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Officials in Massachusetts warn after dogs and dog owner attacked by coyotes; issue tips to avoid being a victim



COHASSET — Chief William Quigley reports that the Cohasset Police Department is cautioning residents following two reported coyote incidents in town.

On August 27, Cohasset Police received two reports of incidents involving coyote interactions. In the early morning hours of August 27, Cohasset police officers were dispatched to a residence on Highland Avenue for an incident between seven coyotes and two dogs. The dogs were off-leash when they were approached and attacked by the coyotes. One of the dogs involved in the incident was euthanized due to extensive injuries as a result of the attack.

Officers also learned that later that day at approximately 8:30 a.m., a man and his two dogs, who were also off-leash, were on the blue trail in the Whitney Thayer Woods by the Brass Kettle Brook when they were attacked by a coyote. The man went to the hospital following this incident and has since been treated and released.

“Coyotes are active year-round and we typically see increased activity in the springtime, however, ahead of the winter we also see a lot of coyote activity as they hunt in preparation for the winter months,” said Natural Resources Officer Josh Kimball. “To ensure our community members’ safety, we encourage residents to be aware of their surroundings and monitor their animals at all times. Oftentimes, wild animals see smaller pets as potential food and larger pets as competition, so they attack. We encourage residents to not let these animals intimidate you, and if you do encounter a coyote, you should scare them away immediately.”

Cohasset Police wish to share these tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife for safely avoiding interactions with coyotes:

Never provide food for coyotes or do anything to attract them. Coyotes rely on natural food and typically remain wild and wary of humans. Food, including snacks, pet food, birdseed and food-related trash, can attract coyotes and other wildlife. Left outside, these foods encourage wild animals to visit residential areas. Only feed pets indoors and keep dumpster and trash areas clean, as well as keeping trash containers covered.

Spend time outdoors. Coyotes generally try to avoid humans, and their natural fear is reinforced when play areas, back yards and trails are actively used by people. The regular presence of people is a deterrent for coyotes to visit.

Protect pets from coyotes. Although free roaming pets are more likely to be killed by automobiles than by wild animals, coyotes do view cats and small dogs as potential food, and larger dogs as competition. For the safety of your pets, keep them leashed and under your supervision at all times. Also remember to feed your pets indoors to avoid attracting wildlife.

If you encounter a coyote, Project Coyote recommends taking steps to scare it away — these steps are known as hazing: Stand your ground: Make eye contact and advance toward the coyote while actively hazing until it retreats. Allow room for it to retreat. Make sure the coyote is focused on you as a source of danger. Do not haze from a building or car where it can’t clearly see you. Continue your hazing efforts, even if there is more than one coyote present. Use multiple tools, such as loud sounds, light and exaggerated motion. Hazing should be exaggerated, assertive and consistent. Coyotes have routine habits, so make note of when and where you encounter them. Ask your neighbors to assist in scaring them off. If a coyote appears sick or injured, do not attempt to haze it.

Hazing should be avoided in the months of March through July, as well as if the coyote is a comfortable distance away, or if you encounter a coyote in an open area where a den may be nearby. You should haze a coyote if it approaches you, or if you see it comfortably walking in a neighborhood or park.

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