NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Trappers were out in full force in Westchester Monday hunting for coyotes after two children had frightening encounters with the creatures.
The animals appeared to be moving from neighborhood to neighborhood, by using the wooded areas behind homes. It didn’t take long for the CBS 2 crew to find one in one of those yards – an adult coyote trying to evade professional trappers and police officers.
The animal was either the lone culprit or one of several, responsible for two attacks on people in Rye Brook within the last 24 hours.
“He’s right here. Guys, newsman, get out of the way. Seriously, you’re going to get bit. Get up on the hill,” one trapper said to the slew of reporters on the scene.
CBS 2HD photographer Evan Maxwell came face to face with the coyote which eluded the crew for the next half an hour, until a patrolman fired.
“One of our patrolmen, Patrolman Mussler was able to get a clear shot,” said Terence Wilson, Rye Brook P.D.
Three shots in all put an end to what the trappers describe as unusual and erratic pattern of behavior.
“It just turned and came right at me. So I hit it twice, and it did a flip. I tried to grab it by its hind legs and it jumped at me a few times,” said Jim Horton of Quality Pro Pest and Wildlife Services.
“This isn’t normal behavior for a coyote. Either someone’s feeding him or he’s disease-ridden,” said Ray Hartley of Services.
Eric Mandell, 14, experienced that aggressiveness during a block party barbeque Sunday evening.
“I just looked around and I saw this like dog, creature walking toward me and it came after me, and lunged twice at me.”
Fortunately, the teen struck the animal on the face and send it retreating to the woods.
Sunday evening’s second attack, less than a mile away, was at another barbeque. The victims: Gary Zuckerman’s son and his 2-year-old granddaughter.
“The coyote apparently lunged at my granddaughter, bit her on the arm,” he said.
The girl’s father was able to scare away the animal, but not before it bit him in the leg. He was also treated at an area hospital.
The coyote taken down Monday morning, the fourth in the last month, was part of an ongoing and comprehensive trapping program. Residents said they are somewhat relieved.
“It’s scary. You can’t go in your backyard. We weren’t aware that there was one quite so close to us,” said Debbie Alexander of Rye Brook.
There’s no telling if the coyote that was killed is the one that attacked residents Sunday night. Experts will do a post-mortem on the creature. Police say the coyote attacked and killed one of its pups during the chase on Monday.
With two new reports of coyotes entering crowded areas seemingly without fear, police were once again reminding residents to avoid leaving young children outside unattended.
The coyotes’ presence was clearly becoming more than a nuisance in Westchester. Officials in nearby Rye have been spending upwards of $6,000 a week on a comprehensive trapping program.