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Yet another Arlington coyote attack has dog owners on edge; expert gives webinar on how to avoid

"These incidents where smaller dogs and little animals are getting attacked by coyotes…You just got to be with your animals all the time."

A 2013 file photo depicting a coyote in Massachusetts. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

An Arlington labradoodle was seriously injured by a coyote on Sunday night, the latest in a series of attacks.

An Arlington family told NBC10 Boston about the attack on their 5-year-old dog, Layla, when they let her out. Her owner, Tim Birmingham, said he or his wife always stand on the front steps when they let Layla out on her leash, and that they’d kept an eye on her that night. 

“She was only out maybe five or six seconds when she started to bark,” Birmingham told NBC. “We got her inside, she just looked like she had a little blood on her. My wife, who’s a nurse, put a towel on her, then saw that she was bleeding, so we went right to the hospital.”

The vet told them Layla had serious injuries which they suspected to be from a coyote bite. Birmingham said they were “very fortunate” to receive great care. He told 7 News Boston Layla’s surgeon said the attack came close to ending her life.

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“These incidents where smaller dogs and little animals are getting attacked by coyotes…You just got to be with your animals all the time,” he said.

This is just the latest in a series of coyote attacks, which have also involved children. On Sept. 5, there were two separate attacks on 2-year-old girls who were playing outside. Both were taken to the hospital and neither had life-threatening injuries, the Associated Press reported. On Aug. 15, a 5-year-old boy playing outside was bitten on the leg by a coyote; his injuries were also non-life-threatening. 

John Maguranis, a retired Belmont animal control officer, told 7 News Boston he believes the incidents are connected, with one animal responsible for all of the attacks. Most animals, he said, don’t want anything to do with people.

“The only explanation I could come up with is that it’s either a sick animal, or, most likely, it’s been fed,” he told NBC10 Boston.

On Thursday, he’s holding a 6 p.m. webinar for the community to share information and tips on how to live safely around coyotes (such as bringing a stick when you go on a walk).

“I want to calm people down, let them know this isn’t a grizzly bear,” he told 7 News. “This isn’t going to eat people.”

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