were confirmed to be rabid, and one was suspected of having rabies.

Coyotes have been spotted recently in Needham, Newton and Belmont. Some suburban communities have held public meetings in recent months to discuss encroaching coyotes. In Belmont, the town has launched a coyote-tracking website, which monitors where the animals have been seen around town.

For more coyote advice and past boston.com/yourtown coverage, go here.

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