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Wildlife Conflicts in the Press


This is a partial list of published articles that in recent years have made it into newspaper print.  They provide a documented snapshot of the conflicts routinely occurring throughout Massachusetts.  It illustrates that conflicts with wildlife are very real and not just an abstract possibility.  These stories underscore the fundamental need for a balanced, responsible approach to wildlife management from both societal and ecological perspectives that must incorporate proactive lethal and non-lethal approaches.  They give a glimpse into what's really happening on the ground.  They are not posted here to ignite public fears, but rather to underscore that a multi-dimensional, scientifically based management is critical for our continued long-term positive co-existence with wildlife.  Highly regulated furbearer harvests, using the best available tools currently banned or extremely restricted in Massachusetts may not solve all these issues, but it is surely an important missing component in dealing with and reducing conflicts. 


The sheer number of consistently reported and published articles over time on this subject should, at a minimum be alarming to residents.. If one was to simply calculate the time and effort spent over the years by news organizations just to report about the problems, those numbers would be impressive.  If it was possible to quantify the actual cost to the entire Commonwealth would be staggering.  Any attempt to determine that value would be grossly underestimated, since unfortunately - countless conflict go unreported at the landowner or municipality/highway dept. level. 


The list will be updated as additional stories come to our attention and as time allows to post them....  If you know of a recent, relative story and the source, please let us know.  The CRWM is compiling an ongoing database of wildlife conflicts.  Your help in building this list is encouraged and greatly appreciated.  Please contact us at:


Woman seriously hurt in apparent coyote attack; park closed

Occurred in New York, but worth noting here...

Kingsbury, NY - Aug 16, 2017


Burlington residents shaken after pet's close call with coyote

Lexington, MA - August 8, 2017


Franklin: Beavers raising water, worries

Franklin, MA - Aug 3, 2017


Three People Attacked by Fox Before It Was Killed by Homeowner

Ipswich, MA - May 20, 2017


Entrance to Concord's Estabrook Woods Closed to Dogs

Concord, MA - May 9, 2017


Police: Multiple Coyote Attacks On Dogs Reported In Concord

Concord, MA - April 21, 2017


Chihuahua missing after reported coyote attack

Dighton, MA - March 28, 2017


Understanding the warrant: Beaver management money

Medfield, MA - March 3, 2017


Life Outdoors: Beavers invade Maynard

Maynard, MA - February 2, 2017


Police: Coyote Attacks, Kills Dog In Gloucester

Gloucester, MA - January 16, 2017


Brookline police on lookout for coyote they say ‘charged’ an officer

Brookline, MA - December 16, 2016


Gill farmer speaks after coyotes attack and kill cows

Gill, MA – June 7, 2016


Dog killed when coyote attacks in Ashland

Ashland, MA - June 3, 2016


Coyote attack on dog in Swifts Beach area concerns homeowner

Wareham, MA - December 8, 2016


Alert: Be Cautious of Coyote Encounters at Heard Farm

Wayland, MA - September 23, 2016


Gloucester residents fear coyote population is growing

Gloucester, MA -  January 31, 2016


After attack, Gloucester looks to curb coyotes - Mayor planning public forum on animals

Gloucester, MA - Jan 18, 2017


Coyote attack injures Labrador retriever in Wareham - Owner urges others to take precautions

Wareham, MA - December 08, 2016


Arlington Police Caution Residents After Coyote Kills Resident's Dog

Arlington, MA - September 30, 2016


Mendon residents approve beaver trapping, killing

Mendon, MA - June 22, 2016


Coyote attacks alarm Wellesley

Wellesley, MA - May 25, 2016


Coyote destroyed after attacking Weymouth cat

Weymouth, MA - November 16, 2016


Police warn Arlington dog owners after coyote attacks and kills dog

Arlington, MA October 1, 2016


Natick police warn of possible coyote attacks

Natick, MA - July 12, 2015


Newton neighbors concerned about coyotes

Newton, MA - April 1, 2015


Framingham Police Issue Coyote Warning:  Report of a German Shepherd dog killed on the aqueduct near Potter Road in Framingham.

Framingham, MA - January 23, 2015


City gets approval to trap beavers causing flooding in South Lowell

Lowell, MA - January 12, 2015


Coyote attacks man walking with 4-year-old daughter in Groveland - Two Groveland residents attacked by coyote

Groveland, MA - January 6, 2015


New Hampshire woman, dog attacked by coyote

Greenland, NH - November 17, 2014 (just northwest of Salisbury MA)


Coyotes near West Bridgewater school put police on alert - Officer placed on wooded path leading to West Bridgewater elementary school to protect children

West Bridgewater, MA - October 7, 2014


Authorities sound alarm about coyote attacks on pets

Salem, MA - September 30, 2014


Middleboro man battles coyotes, thieves to protect his sheep

Middleboro, MA - August 11, 2014


Hadley Family Warns of Coyote Attacks After Dog Falls Victim

Hadley, MA - July 23, 2014


Dog suffers critical injuries in Pembroke coyote attack

Hanover, MA - June 6, 2014


Beavers to blame for Easthampton Flood

 Easthampton, MA - June 2, 2014


Man says he was attacked by coyote in parking lot in broad daylight

Woburn, MA - June 2, 2014


Bourne man, dog attacked by coyote - Family says this is latest in string of coyote attacks

Bourne, MA - May 21, 2014


Westfield beaver dam floods local golf course

Westfield MA - May 8, 2014


Beavers blamed for industrial park flooding

Londonderry, MA - May 2, 2014


Coyote attacks two dogs in Salem

Salem, MA - April 30, 2014


Quincy Police Warn Pet Owners After Coyote Attacks

Quincy, MA - April 24, 2014


Southborough, Mass. Police Issue Coyote Warning - Police say there have been 3 separate reports of 'aggressive' or 'sick' coyotes spotted over the weekend

Southborough, MA - February 28, 2014


Beavers blamed for flooding in Lowell

Lowell MA - March 31, 2014


Pack of coyotes attack, kill dog in Millbury - Owner let dog out while making coffee

Millbury, MA - March 19, 2014


Southborough, Mass. Police Issue Coyote Warning - Police say there have been 3 separate reports of 'aggressive' or 'sick' coyotes spotted over the weekend

Southborough, MA - February 28, 2014


Flooding from beaver dam bedevils Worcester neighborhood

Worcester MA - January 21, 2014


Beavers removed near Hopkinton development

Hopkinton, MA - January 8, 2014


Beavers remain a pest

Hopkinton, MA - December 1, 2013


Beaver Dams Causing Destruction

Medfield, MA - August 28, 2013


Sconticut Neck coyotes kill four cats

Fairhaven, MA - August 21, 2013


Beavers, dams stir concern in Danvers neighborhood

Danvers, MA - August 9, 2013


Beavers damming in Hopkinton

Hopkinton MA - June 28, 2013


More than 50 coyote sightings reported in Newton - Last week, a coyote bit Newton resident Karen Day’s Labrador retriever, Dakota.

Newton, MA - Jun. 12, 2013


Beaver Dam Breach Floods Route 67 In Warren

Warren, MA - May 25, 2013


Beavers expanding range, making homes closer to people - With trapping ban, population grows

West Roxbury, MA – December 26, 2012


Beavers: A delicate balance along Ipswich River

Ipswich MA - June 18, 2012


7 coyote attacks on dogs create uneasy stir

Lynn, MA - June 3, 2012


Coyote attacks, once rare, happening all over Massachusetts

Boston, MA - May 17, 2012

Beaver dam causes headaches for Saugus golf course

Saugus, MA - May 12, 2012

Littleton dog survives coyote attack, dog officer offers safety tips

Littleton, MA - May. 2, 2012

Littleton dog Injured 

Littleton MA - May 01, 2012                            


Coyote Attack in Williamstown
Williamstown MA - April 23, 2012


Coyote Captured In Downtown Boston

Boston, MA - March 23, 2012


Residents turn to towns for help battling coyotes

Brookline, MA - February 8, 2012


Wellesley Residents On Alert After Coyote Attacks

Wellesley, MA - February 7, 2012


Coyotes in Wellesley kill small dog, deer, injure another small dog

Wellesley, MA - February 6, 2012


Coyote attacks nine-year-old Mass. girl
Haverhill MA - January 18, 2012


Beavers removed near Hopkinton development

Hopkinton, MA - January 8, 2012


Coyotes a Concern for Corey Hill Residents

Brookline, MA - December 7, 2011


Coyote attacks two-year-old girl in Weymouth, MA
Weymouth MA - August 24, 2011


East Falmouth Dog Killed By Coyotes
East Falmouth MA - October 28, 2011


Officials, residents to discuss Newton coyote problem after dog is killed
Newton MA - October 11, 2011


Newton Residents Post Signs Warning of Coyotes, Foxes
Newton MA -  October 6, 2011


Upton looks to clear culvert clogged by debris, beavers

Upton MA - October 01, 2011


No easy answers for regulating beavers

Greenfield, MA - August 27, 2011


Beavers starting to get costly in Greenfield: DPW

Greenfield, MA - July, 07 2011


Natick has one big dam problem
Natick MA - June 28, 2011


Beavers Challenge Suburbs  

Natick MA - June 03, 2011


Coyote Attacks Dog On Clifton St., Sightings Increase 

Belmont MA - May 17, 2011


Busy beavers deceive the deceiver, force flooding of thoroughfare

Lawrence MA - April 8, 2011


Leverett flooding linked to expanding beaver pond 

Leverett, MA - March 11, 2011


Flooding on Rte. 16 in Holliston blamed on rain, beavers

Holliston MA - December 14, 2010


Holliston flooded with beaver problems

Holliston MA - December 9, 2010


Needham investigates beaver dam flooding at Rosemary Brook
Needham, MA - December 09, 2010


Property owner blocks beaver trapping plan
Russell, MA - November 30, 2010


Escaping a dog-eat-dog world
Wareham, MA - November 29, 2010


Beaver activity gnaws at Greylock Glen
Adams, MA - November 24, 2010


Swansea man sees coyote attack and carry off his pet chihuahua
Swansea, MA - November 22, 2010


Coyote activity getting ugly in Gr. Lynn
Nahant, MA - November 15, 2010


Flooding threatens Middle Road - Newbury officials fear roadway may be undermined, collapse
Newbury, MA - October 15, 2010


Two Weymouth police officers treated for rabies after run-in with fox
Weymouth, MA - September 21, 2010


Coyote in suburb attacks caught and killed
Rye Brook, NY - September 7, 2010 (bordering state issue)


Suspected coyote attack kills cat
Northampton, MA August 17, 2010


Police believe coyotes responsible for three fatal cat attacks in Florence section of Northampton
Northampton MA - July 23, 2010


