ARLINGTON — Police Chief Julie Flaherty and Health and Human Services Director Christine Bongiorno report that their departments are jointly investigating after a child was bitten by a coyote yesterday afternoon.
At about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15, Arlington Police responded to Cutter Hill Road for a report of a child bitten by a coyote. The 5-year-old male had been playing in a sandbox when he was approached and bitten on the leg by a coyote. The boy suffered injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.
He was later taken by family to an area hospital for evaluation.
Arlington Police sought support from the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Environmental Police responded to the scene and searched the area in an effort to locate the coyote, and continue to work alongside Arlington Police to keep track of coyote activity in the area.
Arlington HHS wishes to share these tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) 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.
- Prevent coyotes from accessing food sources
- 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 sound, 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.
For more information about remaining safe from coyotes, click here.
Residents who encounter coyotes should call police dispatch at 781-643-1212.