KENSINGTON, N.H. – A coyote attacked several people within hours Monday before being killed by a local man after the animal tried to bite his son, according to Kensington police.
Kensington Police Chief Scott Cain said the man was walking with his family on Phillips Exeter Academy’s Red Trail on the Kensington-Exeter line when the coyote appeared and attacked the family’s young son.
Cain said the coyote was only able to bite the child’s jacket before the father grabbed the animal and strangled it to death. However, in the struggle, the father was bitten and he had to go to the hospital to receive rabies shots, Cain said.
In an interview with CNN affiliate WCVB, dad Ian O'Reilly said it took him about 10 minutes to kill the coyote with his bare hands after the animal grabbed his 2-year-old son by his hood jacket.
The attack on the family, Cain said, was the third in a string of encounters with the coyote Monday. The coyote’s body was taken by Fish and Game to Concord, where it is being tested for rabies, he said.
Cain said the series of attacks began during the morning commute when the coyote, traveling by itself, was first encountered by a motorist.
Then, at approximately 9 a.m., a 62-year-old woman walking her two dogs near her home was attacked by the coyote, Cain said. The woman was bitten, he said, and went to Exeter Hospital to receive rabies shots.
Cain said at least one of her dogs was bitten, he said, but both were taken to a veterinarian to receive rabies booster shots as a precaution.
Cain said he was advised by Fish and Game that coyotes typically travel in packs. He said Fish and Game would have the results of the rabies test Wednesday. Before Monday’s attacks, coyote sightings had been uncommon in town.
“Fish and Game isn’t sure if the animal was sick or it’s a temperament issue,” Cain said. “We haven’t received any reports of coyotes recently.”
According to the Humane Society, coyote encounters in urban or suburban settings are fairly rare events. They are nocturnal animals but sometimes during daylight hours they can be seen moving from one part of their territory to another in search of prey, according to the Humane Society.
Coyotes seen during the day time are not always sick or aggressive, the Humane Society says, but if they do not run away from people when encountered, it could be a sign the animal has likely become accustomed to being around people by being fed.