Residents fear coyote attacks
Westboro, MA - June 25, 2010


Caught on Camera: Animal attacks Norton dog
Norton, MA - June 22, 2010


Toddler, 2 adults attacked by fox
Belchertown, MA - June 18, 2010


Coyote may be responsible in killing of cat
West Roxbury, MA - June 16, 2010


Meetings to seek solution to problematic Leverett-Montague beaver pond
Montague, MA - June 10, 2010


A busy bunch: How beavers help and hurt in the Tri-Town  

Boxford, MA June 1, 2010


As Wigwam Pond waters recede, beaver traps are pulled
Dedham, MA - May 21, 2010


Dedham resident traps beavers for town
Dedham, MA - May 21, 2010


Raccoon that bit woman on foot was rabid
Salem, MA - May 20, 2010


Coyotes spotted on Gloucester beaches
Gloucester, MA - May 07, 2010


Coyote attacks spur closing of Amherst trail

Amherst MA - May 07, 2010


Cleanup Continues In Beaver Dam Break
Beaver Dam Breaks On Adamant Pond
Adamant, VT- May 3, 2010 (while not in Massachusetts.... drop in annual beaver take has created more conflicts there)


Middleboro veterinarian confirms case of rabies in horse
Middleboro, MA - April 30, 2010


Frustration crests over beaver law

Leicester, MA - April 29, 2010


Rabid fox euthanized after attacks in Stoneham
Stoneham, MA - March 16, 2010


Coyote attacks concern Mill Pond neighbors
Orleans, MA - March 12, 2010


Residents fear coyote attacks

Westborough, MA - June 25, 2010


Raccoon, which scratched person in the area of Heritage State Park and Holyoke Children's Museum, tests positive for rabies

Holyoke, MA - January 21, 2010


Coyotes Attack Mattapoisett Dog
Mattapoisett, MA - January 4, 2010


Dog killed in Hampden coyote attack
Hampden, MA -  October 28, 2009


Coyotes Kill Woman on Hike in Canadian Park
Nova Scotia, Canada - October 28, 2009
(not in MA, but relevant and hits home to our issues here)


Rabid skunk in Derry bites dog
Derry, MA - October 23, 2009


Beaver fever found in spring  
 Affecting Hancock, Pittsfield MA residents - October 3, 2009


Lawrence, 2 pesky beavers wage war - Dam near roadway at heart of battle

Lawrence, MA - September 29, 2009


Gloucester Man Links Water Woes To Broken Dam
Gloucester, MA - September 3, 2009


Coyotes terrorize Dartmouth neighborhood
Dartmouth, MA - September 03, 2009


Foxes spotted off Highland Avenue
Salem, MA - September 01, 2009


Beaver Damage on the Mend and More!
West Boylston, MA - August 28, 2009


Flooding raises health concerns
West Newburyport, MA - August 26, 2009


Lawrence police kill fox that bit man. Victim awaits results of rabies tests
Lawrence, MA - August 26, 2009


Dartmouth coyote attack brings attention to predator population
Dartmouth, MA - August 17, 2009


'Lucky' Jasper the cat survives coyote attack Family warns 'it can happen to anyone'
Andover, MA - August 13, 2009


Attacking fox is killed after 2 people bitten in Whitman
Whitman, MA - August 11, 2009


Rabid Skunk attacks Norfolk man
Norfolk, MA - July 30, 2009


Fox attack leaves Edgewood residents edgy
Bridgewater, MA - July, 29, 2009


Raynham family shocked after coyote attack leaves pet cat clinging to life
Raynham, MA - July 27, 2009


Fox attacks shake up Brockton neighborhood
Brockton, MA -
July 23, 2009


Coyotes strike again; cat killed in Georgetown
Georgetown, MA - July 21, 2009


MA: Coyotes stalk woman, kill dog at Georgetown/Rowley State Forest
Georgetown, MA - July 20, 2009


South Hadley officials hope to resolve flooding problems at Ledges Golf Club without killing beavers
South Hadley, MA - July 17, 2009


Busy beavers adding to soppiness of the season
ewide story, MA July 09, 2009

Police warn of coyotes after small dog is killed
Georgetown, MA -  July 16, 2009

Earlier fox bite reported nearby, Unclear if attack was same animal
Worcester, MA - July 2, 2009

Beaver Dams Cause Flood Problems In Mass. Towns
General story Boston WBZ38, June 16, 2009

Haverhill woman says she was surrounded by coyotes
Haverhill, MA - June 11, 2009

Return of the Once-Rare Beaver? Not in My Yard
Concord, MA - June 8, 2009 (New York Times story)

Rise in beaver population after trapping ban leads to flooded property
Holliston, MA - June 07, 2009

Milford beaver dam breaks causing flash floods
Milford, MA - June 2, 2009


Beavers at issue in Northampton marsh again

Northampton, MA - May 16, 2009


Coyote Forces 2 Logan Runways To Briefly Close, Coyote Killed By Truck
Boston, MA - May 6, 2009


Vicious attack of dog in Middleboro brings attention to seasonal suburban threat
Middleboro, MA - May 4, 2009


A Weymouth neighborhood is on edge after a family dog in one neighborhood barely survived a coyote attack.
Weymouth, MA - April 20, 2009


Raynham coyote attacks finally prompt recourse
Raynham, MA - February 27, 2009

Saving Charro from coyotes Attack on 65-pound Essex greyhound stuns owners
Essex, MA - February 17, 2009

Coyotes reportedly kill small dog in Milford [MA]
Milford, MA - February 8, 2009

Rabid fox attacks man
Milford, MA - January 29, 2009

Beaver dam flood woes hard to ignore
Lexington, MA - January 25, 2009

Emergency permit targets beavers in Holliston
Holliston, MA - December 26, 2008

Officer says he thwarted coyote's attack on woman
Beverly MA - November 27, 2008

Wild Animal Frightens Neighborhood
gfield MA - November 16, 2008

The fishers are coming - or so they say.
General interest story. October 16, 2008


Leave it to Beavers
Bolton, MA - October 13, 2008


Increase in beaver population linked to loosestrife spread
Massachusetts Statewide issue. September 18, 2008


6-foot-tall beaver dams breaks, sends 'wave of mud downstream'
Colrain MA - September 15, 2008


Charlton, MA resident asks for help with beaver damage
Charlton MA - September 10, 2008

Coyotes kill five cats
Weymouth MA - August 13, 2008

Coyotes Attack Expensive Animals in Westfield
Westfield MA - July 21, 2008

Rabid raccoon goes down with fight
Shrewsbury MA - July 31, 2008

Rabid fox bites 10-year-old girl
Pittsfield MA - July 16, 2008

Health board tackles beaver dam issues
Acton MA - April, 30,2008

Shock, awe at coyotes in the city
Medford MA - April 20, 2008


Coyotes on the prowl in Medford

Medford MA - April 11, 2008


Scotland Road resident warns pet owners after coyote attack
Newbury, MA - April 03, 2008


Trapped! Towns losing the war against beavers. OUR CHANGING WORLD
Westboro MA - March 31, 2008


Testing reveals rabid raccoon
Walpole MA - March 21, 2008


Beaver problems continue to plague Miles River
Ipswich MA - February 20, 2008


State orders breach to avert dam failure
Springfield MA - February 08, 2008


City howling over coyotes
Worcester MA - January 16, 2008


Red tape may seal beavers' fate
Holliston MA - November 9, 2008


Officials: Beavers a threat to water supply
Holliston MA - October 18, 2007


Fox attack in Chelmsford
Chelmsford MA - September 16, 2007


Coyotes attacks 11-pound dog
Waltham MA - September 13, 2007


Beavers, not humans, ruin Puffer's Pond
Pelham MA - August 17, 2007


Family dog kills rabid fox in his yard
Holliston MA - July 3, 2007


Beavers too eager for them
Andover MA - June 28, 2007


Town grapples with big hazard: beavers
Templeton MA - July 19, 2007


Beavers back and damming up city
Haverhill, MA - June 26, 2007


Beaver dams causing problems
Sherborn MA - June 12, 2007


Beaver damage could be pricey for Sherborn
Sherborn MA - June 12, 2007


Coyotes maul, kill family pet
Newton, MA - March 28, 2007


Bradford woman warns her neighbors to keep pets inside
Haverhill MA April, 20, 2007


A coyote attacks in Weymouth and kills a dog
Weymouth MA - May 14, 2007


Beavers elude death again
Holliston MA - November 7, 2007


Coyote attack: Wild canines kill small dog. Keep close watch on pets if coyotes are nearby, experts say

Hingham MA - September 8, 2007


Beaver takes revenge on town
Phillipston MA - June 29, 2007


MassWildlife Advisory: Coyotes Incidents in Massachusetts
General Article. February 2, 2007


Towns tackle beaver problem, hope trapping will reduce flooding woes

Hamilton MA - February 1, 2007


City seeks to resume trapping - Beavers threaten new flood problem

Northampton, MA - December 14, 2006


Tewksubry Awash in Beaver Dams

Tewksbury, MA - October 27,2005


East Harwich couple mourns dog lost to coyote

East Harwich MA - May 24, 2006


Hiker Describes Coyote Attack - Man Fights Off Animal With Mace
Royalston MA - April 20, 2006


Dog Recovering After Coyote Attack
Boston MA - December 19, 2005


Coyote in attack was rabid, state says Northborough man, 76, was bitten multiple times
Northborough MA - April, 2005


Dog is killed by coyote in Boston yard
Boston MA - May 3, 2005


Coyote attacks off-duty Police officer and daughter
Wilmington MA - April 25, 2005


Rabid coyote attacks Cape Cod woman
Barnstable MA - February 18, 2005


Saugus residents howl about town's coyote sightings
Saugus MA - July 14, 2005


Coyote bites country club security guard in Mashpee
Mashpee MA - July 12, 2005


Sterling may offer preview of problem
Sterling MA - 2005


Dog is killed by coyote in Boston yard
Boston MA - May 3, 2005


Main Street Beaver Situation
Bolton MA - April 7, 2005


What about the Beavers? To trap, or not to trap: Question lingers in light of beaver problems
General Article. December 30, 2004


"Nature's Engineers"
General Article. November 24, 2004 - National Geographic


Cat seriously injured after evading coyote; Attacks on household pets are particularly common in spring, state expert says
Quincy MA April 30, 2004


Bolton MA - November 20, 2003


Police officer kills fox following attack; Animal forced woman onto car hood
Abington MA - April 3, 2003


Coyote snatches, kills dog; Official says cats are missing, too
Hull MA November 15, 2002


Coyote attacks

Weymouth MA -  September 5, 2002


Pet dog dies after attack by coyotes
Duxbury MA - July 24, 2002


Beavers driving Ipswich batty
Ipswich MA - December 31, 2001


Templeton MA - May 7, 2000


Coyote attacks a child; first time in State
Sandwich MA - July 31, 1998

a few issues in NJ..
Dog recovers after coyote attack
Rouge River
Valley, NJ. May 17, 2007

Youth Foils Coyote Attack on Boy in N.J.
Middle Township NJ. April 12, 2007


Woman seriously hurt in apparent coyote attack; park closed      (back to top)

Occurred in New York, but worth noting here...

