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Following a report of a coyote in the Crosby Street area last Friday, town police and state officials are asking the public not to feed wildlife.

In a news release Wednesday, June 8, Chief Julie Flaherty said that her department, in cooperation with the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and the state Environmental Police, responded to a report of a coyote in a residential area about 11 a.m. June 3. Arlington police contacted its state law-enforcement partners to assist.

The initial investigation determined that the coyote was the same one that had been sighted in the neighborhood several times in the past month, including in the area of the Bishop School playground.

Coyote put down

After consulting with their law-enforcement partners, Arlington police decided to put the coyote down. This occurred successfully about 11:45 a.m., before the Bishop School noon recess.

In September 2021, three children were bitten by coyotes in separate incidents, all within a mile of the most recent sighting.

“It is clear that this coyote had been repeatedly fed by a resident in the area, and therefore had lost all fear of humans,” Flaherty said in a June 8 news release. “While it is unfortunate to have to take this step, it is important that we protect our residents from wild animal attacks given the recent history and number of sightings in the past few weeks.”

Coyotes that have become dependent on human-associated foods can become habituated and exhibit bold behavior toward people. Relocation has been found to rarely be effective for any habituated species, and particularly coyotes, the news release said.

“A habituated coyote may not run off when harassed or chased, may approach pets on a leash, and may approach or follow people,” said Dave Wattles, Black Bear & Furbearer project leader with the state Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. “It is extremely important for the public to understand the role they play in preventing negative encounters with coyotes. Intentional feeding of coyotes unquestionably increases the likelihood of a coyote biting someone. Never intentionally feed coyotes or other wildlife.”

Here are some tips:
  • Secure garbage and compost. Place your garbage in tough plastic containers with tight fitting lids and keep them in secure buildings when possible. Take out trash in the morning before pick-up is scheduled, not the previous night.
  • Keep bird feeder areas clean. If you choose to use bird feeders, use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground and clean spilled seed daily, as bird seed attracts many small mammals coyotes prey upon. Remove feeders if coyotes are regularly seen around your yard.
  • Eliminate shelter. Close off crawl spaces, as coyotes may use areas under porches and sheds for resting and raising young. Keep brushy edges in your yard trimmed, as these areas provide cover for coyotes and their prey.
  • Protect your pets. Feed your pets indoors, as outdoor feeding can attract many wild animals, including coyotes. For the safety of your pets, keep them leashed and under your supervision at all times.
  • Scare coyotes away. Haze coyotes by making loud noises, physically chasing coyotes out of the yard, throwing small objects, and spraying them with water from a hose. These actions can increase a coyote’s fear of people.

Learn more about coyotes in Massachusetts by visiting www.mass.gov/service-details/learn-about-coyotes

Oct. 8, 2021: Coyote attacks dog in fourth case since August


This news announcement was published Wednesday, June 8, 2022. John Guilfoil Public Relations provided information.