READING - A woman suffered a minor injury Monday afternoon September 16th following an encounter with a coyote.

At approximately 3:40 p.m., Reading Police were dispatched to Avalon Road near Whitehall Lane after a woman reported a confrontation with a coyote. Upon arrival, first responders made contact with the woman and learned that she encountered a coyote while walking her dog in the back yard of a house was visiting.

The woman reported suffering some minor scratches to one of her arms as a result of the encounter, but her injuries are not believed to be serious. The dog was not hurt. Police believe the woman and her dog may have come across a previously unknown coyote's den in an overgrown area near the back yard where they were walking.

"Our early investigation indicates that this coyote was acting in defense of itself and its pups, and so we do not believe there is any threat to the public," Deputy Chief David Clark said. "We encourage residents to exercise caution if they're walking in the area but emphasize that we don't believe there is any cause for concern."

Reading Police are working with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game to determine if any further action should be taken.

Reading Police wish to share the following safety tips from Mass Wildlife:

Secure your garbage

Coyotes raid open trash materials and compost piles. Secure your garbage in tough plastic containers with tight fitting lids and keep them in secure buildings when possible.

Keep your bird feeder areas clean

Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground and clean spilled seed daily, as bird seed attracts many small mammals coyotes prey upon.

Protect produce and livestock

Clear fallen fruit from around fruit trees. Use fencing to protect livestock from coyotes. Coyotes can jump over or dig under fences that are improperly built. Fencing should be at least 6 feet high and extend into the ground.

Feed pets indoors

Outdoor feeding can attract many wild animals.

Close off crawl spaces

Coyotes will use areas under porches and sheds for resting and raising young. Close these areas off to prevent animals from using them.

Protect pets

Although free roaming pets are more likely to be killed by automobiles than by wild animals, coyotes do view cats and small dogs as potential food, and larger dogs as competition. For the safety of your pets, keep them leashed and under your supervision at all times. Also remember to feed your pets indoors to avoid attracting wildlife.

According to Mass Wildlife, the presence of a coyote alone is not cause for concern, as coyotes are naturally afraid of people. Help keep coyotes wild by scaring or threatening coyotes in your yard with loud noises, bright lights, or water sprayed from a hose. Coyotes that have become dependent on human-associated food can become habituated and exhibit bold behavior toward people. A habituated coyote:

Does not run off when harassed or chased.

Approaches pets on a leash.

Approaches and follows people.

If an immediate threat to human safety exists, call 911.

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