DON LEHMAN  Aug 16, 2017

The PostStar

Kingsbury, NY -  A woman was seriously hurt Wednesday morning when she was attacked by what she believed was a coyote near the Five Combines park on the Feeder Canal. Police responded by closing the Feeder Canal Trail from the Five Combines canal locks to the village of Fort Edward line until further notice as officers from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Edward Police and state Department of Environmental Conservation searched for the animal.   Both conservation officers and representatives of the DEC Bureau of Wildlife were involved in the effort to find the animal, police said.  Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy said the woman was on a trail in the park near the Five Combines when she was attacked at about 11:30 a.m. She jumped in the canal to get away from the animal.  She was taken to Albany Medical Center via helicopter for treatment of leg, arm and facial injuries, Murphy said.  “She was injured pretty badly,” he said.  On Tuesday night, Fort Edward Police received a call from a person who reported a coyote trying to attack them and a dog in the area, and officers from that agency and the Sheriff’s Office searched for the canine but could not find it, Murphy said.  Murphy said it is feared that the animal is rabid, and residents of the area should take precautions and call police if they see a coyote acting unusually.  They are typically nocturnal and try to avoid contact with humans, so attacks on people are rare.  Police could not recall any recent local coyote attacks on people, though a horse in Queensbury was believed to have been attacked by one in 2013.  The DEC said there have been coyote attacks on people around New York over the years, but none in the southern Adirondacks in recent memory.


Burlington residents shaken after pet's close call with coyote    (back to top)

Boston News 25

by: Drew Karedes Updated: Aug 8, 2017 - 11:27 PM

LEXINGTON, Mass. - Town officials are issuing a warning after several dog owners in the Lexington area say they’ve been faced with with scary confrontations with coyotes in recent weeks.  “They kind of look like big overgrown fluffy dogs.  At first, we thought they were cute,” Rebecca Mersiowsky told Boston 25 News.  “He was out in woods we heard cry. He was followed by two coyotes about the size of him,” Mersiosky said.   She believes it was her German Short Haired Pointer’s size and strength that caused the two coyotes to turn around and head back into Willards Woods.  Bogey was left with two visible puncture wounds on his leg.  He was cleaned out at a local vet’s office. He also got a rabies booster, which Mersiowsky believes is a small price considering what could have been.  “I think we’re really lucky this injury is minimal,” she said. “It could’ve been so much worse.”  The frightening encounter in the popular wooded area near the Lexington-Burlington line is one of several close calls involving dogs and coyotes reported in recent weeks.    Town officials recommend all pet owners who come to the area keep their dogs on a leash and within eyesight at all times.  “I don’t know what I would’ve done if they had come closer. You see the signs and don’t expect to see them. Know they’re out there and what to do if you do interact with one,” Mersiowsky said.


Wildlife Officials Warn of Coyotes After Dog Attacks in Willards Woods    (back to top)

Published at 9:23 PM EDT on Aug 8, 2017 | Updated at 11:36 PM EDT on Aug 8, 2017

By Frank Holland and Melissa Buja

Burlington - Lexington MA - Pet owners in one area of Massachusetts are being warned to look out for coyotes after a couple of dogs were attacked on recent walks.  Dog owner Dale Ballantine said back in June, she was walking her rare Tibetan Terrier named "Cricket" in Willards Woods on the Burlington-Lexington line, when a coyote bit her and almost carried her away.  "She got bitten right underneath. Behind her legs," Ballantine recalled. "I screamed 'no'. That’s what I screamed when I saw her dangling from the coyotes mouth."  Since the attack, town officials have posted signs to warn dog owners of the danger.  Several other dog owners told NBC Boston that they too, have had their dogs chased or bitten by coyotes, including Rebecca Mersiowsky.  "I saw my life and his life flash before our eyes," Mersiowsky said of her dog Bogey. "We heard him cry out pretty loudly and he came running straight back and was followed by two coyotes about his size. And as soon as they saw us, they ran away but that’s when we saw the back of his leg was all bloody."  The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game says coyotes are more aggressive in July and August because they are teaching their young to hunt.  Wildlife officials suggest keeping dogs on a leash, especially small ones. They also recommend that you don't feed your pets outside as coyotes can be attracted to their food. Keeping the lid on your garbage is also suggested because it can be a source of food for wild animals.  Both Cricket and Bodey have recovered from their wounds and are said to be doing fine.  "She's definitely one of the lucky ones," said Ballantine of Cricket. Source: Wildlife Officials Warn of Coyotes After Dog Attacks in Willards Woods - NECN


Franklin: Beavers raising water, worries    (back to top)

Millford Daily News

By Scott Calzolaio Daily News Staff

Posted Aug 3, 2017 at 7:51 PM

Updated Aug 7, 2017 at 10:35 AM

 FRANKLIN MA - Local officials are weighing what to do with a colony of beavers whose natural handiwork threatens an earthen berm at DelCarte Reservation off Pleasant Street.  An expert from ESS Group, an environmental engineering firm, walked around the ponds and other parts of the reservation on April 7 looking for signs of beaver busywork. After discovering that the critters were indeed making themselves at home, ESS installed a motion-activated camera for 13 days.  Four beaver lodges were found along the shoreline, two of which appear to be in use. One dam in the area is blocking water flow from the upper basin to the southern basin. The dam is flooding trees near a berm on the upper basin, or pond, according to an ESS study. That could be a problem if the berm continues to flood.  “There are undesirable conditions which, over time or during a large rainfall event, could lead to erosion of the earthen berm and potentially impact its structural integrity,” ESS reports.  ESS recommends removing the dam but first clearing trees from the berm. Beavers would use those trees to rebuild their dam. If the problem continues, experts suggest trapping and moving the beavers elsewhere.  “Keeping a berm stable is not too much money,” said ESS Vice President Carl Nielsen. “Building a new berm is very expensive.”  The Conservation Commission will discuss the results beginning Aug. 10.

Scott Calzolaio can be reached at 508-734-0389, or be email at


Three People Attacked by Fox Before It Was Killed by Homeowner    (back to top)

By John P. Muldoon - May 20, 2017

IPSWICH MA - Three people have been attacked by a fox believed to be rabid.  The first attack was was reported on East Street shortly before 2 p.m. today, May 20.  The second came at 5:20 p.m. on Newmarch Street, according to radio traffic.  Around half an hour later, the animal was killed by a homeowner on Damon Avenue as the animal was trying to take chickens from his coop.  “It had a chicken in its mouth and was trying to pull it through the fence,” said Scott Waiswilos.  He said he came up behind the animal with a rake and broke its neck.  Police and EMTs from Action Ambulance were already in the neighborhood when the fox was dispatched.  They put the dead animal in a biohazard bag for for a postmortem check to confirm if the animal was diseased.

East Street

The fox was put in a biohazard bag for collectionThe first attack happened on East Street. The police officer who arrived on the scene radioed that the man was bitten on the hand and twice on the legs.  It broke the man’s skin in places, and the fox was believed to be rabid, police said.  After the attack, the animal took off into the woods behind the house and up the hill parallel to Spring Street.  Action Ambulance also responded. The man declined to be taken to hospital by medics and said he would drive himself, according to radio reports.  The animal control officer and the Massachusetts Environmental Police were notified of the incident.  Just after 4:15 p.m., the fox was reportedly seen on Applewood Drive off Newmarch Street.  Police searched the area but were unable to find the animal.  Then at 5:20 p.m., two people reported they had been attacked by a fox on Newmarch Street.  Their injuries weren’t serious, and both declined to be taken to hospital. 


Entrance to Concord's Estabrook Woods Closed to Dogs    (back to top)

By Alex Newman (Patch Staff) - Updated May 9, 2017 3:10 pm ET

The Estabrook Road access into the wooded area is now closed to dogs due to recent coyote injuries.

CONCORD, MA – The Estabrook Road entrance to Estabrook Woods is now closed to dogs due to recent attacks by a coyote defending her pups, according to the town. Officials believe the coyote den is somewhere near one of the main trails in that area.  At Punkatasset, dog owners are strongly advised to leash dogs as there have been dog injuries there, as well, though not in the vicinity of any trails. Restrictions will remain in place until coyote pups have been weaned over the next few weeks, the Town of Concord said.  Late April through May is weaning season for coyote pups, which means protective adults will be on the alert.  For more information, please contact the Natural Resources Division at (978) 318-3285 or visit After hours, please contact the Concord Police Department at (978) 318-3400.


Police: Multiple Coyote Attacks On Dogs Reported In Concord    (back to top)

April 21, 2017 10:14 PM

CBS Boston - Filed Under: Concord, Concord Police Department, coyote attacks

CONCORD (CBS) — Concord Police are warning residents to keep a close eye on their dogs after multiple coyote attacks on dogs have been reported.  According to officials, three attacks have occurred in the area of Estabrook Woods between April 18 and 20.  Each of the attacks occurred at the beginning of the trail on Estabrook Road while the dogs were not on leashes.  Reports also said that the dogs approached what could be a coyote den containing pups.  The coyote, described as weighing 60 to 80 pounds, bit each of the dogs that approached and then tracked the dogs until they left the area, police said.  Concord PD advises to avoid the area, especially until May while coyote pups go through “weaning season” and adult coyotes actively protect themCut back brushes at the edges of your yard, these areas provide cover for coyotes and their prey.


Chihuahua missing after reported coyote attack   (back to top)

NEWSTuesday, March 28th 2017


DIGHTON, Mass. (WJAR) — A Dighton family claims its Chihuahua was attacked and carried away by a coyote Saturday night.  Nadine Enos, who lives on Chestnut Street near the Dighton-Rehoboth town line, told NBC 10 News that at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday she heard a disturbing noise outside the front of her home.  "It was a cry. A different kind of cry," said Enos.  Enos said she let her three dogs out and waited on an outdoor deck.  Her German shepherd was tied up, but her Boston terrier and Chihuahua were loose.  The smaller dogs made their way to the front of the home just a few feet away.  "I was right there. I heard a squeal," said Enos.  Enos claims her terrier ran back to the deck and that the German shepherd was barking before she heard another whimper.  "I knew in my heart that it was her," said Enos. The Chihuahua, named Gabby, was 12 years old.  It hasn't been seen since the reported coyote attack. Family members said they grabbed flashlights and let the German shepherd loose.  "It was an instinct for me. Hoping she would scare (the coyote) and it would drop my dog," said Enos.  Family members claim they first laid eyes on the coyote as it ran toward the road.  The shepherd apparently chased it several hundred feet up the road. Enos said the coyote was last seen in a wooded area near power lines.  Heartbreak has set in for the entire family.  Enos' son, Michael Bruzzi, said, "We see our other two dogs looking out the window to see if Gabby will come back."  The terrier has several small wounds resembling bite marks.  Enos said she hopes her experience serves as a warning to other people about the importance of keeping a close eye on pets while outside.  "I work in a veterinary hospital. I'm around pets all the time. All these years I hear stories of how this happens to people.  I never, ever, thought it would happen to me. It can happen in a matter of seconds."  Enos told NBC 10 that her family notified Dighton police to make them aware of the situation. On Sunday, Dighton Animal Control said it was aware of the reported attack.  Officials said female coyotes tend to be hungry this time of year because they're preparing to give birth, so people with pets should watch them closely when they’re outdoors.


