Firefighter Rescues Coyote Stuck In Picket Fence In Salem

SALEM (CBS) – Over the weekend, a coyote managed to trap itself in a wooden fence and was later saved by a local firefighter.

“I have never two legs just come through the fence,” said John Spofford, the rescuer.

Spofford was greeted by a pair of paws poking through the pickets: the hind legs of a coyote, which was dangling headfirst into the snow on the other side.

“My heart really went out to the animal, knowing that she was just supported by her front paws. Her back legs were caught in this fence,” said Spofford.

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports.

Sometime overnight, the coyote had snagged her hind legs in between pickets trying to jump the fence. Then well after daybreak, neighbors spotted the coyote thrashing about in a futile effort to free her now bloodied limbs.

“I felt bad for the animal. It was like I wish there was something I could do, but having the reputation of a coyote, I wasn’t gonna take any chances,” said Lorri DeFrancesco, a neighbor.

Enter Spofford, a Peabody firefighter and EMT, who said the animal never even nipped at him.

“It was almost to say ‘Would somebody please get me out of this situation,'” said Spofford.

Why call Spofford to help the coyote? He’s got experience helping animals. He has rescued ducklings from storm drains, and even done mouth-to-snout resuscitation on dogs at fires.

After deciding the coyote’s hind legs were not broken, Spofford broke the pickets, and the coyote began to crawl away, getting stronger with each minute.

“She ended up getting her feet underneath her. She gave me a look back, which was nice, and then she proceeded on her way,” said Spofford.

Spofford tracked to her to a den in the woods, enough to convince him she would make it just fine.

He knows some will question his effort to save an animal so often vilified as a predator and pest, but he’s fine with that.

“Everybody deserves a chance to live in the world, and coyotes no less,” said Spofford.

So, he makes no apologies for saving an animal that so many folks love-to-hate, and some neighbors agree with that “live and let live” philosophy.

In fact, Spofford is becoming the go-to guy on the North Shore when comes to unique, wild animal rescues. Spofford belongs to a small group called “WRAM,” which stands for the “Wildlife Rehabilitators’ Association of Massachusetts.”

  • Joe

    Great Job Brother! You did the right thing. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. As a fellow firefighter, I know we not only help people, we help animals as well!

  • popay

    Good for you, Sir! This all comes in contrast to the cops who shot the coyote in Beacon Hill a few weeks back, what ever happened to them? Well, at least some of us have a soul.

    • joe

      I agree with your overall premise. However, the coyote in beacon hill was visibly rabid and showing extreme signs of advanced rabies. He was a threat to the people in the area and to the officers. Tests showed after that he did in fact have rabies. He would have eventuality died from the disease. However, by taking him down insured that he didn’t attack and possibly kill a person before the coyote met his/her natural demise. If this coyote was showing signs of rabies he/she would have met the same maker.

      • Cynic

        Joe… Sorry; but I find that hard to believe.Are you the one that shot it?

    • Cynic

      popay..Nothing happend to them…They don’t know any better.

  • Terri

    Great story! Thanks for saving that coyote! They have it tough enough living in the city/suburbs.

  • Cynic

    Animals can sense a good person.. When She looked back she was saying ‘Thanks”.

  • Sherman

    You are a real saint! You inspire us to value all living things through our actions not just our rhetoric.

  • Yata

    That is really nice of you. How can people see these animals as “pests”? They are almost like dogs!

    • EB

      Sir Spofford, what a great thing you did. I love animals, and it was heartwarming to see your rescue, kindness, and love of animals. If you were on the south shore, I’d take you out for a cup of coffee! Good job!

  • dogcop4

    Good job
    Nice example of “helping” animals in need, regardless of their staus as a pet or pest.
    Thank you for your professionalism.

  • Michelle

    Great job John!!!! We can always count on you! ….from your fellow volunteer back in the day at MRFRS :).

  • Beezerino

    Words can’t even express how grateful I am to have a person like you in this difficult world. I guess all I can say is that you should be cloned to make it as close to perfect as possible. It’s comforting that there is someone out there who will take care of all of God’s Creatures. You’re the absolute best as reinforced by the coyote with her special look. You’ll always be in her heart. Thank you for being so caring.

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