READING, MASS. (WHDH) - A woman walking her dog in the backyard of a home in Reading was attacked and injured by a coyote on Monday, officials said.
Officers responding to a home on Avalon Road near Whitehall Lane around 3:40 p.m. spoke with a woman who said she had just suffered scratches to her arm during an encounter with a coyote, according to the Reading Police Department.
Jessica Jones who is visiting from the United Kingdom said she was just letting her friend’s dog out into the back yard when a coyote snuck up from behind.
She did not notice the predator at first however, Roxie, the miniature golden doodle did.
“It was going after the dog, it wasn’t attacking me,” Jones said. “The coyote was behind me and I only found out because she barked at it.
Jones said her first thought was to protect the dog, so she stuck her arm out in an attempt to keep the two animals away from each other.
She got a few scratches in the process but the coyote was determined so, Jones threw a punch at it.
“I kind of like swiped at it, put my arm up and then punched it,” she said. “Then I grabbed the dog and hauled ass out of there.”
Jones’ injuries are not believed to be serious. The dog was not hurt.
Police believe the woman and her dog may have come across a previously unknown coyote’s den in an overgrown area of the yard.
“That dog is my entire world,” Roxie’s owner Grace Tully said. “I told my family that Jess was pretty cool and that they would enjoy having her come to stay but, I don’t think any of us could have possibly expected how grateful we would end up being.”
Jones was forced to miss her flight back to London becuase she was in the emergency room getting a rabies vaccination.
Many people who live in the neighborhood say this is not the first time they have encountered coyotes in the area.
“Our early investigation indicates that this coyote was acting in defense of itself and its pups, and so we do not believe there is any threat to the public,” Deputy Police Chief David Clark said in a press release. “We encourage residents to exercise caution if they’re walking in the area but emphasize that we don’t believe there is any cause for concern.”
Reading police are working with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game to determine if any further action should be taken.
The public is not at risk but police shared the following wildlife tips to avoid coyote encounters:
- Secure your garbage
- Keep your bird feeder areas clean
- Protect produce and livestock
- Feed pets indoors
- Close off crawl spaces
- Protect pets
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