Understanding the warrant: Beaver management money    (back to top)

Posted Mar 3, 2017 at 8:18 AM

By Alison Bosma

Editor’s note: Each week, we plan to provide an explainer of one or more Town Meeting warrant articles for the upcoming Medfield Town Meeting. This week, we look at the $5,000 designated for beaver maintenance.  Beavers are such a pervasive presence in Medfield, they’re making an appearance at Town Meeting.    Tucked among the more than 40 articles voters will decide on at the April 24 Town Meeting is $5,000 “for the purpose of trapping beavers and removing beaver dams throughout the Town.”  “They build dams in culverts,” Town Administrator Michael Sullivan said. When left unchecked, he said, “They were flooding people’s backyards and affecting their septic systems.”  The Town Administrator, according to the article, is the town position authorized to spend the funds. Sullivan said the town spends about the same amount every year, using trapper Barry Mandell.  In part because of beaver breeding habits, the dam-building animal is hard to get rid of, Mandell said.   “They’re the largest rodent in North America .... some people think you’re going to trap them and they’re gone, but” that’s not the case, Mandell said. “It’s more of a maintenance thing.”  The beaver population began to climb after certain traps – the Conibear and foothold traps – were banned, Mandell said.  Mandell has been trapping for about 35 years, he said. Each year, he catches about 30 to 40 beavers overall, mostly in the towns of Medfield, Franklin, and Millis.  Mandell said he finds beaver dams in almost every culvert, or manmade waterways under roads. In Medfield, they are found particularly in Stop River, Pine Brook, and Hinkley Pond, he said. The trapper attributes the swamp off Rte. 27, heading into Sherborn, to beavers.   “They have spots where they don’t bother anybody ever,” Mandell said, noting that he typically traps only where beavers pose potential problems.  As for solving the beaver issue, Mandell said he doesn’t see the need for his services going away anytime soon.  “You could bring the Conibear and the foothold (trap) back,” Mandell said, and encourage recreational trapping, “but then you’ll have negligent trappers catching dogs.”  Beavers are an issue across much of Massachusetts, and a regular appearance in town budgets.  Town Meeting is Monday, April 24.


Life Outdoors: Beavers invade Maynard    (back to top)

Lancaster Wicked Local

Posted Feb 2, 2017 at 2:45 PM

By David Mark - , Updated Feb 2, 2017 at 2:45 PM

 A beaver family has created a lodge on the north side of the mill pond about 80 yards east of the Sudbury Street bridge, and is destroying trees on Mill & Main property, the shoreline adjacent to St. Bridget Catholic Church, and also on neighboring private property. Tree damage by other beaver families is evident up and down the Assabet River between the Ben Smith and Powdermill dams. Beavers will walk more than 150 feet from water’s edge to take down trees for food and building material. Heavy gauge wire fencing 4 feet tall is recommended to protect individual trees.  Due to fur trapping, beavers were gone from colonial Massachusetts by 1750, and did not start to repopulate the state until the 1930s. When colonial farmers relocated to new areas to start a new village, they anticipated finding large, tree-free expanses near streams. These farm-ready spaces had once been beaver ponds. Resident beavers would have moved away after all the surrounding trees were cut down and eaten. Or else had been trapped for pelts. Unmaintained dams deteriorated and washed out, leaving fertile meadows.  While recovery has not been as explosive as for whitetail deer, which now exceed their pre-European population, estimates are that Massachusetts is home to at least 100,000 beavers. The Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge is home to a dozen or more active colonies — all contributors to the wetlands habitat essential to many other species.  Many towns’ departments of public works have to deal with beaver management every year. Maynard’s DPW has on several occasions brought in licensed trappers to remove beavers from wetlands near the town’s well fields. Homeowners can apply to a town’s board of health for an emergency permit to trap and kill beavers affecting private property. State law does not allow for relocation, or for that matter, destroying a dam or lodge without a permit.  When beavers are able to find a place to live without disruption, spring brings a litter of about four kits which will remain close to the parent pair for two years, helping out with chores such as dam and lodge maintenance, plus late-fall food storage in the form of underwater piles of branches. This way, food remains accessible under the winter ice. The adult male of the mated pair will create scent mounds marking the family’s territory. This territoriality results in families being no closer than half a mile from each other. If a beaver pond is seen with two lodges, it just means the one family in residence upgraded.  Our resident adult beavers have no predators. Before the Europeans got here, they were hunted by Native Americans, wolves, cougars and black bears. Nowadays, their lifespan in the wild can exceed 20 years, with adults typically weighing 45-65 pounds but known to top 100 pounds. Every spring, the 2-year-olds, evicted from their parents’ lodges, go a-wandering. Summer sightings and new areas of tree damage are probably by these adolescents. Lodges are not always surrounded by water. If the water level is relatively stable, the beaver will forego constructing a dam, and instead build a lodge next to shore, referred to as a bank lodge.  The four front wood-gnawing teeth, continually growing, are radically different from the chewing teeth. The enamel of the outer surface incorporates an iron-containing pigment which makes that surface harder and also orange in color. Because the rest of the tooth is a softer dentin material, the teeth resharpen with use. Everyone knows that beavers chop down trees, but the descriptions in school-age appropriate texts omit a few facts. Yes, beavers use mud, rocks and branches to construct dams and lodges. Yes, branch tips and under bark are consumed as food. But did you know that gnawed food is only partially absorbed during passage through a lengthy small intestine? Whatever is left enters an enlarged section of the large intestine, where it undergoes bacterial breakdown. After a day of browsing on greenery, beavers retire to the lodge for the night, where they will defecate, gather up their feces, and eat everything all over again. Coprophagia (yes, it has a name) allows for enhanced energy absorption from the bacterially processed plant fiber, and is practiced by many other herbivores. The next morning the beavers defecate the twice processed material in the water outside the lodge and start the new day.Parts of this column (including the icky last paragraph) were in a 2011 column about the return of beavers to Eastern Massachusetts.


Police: Coyote Attacks, Kills Dog In Gloucester    (back to top)

January 16, 2017 4:40 PM

Filed Under: Coyote, Gloucester

GLOUCESTER (CBS) — Authorities in the Rocky Neck area are warning residents to watch their pets carefully after police say a dog was killed in the yard of a home while its owner was inside Sunday night.  Police said they were called to the Sumac Lane home around 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Skippy, a 10-month-old poodle, was on a fixed leash when he was attacked by a coyote.  Police searched the area, but could not find the coyote.  Rocky Neck resident Mark Olsen told WBZ-TV the dog belonged to his 75-year-old mother, Sarah Olsen. He said the dog was out for about five minutes when the coyote attacked. Karin O’Donnell, Sarah Olsen’s daughter, watched the attack happen.  Skippy, the dog police say was attacked and killed by a coyote Sunday night.  Skippy, the dog police say was attacked and killed by a coyote Sunday night.   “When I came outside I saw that this leash was all the way down here and when I got down here to the bottom of the steps, there was the coyote with Skippy in his mouth,” she said.  According to Mark Olsen, his mother and sister tried to save the dog–but they had to hide in their car when the coyote came after them.  Sarah Olsen said the loss is horrifying.  “He’s my dog. I miss him terribly” she said. “He was the cutest little thing.”  Mark Olsen said his family had seen three or four coyotes in the area recently.  “This is an area where a coyote was eating a prey here. The other side of the property where they had a seagull bones all destroyed,” he said.  Mark Olsen said they are getting more brazen, and that he and his neighbors are worried for the safety of children in the area.  “We’ve got too many kids in the area so Gloucester’s gotta do something about it,” Sarah Olsen said.  In a release Monday, Gloucester Police and the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife offered several tips to help residents prevent coyote attacks, including securing garbage, keeping bird feeders clean, and using loud noises, bright lights, or water sprayed from a hose to scare the animals away.  Police said that Environmental Police and Animal Control officers were monitoring the Rocky Neck area Monday, and said anyone who spots a coyote should call Animal Control. A City Councilor went to the home, telling the Olsen family he hopes to call an emergency meeting to address the coyote problem.  For Sarah Olsen, the attack has been understandably traumatic.  “Its really real sad, she said. “I don’t know if I want another (dog) or not. I’m kind of scared.”


Brookline police on lookout for coyote they say ‘charged’ an officer    (back to top)

By Jenna Fisher:

Posted Dec 16, 2016 at 4:09 PM

updated Dec 20, 2016 at 12:32 PM

 Brookline, MA - Coyote, as in the animal. And police later clarified it was more like the animal ‘ran toward’ a detail officer after it may have been startled.  Brookline Police tweeted a coyote “charged” a detail officer near the corner of Washington and Park streets last week, and are asking residents and pedestrians to be cautious and alert.  Since the incident, some eight phone calls have come into the station reporting sitings of a coyote hanging around town. A note in the blotter indicated an officer interviewed residents who reported seeing a coyote early this week in the Cottage Farm area and residents seemed to think it was not aggressive.  Shortly after the tweet, Police later clarified that the animal ran toward an officer working a traffic detail. There was also a backhoe working at the construction site and that may have startled the animal, causing it to come out during the day, police said.  “We’re not sure if that scared the animal,” said Deputy Superintendent Michael Gropman, who said one officer turned and the animal was running away from the construction and was a few feet of him.  “So he made himself very large and yelled,” according to Gropman.  The animal froze and before the officer on detail could do anything else, the animal ran off.  The animal control officer and the environmental police are out looking. “At this time we’re hopeful that the animal made its way out to more rural areas,” said Gropman.  Because it was out in the daytime, there is a possibility it could be sick or injured, police notified schools. Brookline Public School Superintendent Andrew Bott sent out an email home letting parents know before school let out.  “The police remind us not to approach the animal and to call 911 if you see it,” it read.  Bott also told parents the police department contacted the Massachusetts Environmental Police, who are looking for the animal.  “They haven’t found it and they have been looking for it since 1:30 p.m.” said Katie Gronendyke of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. “They don’t know much about the situation so they need to find it first in order to assess,” she said.  But for a healthy coyote to charge at someone is out of the ordinary for the animal.  “The Brookline Police thought that it may be injured,” she said, adding that it was normal for the environmental police to deal with such animal cases.  “The chance of being attacked by a coyote is extremely low. In fact, there have been only five people bitten by a coyote in Massachusetts since the 1950s – one animal appeared to have been fed and cared for by human beings and had become accustomed to people, two others tested positive for rabies and a third is suspected of having rabies; another was not recovered after being shot by police,” according to the MSPCA website.  Dr. Robert Adamski, a veterinarian at the New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth stressed at a meeting of concerned residents last year in Newton, the TAB reported, that coyotes are not aggressive and do not - even in packs - attack humans or anything much bigger than a toy-sized dog.  “He said coyotes, which are opportunistic feeders, will normally eat whatever is the easiest to get. They usually eat fruit berries, small rodents, rabbits, birds and insects, as well as pet food and garbage left outside. They size up their pray and if there is a threat of getting injured they simply won’t take the risk, he said. If a small dog is an easy target, with no human around, it could be dinner,” the Newton TAB reported at the time.  “They will not attack a human,” he told the NewtonTAB. 


