STONEHAM (CBS) – Stoneham police are searching for an aggressive coyote that, they say, has bitten multiple people over the past week.
“This animal is clearly aggressive, and we urge residents to please be aware of this situation and report any sightings of this coyote to us promptly,” Stoneham Police Chief James McIntyre said in a statement. “Above all else, please stay far away from this animal.”
On Thursday night, police said, a coyote bit a man on the back of his shoe at the Stoneham Arena on Montvale Avenue. The coyote’s teeth didn’t puncture the leather, and the man was not hurt. Also on Thursday, a coyote approached a man and tugged at his pants, but did not bite him, at Extra Space Storage on Montvale Avenue. On Saturday evening, a woman sustained minor injuries when she was bitten by a coyote in the Stoneham Arena parking lot.
“There was a young lady last night that caught her in the back of leg, broke skin, so she had to go to the hospital,” Animal Control Officer Brian Johnston said. She had to get a rabies shot.
Johnston said the situation is surprising because coyotes are usually more afraid of people. He described the coyote as bold and said it approached people waiting outside of the Stoneham Arena over the weekend.
“They really are more afraid of you than you are of them. Loud noise, bright lights – they’re gone. This one’s just unusual; it’s very people friendly,” Johnston said. “It doesn’t run away. What they described to me is that it’ll back up about three to four feet, just stand and stare and then just saunter off.”
Because coyotes are typically scared off by bright lights, officers are having a tough time catching the coyote when the sun goes down.
“One of the officers saw it as soon as he got here, and it literally just took off,” Johnston said.
All the incidents are believed to be tied to one animal and have taken place in the area of the Stoneham Arena, Extra Space Storage and the Stoneham Oaks Golf Course. On Sunday, The golf course and arena were closed “out of an abundance of caution,” police said.
Once Animal Control captures the coyote, they’re forced to euthanize it and to test it for rabies.