NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD gets plenty of wild calls, but on Thursday, there was a call involving the wild.
As CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported, a coyote led police on a wild chase around Chelsea, before it was finally corralled.
The animal was first spotted near Holy Apostles Church at 28th Street and Ninth Avenue around 8:45 a.m. Tuesday.
“A coyote in Midtown Manhattan – I’d say it’s crazy,” said eyewitness Brian Aigner.
The coyote bolted like a bandit among the squirrels and pigeons, and gave police a slip in a courtyard near the church – and near several apartment buildings – before ultimately being captured.
“And it ran — back and forth and back and forth,” said a woman named Nancy.
“I couldn’t believe it,” added eyewitness Jim Dempsey. “I couldn’t believe there was a coyote here. But there it was.”
Dempsey, a groundskeeper at the Penn South housing development, shot video and pictures as the coyote incident went down Tuesday morning. He was surrounded by a series of startled, stunned, and somewhat confused onlookers.
“There was a lot of cops running around with Tasers; with those long sticks,” said witness Maciej Magier.
Witnesses who saw the coyote said it was the size of a German shepherd.
The coyote played cat and mouse with New York’s Finest – bobbing and weaving away from officers from the Emergency Unit toting tranquilizer guns.
It all lasted about an hour before the coyote was tranquilized with a dart and captured.
“The coyote was contained in a courtyard, at that point we used our tranquilizer darts,” said Detective Robert Mirfield.
“They got him; put him in a box like, you know, a carry cage — and they took him away,” Dempsey said.
The coyote was taken to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for a checkup and to Animal Care and Control, where it was being tended to until officials come up with a release plan.
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“He was large, full-grown, very strong, her was in good health,” Mirfield said.
But the question afterward, as one man put it, was, “How does a coyote get in the middle of Manhattan?”
Turtle Back Zoo Director Brint Spencer said coyotes in big cities are not as unusual as they may seem.
“Coyotes are very adaptable animals. They feed on a lot of different things. They’re very adaptable, and they do very well around human habitation,” Spencer said.
Indeed, Mirfield said he has captured a coyote before.
“There’s plenty of them out there, they’re just very skittish and you don’t see them that often,” Mirfield said. “They’re not really meant to be in urban settings.”
Experts said coyotes are all over the place, and the Chelsea coyote could easily have migrated from Connecticut or Westchester County.
Last month, a coyote was spotted roaming along the roof of a bar in Long Island City, Queens and director Steven Spielberg’s sister also reported seeing a coyote in her backyard in the Bronx.