Gill farmer speaks after coyotes attack and kill cows    (back to top)

Western Mass New Fox 6

Posted: Jun 07, 2016 2:35 PM EDT, Updated: Jul 19, 2016 2:35 PM EDT

A farmer in Gill had some frightening moments after he was confronted by a pack of coyotes.  The pack had just attacked and killed three of his cattle, including two newborn calves.    Farmer Brian Peila has a daily routine of checking his cattle to make sure everything is running smoothly, but Monday afternoon, something unusual happened.  Peila's four year old cow was found dead, along with her twin calves, and a pack of coyotes were seen in the distance.  "I couldn’t get close enough to the cow involved because the coyotes or coy dogs were present at the time,” Peila explained.  Gill Police Chief David Hastings told Western Mass News that the dogs dragged one calves off and then found the remainder of another calf still in the field.  Peila has been in the business his whole life and this has never happened.  With 275 cows on his two farms in Gill and Northfield, it's hard to grasp, "especially after giving birth. There were babies involved and a cow involved," he said.  When a cow is pregnant and gives birth, Peila's family welcomes the calves, but his kids are now asking where they have gone.  "It's always a very sad situation when it's your animals. They're like family to us," Peila explained.  The cow and her twin calves were at this pasture about 30 feet away from the wood line because that cow had just given birth all three were vulnerable.  The animals are a huge loss to the farm as the mother was worth nearly $2,000 and the calves were nearly $300.  In a whole year, the cow can produce up to 30,000 pounds of milk.  Gill Police are now warning residents to stay alert and take care of your pets as coyotes don't usually go after people, but can go after your pet. 


Dog killed when coyote attacks in Ashland    (back to top)

7 News Boston - June 3, 2016

ASHLAND, MA (WHDH) - An Ashland family suffered a devastating lost after their dog had a deadly encounter with a coyote in Ashland.  Thelma Chouinard was on her porch Wednesday morning, watching her 5-year-old dog Rusty run around.  According to the family, a coyote suddenly came out of the woods.  “He grabbed him, ran into the woods there,” Thelma said. “I heard him squealing all the way up and then all of a sudden quiet.”  Thelma yelled for her husband Philip, but by the time he came out, the dog was gone.  The 8 pound Shih-Tzu mix known for playing with deer and chasing bunnies was an 80th birthday present for Philip from the kids, and they quickly became inseparable.  “He even slept with us in bed at night,” Philip said. “Last night I couldn’t sleep.”  Police warned neighbors in Ashland there have been at least two attacks.  Galina Hillman’s Irish Wolfhound Patrick and Shepherd Meeka spotted two coyotes around dinnertime Wednesday.  “They both were on a leash but there was no way to hold them,” Hillman said. “They saw the coyotes and they escaped in the bushes.”  They both ran back, but Patrick’s tussle with the wild animals left him with a wound in his back leg.  Both families are hoping to alert other pet owners about the dangers lurking just beyond their yards.  Police said the best advice is for people to keep their dogs on leashes, and to call 911 if they see a coyote.


Coyote attack on dog in Swifts Beach area concerns homeowner    (back to top)

Wareham Wicked Local - Posted Dec 8, 2016 at 2:56 PM

WAREHAM – An attack on a 96-pound male cream Labrador retriever by two coyotes Thursday morning in a yard off Lynne Road has the homeowner concerned about the coyotes’ aggressiveness.  Carrie Lawrence said the family’s two dogs – Brody – the 3-year-old Lab and their 16-year-old female Jack Russell terrier, which has cataracts and is nearly blind, went out at the same time – about 6:30 – 7 a.m. Her husband Rob saw the attack, one of the coyotes was on top of the Lab, which was on its back. The other coyote was biting it as well.  The dog received some puncture wounds on its hind legs and abdomen, and was being treated at a local veterinary hospital and was expected to be OK. He’s up to date on all his shots and received a rabies booster, she said.  She said the coyotes came right onto the property, surprisingly aggressive. She noted that a coyote had come onto the property during Thanksgiving Week, as well, and had to be chased off.  The coyotes might have been coming onto the property Thursday morning to attack the smaller, helpless older terrier for food, and the Lab may have interfered.  But the coyotes aggressiveness is a concern, she said. Her home is adjacent to land protected by the Buzzards Bay Coalition, and passive recreational uses like walking dogs are encouraged, but she wondered if people were aware of the proximity of the aggressive coyotes.  She said her husband notified police of the attack, and she called the Buzzards Bay Coalition and a representative was going to return her call. The BBC reps were all in the field when she initially called.  There have been aggressive coyote reports in the area in the past.  There were reports three years ago in November of three coyotes attacking a dog, a boxer, and attempting to attack two full-grown Labs in the Swifts Beach area.   According to the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s website, coyotes taking pets are not considered an immediate threat to human safety, therefore animal control officers and municipal police departments are not authorized to remove these wild animals.  If people are threatened by their behavior, however, public safety officials can take what action is necessary.  According to the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife website, Eastern coyotes are the size of a medium-size dog, but with longer, thicker fur. Coyotes have a long, bushy, black-tipped tail that is usually carried pointing down.  A coyote is typically four-to-five feet in length, from snout to tip of tail. Their snout is long and slender, and their ears are pointed and erect. Females weigh an average of 33-40 pounds and males are slightly larger, averaging 34-47 pounds. Eastern coyotes can attain weights of 50-60 pounds, but because of their thick fur, weights of coyotes can easily be over-estimated.  Coyotes are opportunistic feeders, according to the website, meaning they will feed on whatever is most readily available and easy to obtain. Their primary foods include fruit, berries, small rodents, rabbits, birds, snakes, frogs, and insects. They will scavenge on animal remains, including road-kills, as well as garbage and pet food left outdoors.  It’s noted that in suburban areas they prey upon unprotected pets, including outdoor house cats and unsupervised domestic dogs.


Alert: Be Cautious of Coyote Encounters at Heard Farm    (back to top)

By Charlene Arsenault (Wayland Patch Staff) -

Updated September 23, 2016 12:17 pm EST

The police chief and health director sent out an alert. Know what to do should you encounter a coyote.

WAYLAND, MA—If you're walking at Heard Farm Conservation Area, be wary of coyotes. According to Wayland's police chief and health director, in the past few weeks there have been several coyote encounters with people and their dogs.  "We have spoken to the Animal Control Officer who offered safety tips," said an announcement from the health department. "We would like to make people aware of the safety tips for these situations."

Guidelines to follow when you see a coyote:

Coyotes are naturally timid animals and will usually flee at the sight of a human. If they linger or approach, it’s time to begin “hazing.” This is a term applied to the following actions that can be taken to scare coyotes and chase them away:

##Be as big and loud as possible. Do not run or turn your back.

##Wave your arms, clap your hands, and shout in an authoritative voice.

##Make noise by banging pots and pans or using an air horn or whistle.

##Throw small stones, sticks, tennis balls or anything else you can lay your hands on. Remember the intent is to scare and not to injure.

##Spray with a hose, if available, or a squirt gun filled with water and vinegar.

##Shake or throw a “coyote shaker”—a soda can filled with pennies or pebbles and sealed with duct tape.

The effects of hazing may not last unless all food attractants are permanently removed. This information should be shared with neighbors, friends and homeowner’s associations since hazing is most effective when the entire neighborhood is working together.  Hazing should never be attempted if the coyote is accompanied by pups or appears to be sick or injured. If it’s the latter, make a report to the local police or animal control officer.  Failing to respond to hazingSome coyotes may freeze and stare, or run a short distance and stop. Hazing should be continued until the coyote gets the message and finally leaves the scene. Hazing can work whether the encounter is with a lone coyote or a small pack. If the leader retreats, the rest of the pack will follow. If the coyote refuses to retreat or returns to the area despite persistent hazing, it may be due to the fact that someone is feeding coyotes nearby. This is a cause for concern and should be reported to the local police or animal control officer.

Other strongly urged safety suggestions:

##Use a walking stick

##Avoid walking after dusk

##Use a leash while walking your dog

##Walk in groups

##Do not bring food with you

…approaching a pet or a child

Small pets and children should never be left unattended, and dogs should always be walked on a leash. Problems are more likely to occur when the animal is out of the owner’s control. It can also be helpful to carry a noisemaker, squirt gun or pepper spray. If a coyote approaches, pick up the pet or child, then start hazing. If the coyote does not leave, back away slowly while continuing to haze and go indoors if possible. Any aggressive behavior should be reported to the local police or animal control officer. If bites or other injuries are sustained, medical attention should be sought immediately.  Coyotes are most frequently seen and heard during mating season (January-March) and when juveniles start leaving the family pack (September-November). While normally fearful of people, they can sometimes be spotted crossing yards or streets. This behavior is not unusual, especially in residential areas bordering on open space where coyotes find their natural prey. They may simply be taking a shortcut to their favorite hunting ground. This type of sighting generally requires no response—other than making sure that pets and children are secure and that there are no likely food attractants (see Easy Pickin’s) present in the area.


