Yonkers Rabid Coyote Apprehended, Destroyed by County Police. Companion Coyote Possibly Rabid Sought.

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WPCNR HEALTH BULLETIN. From the Westchester County Department of Health. March 4, 2018:

The Westchester County Department of Health cautions residents to steer clear of coyotes and avoid walking alone in wooded areas, after a coyote captured in Yonkers tested positive for rabies Saturday.


A coyote displaying aggressive behavior. If you encounter a coyote displaying unprovoked behavior like this. Report it to police, please, and avoid the animal for your own safety.From WPCNR photo archives.

The coyote was shot by a Westchester County public safety officer Thursday evening after it lunged at him on the Dunwoodie Golf Course in Yonkers.

A second coyote was present at the time of the attack but was not captured. Police had been searching on foot and via helicopter for an aggressive coyote following six other coyote attacks in Hastings and Yonkers on Wednesday and Thursday.

“If you see a coyote, don’t approach it,” said Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD.  “If it appears aggressive or lethargic, it could have rabies, so contact local police.”

Although the health department cannot be certain that the same coyote was involved in every incident, based on the timeline and locations of the attacks, it is likely this was the attacking coyote. There have been no reported coyote attacks in the area since this coyote was shot Thursday night. Coyote attacks are relatively rare in Westchester.

Everyone who reported their exposure to a coyote over the past several days has begun receiving preventive rabies treatment. If left untreated, rabies is fatal.

The attacks started Wednesday, when a coyote bit a woman and killed her Yorkie in Hastings. Another man and a woman in Hastings were attacked a short while later. The next morning, a third woman was attacked. Then a mail carrier was bitten as she made her rounds in the Homefield section of Yonkers.  A woman fended off a coyote with her bicycle on the South County Trailway near Tuckahoe Road. Just after 3 p.m., a man was bitten on the trailway, north of Yonkers Avenue in Yonkers.

Unusual behavior may be the first sign of rabies in an animal. A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame. It may lose fear of people and become excited and irritable, or appear particularly passive and lethargic. Staggering and frothing at the mouth are sometimes noted.

Any physical contact with a wild or unfamiliar animal should be reported to a health care provider. All animal bites or contacts with animals suspected of having rabies must be reported to the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000, 24 hours a day.

Keeping pet rabies vaccinations up to date is also important for protection against rabies. New York State law requires dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies and receive regular booster shots.  For more information, go to www.westchestergov.com/health or call the RABIES INFOLINE at (914) 813-5010.


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