Updated report, Thursday, 10:15 a.m. (Click on link below to read updated story):
Original report, Wednesday, 4:30 p.m.
OSSINING, N.Y. -- Several residents of a gated community in Ossining have had scary encounters with a coyote, and two were actually bitten by the possibly rabid animal, according to its homeowners association.
The wild dog was spotted at the Mystic Pointe Condominiums, a development off Route 9, and also near a private home on North Water Street, less than two miles away on the shores of the Hudson.
Jim Horton, of Quality Pro Pest & Wildlife Services in Tarrytown, had been called in Tuesday to trap the coyote.
Horton said that when he went to check the rubber leg-hold trap Wednesday morning at Mystic Pointe a female coyote ran out of the woods and lunged at him.
He called police and officers were at the scene almost immediately, Horton said. They took three shots at the animal, but it disappeared back into the woods.
Horton said he thinks that it is rabid, based on the way it acted, looked and even, by the way “it smelled.”
The trapper said the disease has to be confirmed by testing once the animal is either trapped or shot.
He himself does not carry a weapon, but said that the scary encounter was “one of two times I wish I had a full carry permit.”
According to Carrie Rattle, president of the Mystic Pointe Homeowners Association’s board, residents were alerted by email after the first two incidents.
An unnamed woman walking her dog and a man, who had been standing in his driveway at the development, were both bitten, and others have encountered the coyote, but not injured.
Both the man and the woman had to have stitches and are undergoing shots as part of the rabies protocol, Rattle said.
The woman’s pet dog was not hurt, she added.
“She’s petite, but really brave; she saved him,” Rattle said.
The association has since sent out two more notices to residents advising them to stay close to home if they have to take their dogs out to relieve themselves.
Because the development is on a ravine, and has a nature trail and wooded areas, it’s not unusual to see coyotes there, Rattle said.
Last year, the homeowners association had Capt. Scott Craven from the Ossining Police Department come and give them a talk on coyote behavior and what to do if they encounter one.
In this case, said Horton, the usual rules of yelling, making noise and throwing things no longer apply.
“This is a sick animal; It’s not going to behave in a normal way,” Horton explained.
Horton said folks should back away slowly and quietly and get inside a car or house if possible, then call 911, or the Ossining police at (914) 941-4099.
Horton said there has only been one confirmed case of rabies in a coyote in Westchester in the past six years.
Horton said if this coyote indeed does have rabies, “it’s in the rage stage” and will possibly die within a few days.
However, Rattle said, folks should continue to be “extra vigilant” and stick close to home. And if they have to take their pets outside, they should have another person with them for “added protection,” she said.
Word is getting around via social media, the association’s alert system, and by word of mouth, Rattle said.
“We have a dog fancier’s club here and they’ve all been talking to each other about this,” she added.
In Briarcliff, coyotes were spotted at the Tree Streets, Cedar Drive East and Long Hill Road.
"However, brazen packs of coyotes have been seen in the middle of the day. We are warning you that unaccompanied pets even in your fenced in backyard or walking your pets unleashed have the potential for a lethal confrontation," Village Manager Philip Zegarelli said. "Keep your pets leashed and under tight control. You should not confront coyotes but retreat to the safety of your home."
Zegarelli said police are limited from engaging with coyotes but the village is investigating hiring trappers.
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