Gloucester residents fear coyote population is growing    (back to top)


GLOUCESTER — Coyotes trot down sidewalks and ramble across golf courses. They stalk prey in backyards and in bordering woodlands. At night, their eerie howls rattle residents.  Though these predators were once considered a rarity in Gloucester, sightings have become regular in recent years, leaving many locals worried about their own safety and that of their pets.  “I’m creeped out at night walking around here,” said Tom Janis, a resident of East Gloucester for 16 years, who now carries a heavy flashlight on nocturnal walks in case he and his dog encounter an aggressive coyote. “Their numbers have gone up exponentially.”  The belief in a coyote population boom has raised so much concern among residents that more than 250 people crowded into an informational meeting earlier this month to ask questions and propose solutions to the perceived problem.  “It speaks volumes that in the middle of winter, we had that many people come out,” said Steven LeBlanc Jr., a Gloucester city councilor and one of the event’s organizers.  Wildlife experts say there is little evidence of a surge in coyote numbers.   The predators started moving into Western Massachusetts in the 1930s, said Pat Huckery, northeast district supervisor for the state Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. When the state’s cougar and wolf populations dwindled, coyotes filled in the large-predator niche.  By the 1990s, coyotes had saturated the state, except for Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, she said. Today, there are an estimated 10,000 statewide.  In a suburban area like Gloucester, a family of five to 11 coyotes needs a range of about 6 square miles, Huckery said. There just isn’t room in the ecosystem for sudden growth in the numbers once an area has been fully populated, she said.  “We’re not even sure we have a burgeoning population,” Huckery said.  People may feel like they are seeing more coyotes, she said, because they are seeing the same few animals multiple times as they ramble within their territory.  Many residents, however, are convinced the numbers are growing. LeBlanc has seen coyotes wandering in densely populated downtown Gloucester. Pat Morss, who has lived in East Gloucester since 1972, had a pack of cubs living in his backyard last year. Though Morss has never felt menaced by a coyote, he does wonder what would happen if he stumbled upon cubs with a protective mother, he said.  Statistically, there is little reason to feel threatened by coyotes, Huckery said. Statewide, there have only been a few incidents of the animals acting aggressively toward humans.  “Most are minding their own business and behaving well,” she said. “There are so few cases where a coyote actually harms a person.”  In 2015, Gloucester police received 40 calls about coyote sightings, Chief Leonard Campanello said. Some callers reported feeling apprehensive about the predators’ presence, but none reported any attacks, he said.  For resident Sam Holmes, the discomfort residents feel is a problem in itself.  “You want to feel safe when you’re walking down the street,” he said. “You don’t want to have to worry about whether you’re being stalked by coyotes or not.”  Holmes thinks part of the solution could be an increase in coyote hunting. He himself hunts the animals and tans their hides, which he then gives away. In Massachusetts, coyote hunting season runs from October to March, and there are no limits on the number of animals that can be killed.  Huckery, however, said that a better solution is to manage coyotes’ access to food sources.  Coyotes are incredibly adaptable animals, she said, able to feed on everything from blackberries and wild rabbits to household pets and trash. To reduce the chance of an unpleasant encounter, people need to give the predators less access to food. That means removing bird feeders that can attract small mammals on which coyote prey. Trash bags should not be left on the curb until the morning they are set to be collected, Huckery said, and compost should be kept in sealed containers.  “The numbers are going to correspond to the amount of food people make available to them,” she said.  LeBlanc, the city councilor, wants to create a plan for dealing with future growth in the coyote population. He hopes the city can collaborate with state agencies and the environmental police to prepare for a possible need to control numbers.  LeBlanc supports calls for residents to remove bird feeders and be careful with their trash, he said, but doubts these steps will be enough to prevent the coyote population from growing.  “Living with them right now is the best bet,” he said. “But eventually, I think, there will have to be some kind of population control.”

What the howling is all about

• Coyotes are the size of a medium-size dog. Females typically weigh 33 to 40 lbs., males 34 to 47 lbs.

• Because they adapt so well to their surroundings, coyotes can be found near almost all residents of Massachusetts.

• Their primary foods include fruit, berries, small rodents, rabbits, birds, snakes, frogs, and insects. They also will eat garbage and pet food, and they prey on cats and dogs, given the chance.

• Coyotes are useful in reducing pests, especially rodents.

• A family group — or pack — consists of parents, pups, and sometimes the previous year’s pups.

• Howling is the way coyotes communicate with one another. They are usually either calling their own family members or warning nonfamily members to stay out of their territory. Parents may scatter and howl as a distraction if they sense a threat to their den, where the pups are hidden.

SOURCE: Mass. Division of Fisheries & Wildlife

Sarah Shemkus can be reached at


After attack, Gloucester looks to curb coyotes - Mayor planning public forum on animals    (back to top)

By Ray Lamont Staff Writer Jan 18, 2017

Gloucester police are on the prowl for coyotes — but are urging residents not to do the same.

Police have stepped up patrols around Rocky Neck and in other parts of the city, Interim police Chief John McCarthy said Tuesday morning. The increased patrols come in the wake of a Sunday night incident in which a coyote attacked a family’s poodle, then turned and threatened two women who had tried to intervene behind their porch on Sumac Lane. The dog had to be euthanized.  “We did have more patrols down there (Monday), and we will probably be doing that for the next week or two, at least,” McCarthy said.  He cautioned residents to resist any inkling of taking any action on their own. In addition to coyotes having state wildlife protections,  McCarthy noted that Massachusetts law precludes anyone from discharging a firearm from within 500 feet of a residence.  “If there is an aggressive coyote, between us and (state) environmental police, we can respond and may have to put the animal down,” he said. “Public safety comes first.  “But if people do have a problem, they should call us. Leave it to the people who are trained to deal with this sort of thing,” he added. “People shouldn’t be taking this on by themselves. We can’t have people out there walking around with guns in our neighborhoods.”

 Seeking state help

As police heightened patrols for coyotes after the Sunday night incident, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and other city officials worked to draw in state support for a remedy for what all concede is a growing safety issue.  Christopher Sicuranza, the mayor’s director of constituent services, said at least three people had simply walked into the mayor’s office at City Hall as of noon Tuesday and another “five of six” had called the office, all to report “their coyote stories.” He said the mayor is working with the governor’s office and with state wildlife officials to explore some type of state-backed response to the problem, whether a program aimed at trapping and relocating some of Gloucester’s coyotes or some other remedy.  “It’s serious, and it’s something we are taking very seriously,” Sicuranza said. He said that the mayor’s office is seeking to set up a public forum, tentatively planned for Feb. 2, with representatives of the state’s Department of Fish and Game and Environmental Police.  “We need help, and we need for them to know what we are not crying wolf — no pun intended,” he said.   He noted that state environmental officials regularly put out a list of what residents should or should not do when confronted with a coyote, with bulleted points. “But, with what we’re seeing here, some of the bullets don’t line up,” he said. “We’re told, for example, that making loud noises scares them away, but that wasn’t the case here (in Sunday night’s Rocky Neck encounter.) We need to get information and education as to what we’re dealing with — is this a coyote? A coywolf? We don’t really know, but they don’t seem afraid of us anymore.”  Mark Olsen, whose mother owned Skippy, the poodle taken by the coyote Sunday night on Rocky Neck, noted that the coyote didn’t seem at all fearful during or after the 9:30 p.m. attack. He said it temporarily forced his sister and mother into their vehicles, turning on them when they tried to rescue their dog. The coyote remained in the front yard before leaving when Olsen emerged with a baseball bat and a flashlight.

Seen all over

Many residents have reported coyotes in virtually all parts of the city, from dens in East Gloucester’s Seine Fields to West Gloucester, from Annisquam and the grounds of O’Maley Middle School, to the heart of downtown.  “This isn’t new,” McCarthy emphasized. “It’s kind of been a natural progression of things over that last 15 or 20 years. But they have descended upon us, they’re pretty much all over the city, and people need to be aware.”  “I walked out of my house (Monday night), and this coyote came right across the (Unitarian Universalist) church yard,” said Middle Street resident Barry Pett. “It did run away. I always carry a small flashlight at night, so I just took it out of my pocket, yelled a little bit, and it scooted away from me like I was Godzilla. But they’re obviously not afraid to go anywhere.”  Annisquam resident Theresa Pergal can vouch for that. She recounted seeing a coyote a few weeks ago that walked through her property, laid down in the sun on a tennis court, then got up and leisurely walked through the neighborhood.  “It just stayed there (on the court) for maybe 10 minutes. It wasn’t afraid of anything,” Pergal said. She said the animal did not appear to threaten anyone, “but just the way it acted bothered me. This was at noon.  “I hope someone can do something,” she said. “I don’t like them, I don’t think we need them, and I sure don’t want them here.” 


·         To prevent coyote attacks, Gloucester Police are advising residents to follow these safety tips from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife:

·         Do not approach, feed, pet, or try to interact with coyotes, foxes, or other wild animals.

·         Leash pets at all times if outdoors. Small cats and dogs are seen as prey and larger dogs, competition.

·         Don’t hesitate to scare or threaten coyotes with loud noises, bright lights, or water sprayed from a hose.

·         Cut back brushy edges, as these areas provide cover for coyotes and their prey.

·         Secure your garbage. Coyotes raid open trash and compost piles. Secure garbage in tough plastic containers with tight-fitting lids and keep them in secure buildings when possible. Take out trash when the morning pickup is scheduled, not the previous night. Keep compost in secure, vented containers, and keep barbecue grills clean to reduce attractive odors.

·         Keep bird feeder areas clean. Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground, as the seed attracts many small mammals coyotes prey upon. Remove feeders if coyotes are regularly seen around your yard.


Coyote attack injures Labrador retriever in Wareham - Owner urges others to take precautions    (back to top)

By Matthew Bernat | Dec 08, 2016

A Swifts Beach couple is warning residents to keep pets safe after two coyotes seriously hurt one of their dogs, a 3-year-old Labrador retriever, early Thursday morning.  Carrie Lawrence said she let Brody, the injured Lab, and her 16-year-old Jack Russell terrier into the backyard of her Lynne Road home at around 6:30 a.m. Usually, the dogs return when she steps on the porch to bring them inside.  “They didn’t come right away, and then my husband came running down the stairs when he heard the coyotes,” she said. “They were on top of Brody, just four feet from the house.”  Brody suffered deep puncture wounds to his hind legs and stomach. On Thursday afternoon, he underwent surgery at a local animal hospital and will be back home soon.  While Brody survived, Lawrence said she hopes other pet owners will take steps to avoid coyotes.  After the attack, Lawrence called the Buzzards Bay Coalition and asked the group to post warning signs along the protected open space it owns that abuts her property. The Coalition promotes the area as a place for passive recreation and dog walking.  “A lot of people walk their dogs there and they should know to take precaution,” she said.  Thursday’s attack wasn’t the first time coyotes concerned the Lawrences. Two weeks ago, they scared off a coyote that had wandered onto the porch.  Last spring, she said a coyote had pups near the walking trail and would bark at people passing by the den. After awhile, the coyote and pups went elsewhere.  In 2013, a serious incident occurred in the neighborhood when three coyotes attacked a few dogs, killing one.  So far, Thursday’s coyote attack is the only one reported this year in Wareham, according to police.  Lawrence said she hopes another one is avoidable.  “I don’t want to see some terrible, tragic accident to happen because no one is aware,” she said.   For information and tips on dealing with coyotes, visit the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s website:

Arlington Police Caution Residents After Coyote Kills Resident's Dog    (back to top)

BREAKING: Police say it is not unnatural to see coyotes during the daytime hours.

By Joe Lipovich (Patch Staff) - Updated September 30, 2016 7:13 pm ET

ARLINGTON, MA — Arlington Police and animal control officer Kathryn Kozikowski are warning residents of the dangers of coyotes after a West Highland terrier belonging to an Arlington resident was attacked and killed by a coyote Friday morning.  Police say that at around 7 a.m., police received a report that a coyote had attacked and killed a resident's dog while it was in the backyard. The property abuts Menotomy Rocks Park, where coyotes have been known to reside.  According to Kozikowski, last year's mild weather has caused an influx in some wildlife, creating a greater supply of food for the coyotes. The announcement states that while coyotes hunt during low light hours, it is not unnatural to see them during the day.  "There will always be coyotes in Arlington," Kozikowski said in the announcement. "The best ways that we can prevent further interactions with coyotes is to make our homes less of an attraction for them."  Police also offered tips from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to residents following the attack :

• Do not approach, feed, pet or try to interact with wildlife, including coyotes, foxes or other wild animals.

