Massachusetts Cities, Towns Warn Dog Walkers To Be Careful After Pet Snatchings By Coyotes

HOPKINTON, Mass. (AP) — Several communities in Massachusetts are warning residents and dog-walkers to be mindful of coyotes after a string of violent encounters.

Police in the town of Hopkinton, about 32 miles (51 kilometers) west of Boston, said a woman was walking her dogs on Thursday when a coyote snatched one of the animals. In Milford, not far from Hopkinton, a coyote took a dog named “Guido” from Pine Island Road on Wednesday morning, animal control officials in that town said.

The incidents involving coyotes follow another encounter in which a coyote attacked a woman in Fall River, a city about 55 miles (89 kilometers) south of Boston, earlier in the week. And residents of the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain complained earlier this month of seeing a coyote carrying the body of a small dog.

Milford animal control officials said in a Facebook post that residents need to be more vigilant at dusk and dawn, which are optimal hunting times for coyotes. Police in Hopkinton said in a statement that residents should consider carrying a walking stick. They also said police “feel horrible this happened to someone’s fur buddy, they are members of the family and are a tremendous loss when we lose them.”

Coyotes have become an increasing nuisance in some urban and suburban communities of Massachusetts in recent years. The town of Nahant decided late last year to become the first in the state to contract with the federal government to kill the animals.