YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A series of coyote attacks and sightings have people on edge in Westchester County.
Officials urge residents to protect themselves, their children and their pets after several incidents were reported in 24 hours.
Surveillance video captured one coyote prowling through northwest Yonkers around 1 a.m. Thursday.
“When my son came in last night, I mean he was shaking and that. You figure it’s nighttime, you know whatever – not thinking much of it,” resident Donna Nolan told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
But just before noon, an ambulance rushed to the neighborhood after a coyote attacked a mail carrier, biting her leg.
“She’s a nice girl. I feel terrible,” Nolan said. “I really hope she’s going to be OK.”
Thursday afternoon, armed officers spread out through a wooded area near Dunwoodie Golf Course, where a coyote was spotted.
Authorities had at least one aggressive coyote cornered for hours.
Seeing them prowl around her property never really bothered Jan DeMarco, until right from her backyard she witnessed the intense police response to capture the likely rabid wild animal.
“I hear them howling in the back of the house all the time,” she told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
“It’s pretty nerve-wracking, especially with this helicopter above us,” she added. “I have to worry walking out my own front door, whether or not something is going to come after me.”
The helicopter tracked the coyote suspected of several attacks in the area for hours Thursday. At one point, it came out of the brush and targeted a police officer.
“The coyote did become aggressive with the officer, came out of the brush and bit that officer, and then was shot at that time,” Westchester County Police spokesperson Kiernan O’Leary said Thursday night.
Public parks were closed in neighboring Hastings-on-Hudson while officials searched for the coyote that bit three residents and killed a Yorkshire terrier Wednesday.
“Coyotes have been here for at least 10 years without incident. So this is clearly a profoundly disturbing development,” said Hastings-on-Hudson Town Manager Peter Swiderski.
Hours earlier, a coyote was struck by a vehicle and later humanely destroyed.
Resident Vicki Cresswell was watching her dogs closely. Her neighbor was among those bitten.
“Out of nowhere, this coyote runs up behind him and bites him in the leg and takes off,” she said.
Another man took his daily walk armed with a heavy stick.
At nearby Hillside Elementary, kids were told don’t walk to or from school, and outside recess was cancelled.
Officials aren’t sure how many coyotes are involved in the attacks. So for now, they urge residents to be aware, take precautions and report to police any contact with the creatures.
“It’s the daytime, unusual for coyotes to be that aggressive with people unless the animal is rabid,” O’Leary said. “But we are awaiting the medical tests that will confirm that for us.”
Coyote attacks were also reported at a Greenburgh condo complex and on the Saw Mill River bicycle path.