• It is always a good idea to leash pets at all times if outdoors. Small cats and dogs are seen as prey, and larger dogs are seen as competition.

• Don’t hesitate to scare or threaten coyotes with loud noises, bright lights or water sprayed from a hose.

• Cut back brushy edges, as these areas provide cover for coyotes and their prey.

• 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. Take out trash when the morning pickup is scheduled, not the previous night. Keep compost in secure, vented containers, and keep barbecue grills clean to reduce attractive odors.

• Keep bird feeder areas clean. Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground, as the seed attracts many small mammals coyotes prey upon. Remove feeders if coyotes are regularly seen around your yard.


Mendon residents approve beaver trapping, killing    (back to top)

By Corin Cook Daily News Staff - Posted Jun 22, 2016 at 11:59 AM, Updated Jun 22, 2016 at 11:59 AM

MENDON - Residents voted to approve all but one article at Special Town Meeting Tuesday, including one to trap and kill beavers at Lake Nipmuc.  Just more than 40 residents who appeared at the Miscoe Hill Middle School auditorium voted to reject only one article, but others raised some opposition.  The most contentious article was centered around the trapping and killing of beavers who are reportedly causing flooding on Lake Nipmuc.  Resident Patrice Murphy, who organized the article, said that beavers are flooding yards and causing damage in the neighborhood. She added that a neighbor had regularly been breaking the dam up, but the beavers keep rebuilding.  There are an estimated 15 to 18 beavers in the pond, Patrice said, which are about 70 pounds and live for 20 years.  Land Use Committee Chairwoman Anne Mazar said officials looked into installing a flow device that would run the water under the dam, but it was not suitable for the lake.  Resident Carol Carnovale said that she lives on the lake, and while she has noticed the water level rising, she said she is “very much opposed to any trapping and killing” of the creatures she said are “a benefit to the biodiversity of the area.”  She added, “They’re a keynote species, which means a lot of the other plants and animals in the area are dependent on them.”  Mike Ammendolia of the Finance Committee argued that he would like to see another solution that would be “a lot better than hurting these beavers that deserve to live as much as you or I.”  But the trapping was approved by majority vote.  Corin Cook can be reached at or 508-634-7521. Follow her on Twitter @corincook_MDN.


Coyote attacks alarm Wellesley    (back to top)

The Swellesley Report -May 25, 2016 by bbrown

Recent coyote attacks on dogs in Wellesley, including at least one fatal encounter, have put residents on high alert.  We’ve received several emails this week from Swellesley readers asking about the recent incidents, including a fatal one on Parker Road (off Weston Road), where a small dog was reportedly attacked in its yard and dragged to its death nearby.  We also had an inquiry about an attack near Rockridge Pond.  I also happened to see a large coyote dead on the side of Rte. 9 West on Wednesday in Natick, and Wellesley Animal Control Officer Sue Webb says she has seen more than the usual number of coyotes hit and killed trying to cross Rte. 9 this year.  In the past we’ve had numerous reports of attacks and coyote sightings during mating season early in the year. Coyotes have been seen all over town in recent years, including at Centennial Reservation, popular among dog walkers.  Webb recommends that dogs under 20 pounds always be accompanied by a person when outside, as coyotes won’t be kept out by electric fences and can jump physical ones that are 4-5-feet high..

Coyote destroyed after attacking Weymouth cat    (back to top)

By Jessica Trufant

The Patriot Ledger  Posted Nov 16, 2016 at 4:39 PM, Updated Nov 20, 2016 at 7:14 PM

The town’s animal control officer is reminding residents not to leave their pets alone outside after a coyote attacked a cat in North Weymouth, leaving it with several lacerations.

WEYMOUTH – The town’s animal control officer is reminding residents not to leave their pets alone outside after a coyote attacked a cat in North Weymouth, leaving it with several lacerations.  Animal Control Officer Mike Parker said he responded to a report of a coyote that had attacked a cat in the Great Hill neighborhood on Wednesday morning. The owner reportedly witnessed the attack and yelled at the coyote, prompting it to drop the cat. The owner picked up the cat and was then chased by the coyote.  Parker said the cat was taken to a veterinarian after suffering cuts to its hindquarters and mouth, and is expected to make a full recovery. The owner did not have any contact with the coyote and was not injured.  Parker located the coyote, which he had to euthanize after it showed aggression towards humans – a potential sign of rabies. The coyote was sent for rabies testing.  “Usually coyotes don’t want anything to do with humans, and if you make noise or jump around, they take off,” he said. “This one was the opposite. It showed no fear of people and came forward at me more than once.”  Parker said the cat is up to date on its rabies vaccine, but may need additional treatment if the testing comes back positive for the virus.  Parker said attacking a pet is not in itself unhealthy or unusual behavior for coyotes, which is why it’s important for people to accompany their pets outside.  “If the coyote had just taken the cat – that’s not necessarily a reason to euthanize it. Coyotes are predators, and they don’t know the difference between your pet and a rabbit,” he said.  Coyote attacks on humans are extremely rare, according to the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Since Eastern coyotes started populating Massachusetts in the 1950s, there have been only five cases of a coyote attacking a human.  Jessica Trufant may be reached at


Police warn Arlington dog owners after coyote attacks and kills dog    (back to top)

Channel 7 Boston News Oct. 1, 2016

ARLINGTON, MA (WHDH) - Police warned Arlington dog owners after a coyote killed a dog in the town.  Around 7 a.m. Friday, police received a report that a coyote had attacked and killed a resident’s West Highland Terrier while the dog was in the backyard.  The resident’s property is located near Menotomy Rocks Park, a wooded area where the animals have been known to reside.   “There will always be coyotes in Arlington,” said Animal Control Officer Kozikowski. “The best ways that we can prevent further interactions with coyotes is to make our homes less of an attraction for them.”  Police urged people to be on alert and offered tips to residents from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife:

- Do not approach, feed, pet, or try to interact with wildlife, including coyotes, foxes, or other wild animals.

- It is always a good idea to leash pets at all times if outdoors. Small cats and dogs are seen as prey and larger dogs, competition.

- Don’t hesitate to scare or threaten coyotes with loud noises, bright lights, or water sprayed from a hose.

- Cut back brushy edges, as these areas provide cover for coyotes and their prey.

- 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. Take out trash when the morning pick up is scheduled, not the previous night. Keep compost in secure, vented containers, and keep barbecue grills clean to reduce attractive odors.

- Keep bird feeder areas clean. Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground, as the seed attracts many small mammals coyotes prey upon. Remove feeders if coyotes are regularly seen around your yard.

Police have asked that any coyote sightings be reported to Arlington Animal Control at 781-645-8014.


Natick police warn of possible coyote attacks

By Jennifer Smith GLOBE CORRESPONDENT  JULY 12, 2015

Natick police are warning residents after two women in town were reportedly attacked by a wild animal, described as a gray fox or coyote.  State Environmental Police were notified around 9:30 p.m. Saturday that Natick law enforcement had received two separate calls that evening “for encounters with what was initially reported to be either a fox or coyote,” said Peter Lorenz, the Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs communications director.  The attacks occurred in 100 block of East Central Street, police said in a Facebook post. The block is a residential and retail area between large stretches of forested land.  Police said the animal did not appear to be provoked before the incidents and is “aggressive and is quite possibly not healthy,” Natick police said in their post.  An Environmental Police officer dispatched to Natick gathered additional information and consulted with Natick police. The animal, whose description is most consistent with a gray fox, has not been located, according to Energy and Environmental Affairs officials. The two women who encountered the animal received medical attention, officials said. Details on their injuries was not made immediately available.  Natick Animal Control recorded 27 coyote/fox sightings in 2014, as well as 19 sick or injured foxes, which is consistent with the past few years of reports.  Officials are reminding residents to stay away from wildlife that appears to be exhibiting strange behavior, such as a lack of fear of humans, and not to feed it.  Police ask anyone who sees the animal to call 911.


Beavers remain a pest    (back to top)

By Laura Krantz/Daily News staff

MetroWestDailyNews - Posted Dec 1, 2013 at 12:01 AM - Updated Dec 1, 2013 at 1:05 AM

The flat-tailed, long-toothed rodents making dams across MetroWest are causing headaches for homeowners, even as environmentalists say beavers are a precious part of the local ecosystem.  The flat-tailed, long-toothed rodents making dams across MetroWest are causing headaches for homeowners, even as environmentalists say beavers are a precious part of the local ecosystem.  Across the region, dams made by these champions of gnawing cause water levels to creep dangerously close to sheds, septic systems, swimming pools and sometimes homes themselves. The stagnant water topples trees and breeds mosquitoes.  Among those frustrated by beaver handiwork is Michael Riley, in Bellingham.  Riley is dizzy from being spun between various town departments for six months. He says he first reported beaver problems in wetlands across from his house in May.  In Hopkinton, Cecilia DelGaudio and her neighbors eventually took matters into their own hands, pooling money and hiring a trapper when water started inching onto their backyards and popping out lights at an in-ground swimming pool.  Officials in Holliston denied a permit to Janice Miller, who has a 6-foot tall beaver lodge a few feet from her property line.  One reason beavers are so easy to spot in MetroWest is because a ballot question passed 17 years ago made it harder, and less lucrative, to trap beavers. Between 1996 and 2000, the state’s beaver population tripled and complaints about flooding increased.  Now environmentalists and homeowners are clashing over a new attempt to change this law, which prohibits traps that kill beavers instantly except with special permission from local health boards.  Powerful animal rights organizations oppose trapping and environmental experts say beavers create wetland habitats and meadows that fill with salamanders, butterflies and shrubs.  There are better options, they say, than breaking beavers’ necks with steel-jawed traps.

A trapper’s tale

Malcolm Speicher is an ex-Marine who has walked the Great Wall of China and loves working at car auctions. He is also one of the most well-known beaver trappers in the state.  Speicher’s work in Hopkinton this month is a vignette of many residents’ attempts to combat beaver dams in their backyards.  Most days you can find Speicher in his camouflage waders and polarized sunglasses, peering into murky water, studying beaver architecture and setting and removing traps.  “See, right there there’s a hole going in, right there,” he said recently, pointing to muddy water under a 6-foot-tall beaver lodge off Cranberry Lane.  “Until you sit here and watch them build a dam, you’ll never understand their ingenuity,” Speicher said.  DelGaudio and her neighbors grew frustrated with the rising water level around their homes, and because when they wanted to hire Speicher, they ran up against the law restricting the very traps trappers say are most effective.  In order to use Conibear and other lethal traps, Speicher needed permission from the local board of health, deeming the situation an emergency. He works in 20 to 30 cities and towns across the state and must get that same permit in each community.  Conibear traps are cheaper and easier to haul into wetlands than suitcase-shaped non-lethal box traps. Even with non-lethal traps, trappers eventually kill the beavers because it’s illegal to relocate them.  Trapping experts argue that trap technology has advanced since the 1996 ballot question, which passed with 64 percent of voters, outlawed the traps.  “That one there will go in every bit of sixty (pounds),” Speicher said as he unloaded a beaver from his boat earlier this month. He sells the pelts on the international market, to buyers as far away as Russia and China. Big pelts can sell for $28 each, he said. During the recession, prices dropped to around $13, he said.  In all, Speicher caught 16 beavers in DelGaudio’s neigborhood and dropped the water level five and a half feet during two weeks in November.  Speicher and other trappers support a bill to streamline trapping regulations and centralize them under the state’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. The bill would also make it easier to trap with kill traps.  “There’s a lot of guys who would trap if they didn’t have to do the paperwork,” Speicher said.  No one knows exactly how many beavers there are in Massachusetts because the law doesn’t require trappers to report beavers trapped under emergency permits like Speicher used in Hopkinton.  There are several bills under consideration now that could change trapping laws. Rep. Carolyn Dykema, D-Holliston, said she favors one that would require better reporting, so officials could get better data about exactly where beavers live and where they cause problems for humans.

Environmental concerns

Even some homeowners who want to trap beavers struggle with the idea that saving their properties means killing wildlife.  Beavers, a species that was extirpated from the commonwealth in the late 18th century through unregulated hunting and extensive deforestation, reappeared in western Massachusetts in the early 1900s.  Beavers reached MetroWest in the 1990s, said Elissa Landre, director at Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick.  “It’s an important part of the fabric of New England and we’re very happy to have them back in the neighborhood,” Landre said.  Not only do beavers create wetland ecosystems where other wildlife live, but the trees they kill allow woodpeckers, herons and ospreys to perch and build nests. Last summer, beaver dams helped during a dry spell, allowing water to seep out slowly.  When beavers leave an area and waters recede, it creates a beaver meadow, where grasses, wildflowers and shrubs grow. Turtles, salamanders, water snakes, ducks and butterflies live in beaver meadows, Landre said.  People come to the Broadmoor sanctuary specifically to marvel at beavers and their handiwork, especially at night when the rodents are most active, Landre said. This time of year they are poking twigs into the mud to save as food for the winter.  The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals threw heavy support behind the 1996 ballot question and still opposes trapping for a variety of reasons.  “None of these devices are humane,” said Linda Huebner, the deputy director of advocacy department of MSPCA.  “The problem is people really don’t understand what their options are under the law,” she said.  The MSPCA recommends breaking down dams or using flow devices and other equipment that allows water to flow through dams.  Speicher, the trapper, says flow devices are sometimes just a Band-Aid.   “The longterm solution would be to allow the guys to go trapping with the Conibear,” Speicher said.  In DelGaudio’s neighborhood, two 12-inch pipes through the dams should keep the water low, at least for now. 


Newton neighbors concerned about coyotes    (back to top)

By Jenna Fisher

Posted Apr. 1, 2015 at 3:07 PM
Updated Apr 2, 2015 at 1:56 PM

NEWTON, MA - One night about two weeks ago Jeff Lieb’s black mini poodle, Trixie, woke him up in the middle of the night to go outside. Lieb got out of bed and made his way to let her out into the fenced back yard on Parker Street. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He had no idea that was going to be the last time he would ever see the family pet. A few minutes later, he heard a scuffle and saw some movement near the back of his property from his kitchen window. He opened the back door, stepped out and let out a booming “Hey!” Lieb said it was at that moment he saw two coyotes running toward the fence and watched as they bound over it. Lieb grabbed a Mag Lite, threw on his boots and ran out into the night to find his dog. “What just happened?” he thought. “What do I do?” He called and searched for Trixie for an hour. But it was too late. So far this year there has been only one other report to Newton’s Animal Control department of witnessed cases of coyotes taking a pet. “To be honest, on my wildlife list of complaints, coyotes are probably third,” said Officer Ralph Torres of the Animal Control division. Turkeys and then raccoons top the list, he said. Though the city maintains a website to report coyote sightings, none were listed for the past six months as of Monday evening, and the website was showing an error message Tuesday. More than a dozen residents told the TAB they had seen a coyote in the city recently. After hearing multiple second-hand reports of dogs and cats going missing, presumed taken by a coyote in her Newton South neighborhood, Carolyn Kraft decided she had to do something. “This has really been a traumatic experience for a lot of people in the Newton South neighborhood,” said the woman who has two small Italian greyhounds, which she calls “hors d'oeuvres for coyotes.” “People have been letting out their dogs and they are getting taken. It’s like a nightmare,” she said. Kraft said she called the mayor’s office to see if it would put out some information, but when she hadn’t heard of any action she took things into her own hands and invited Torres and Dr. Robert Adamski, a veterinarian at the New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth, to give a talk Monday evening on coyotes.


Framingham Police Issue Coyote Warning: Report of a German Shepherd dog killed on the aqueduct near Potter Road in Framingham.    (back to top)

By Susan Petroni (Patch Staff)

January 23, 2015 at 4:00am


FRAMINGHAM, MA - Framingham Police issued a warning to North Framingham residents about a pack of coyotes, on Thursday evening via a reverse 9-1-1 call. There were several reports of a German Shepherd dog killed on the aqueduct between Bradford and Potter roads in Framingham. This is not the first report of coyotes in Framingham. There were multiple reports of coyotes in Framingham in 2014. And in 2013, there were several reports of a Coyote with its pups near Brophy Elementary.



City gets approval to trap beavers causing flooding in South Lowell    (back to top)

By Todd Feathers,

see source story here

UPDATED: 01/12/2015 07:35:11


LOWELL, MA - A bucktoothed menace reared its furry head in South Lowell last spring, turning Charles Tamulonis' backyard into a mosquito-infested swamp. The city is no stranger to beavers, but this colony was special. The lake they created in Marginal Brook was such a hazard that in November, for the first time in more than a decade, the city was forced to tear down a beaver dam -- no easy feat. "There's always this thing about 'save the beavers,'" Tamulonis said. "But it's the greatest nuisance in the world depending on where you live." Tamulonis built his house on Circuit Avenue in 1986. The area was always prone to flooding, but as a younger man, he didn't mind climbing through the bramble and trees that surround his property to clear a blockage in the brook. Last spring, however, the water rose more than 5 feet, completely submerging his backyard and flooding his basement. Oak trees, some of which had been there as long as he had been alive, started toppling. The distinct marks of beaver teeth could be seen all over the swamp. At 62, Tamulonis again found himself crashing through the bramble to rip the edges of the beaver dam down with a pitchfork. By the next morning, the dam would be completely rebuilt. "My biggest concern is, if this huge dam bursts ... where is the water going to go?" he said. "It's not only going to flood me out, it's going to flood out everybody on the street." Sure, they're cute, but beavers are nature's engineers, and if they decide to build in the wrong place, they can be dam destructive to human structures. "If you're a resident living around this, it will affect your septic system, it will affect your well, it can affect the stability of a roadway," said Ingeborg Hegemann, a professor at UMass Lowell who specializes it wetlands science and building projects. The lakes beaver dams create can also completely alter an ecosystem, she said. In Tamulonis' case, that meant he couldn't venture outside after dark without being engulfed in a swarm of mosquitoes. Soon after the dam appeared, he began writing to every city official he could think of. For almost a month, nothing happened, But eventually he spoke with Ralph Snow, commissioner of the Department of Public Works, and the city embarked on the arduous task of securing the proper permitting to breach a dam and trap the beavers -- not to mention actually taking on the dam itself. It took more than five months for the city to secure the proper approval. During that time, a trapper caught 12 beavers behind Tamulonis' property, some of the weighing more than 50 pounds. The process for removing a dam is surprisingly complicated. To begin with, a local board of health must determine that a dam constitutes a threat to public health. In Tamulonis' case, the mosquitoes saw to that. Then a resident must obtain a beaver-trapping permit, which only lasts 10 days. If the beavers aren't all caught, the property owner must reapply until the job is done. It took Tamulonis four permits. Finally, a municipality must apply to the state for permission to breach the dam, and the local conservation commission must approve the measure. The Lowell Conservation Commission heard testimony and debated Tamulonis' problem for nearly half an hour. It isn't rare for the city to trap and relocate beavers, but it has been a long time since a dam became so problematic it had to be removed, at least legally. Near the turn of the millennium, the city's Conservation Commission was fielding two or three requests each time it met to breach a dam. When Tamulonis spoke before the commission in November, one commissioner said it was the first time since 2000 he had heard such a request. Hegemann said it isn't uncommon for beavers to disappear from an area for several years if their dam is repeatedly destroyed, but she couldn't think of a reason a city so plagued by the rodents suddenly found itself relatively free of them. The current permit approved for Marginal Brook will allow the city to remove any beaver dams in the immediate area for three years. Tamulonis is hoping the beavers feel just as hassled as he did and stay away for good. Follow Todd Feathers on Twitter and Tout@ToddFeathers.

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Coyote attacks man walking with 4-year-old daughter in Groveland   (back to top)

Two Groveland residents attacked by coyote

WCVB 5 News, Boston

Published January 6, 2015


GROVELAND, Mass. —Police have issued a warning in Groveland after a coyote attacked local residents, including a father who was walking with his 4-year-old daughter, on Monday.  Jon McPherson had just arrived home and was walking up a sidewalk with his daughter when the coyote latched onto his leg and wouldn't let go. "At first I thought, 'Oh my God. I just got bit by a dog,'" he said. "I turned around and it was a big coyote. Probably waist-high. I was like, 'Get out of here!'" McPherson said shouting at the animal didn't work. "He wasn't afraid of me in the slightest," McPherson said. That's when he hit the animal with a bag full of groceries. "I clocked him with the bag, he kind of shook his head a little bit and moved into the side yard," McPherson said. After ripping apart the bag, the coyote took off for the woods behind Manor Drive, but minutes later it emerged on nearby Gardner Street. A man on that street said the coyote didn't seem to have any fear. "The behavior of the coyote in these incidents is very unusual," Groveland police Sgt. Dwight McDonald said. "Coyotes usually run from humans. "The coyote should be considered rabid and dangerous, police said. Any contact with the animal will require medical attention.



New Hampshire woman, dog attacked by coyote (just northwest of Salisbury, MA)    (back to top)

WCVB Boston Channel 5

Published  9:05 PM EST Nov 17, 2014


GREENLAND, N.H.  - A woman and her dog were bitten by a coyote Monday morning, police say.   The woman and dog were attacked in Greenland off Post Road.  Police say the woman was walking her dog on her property when a coyote charged and attacked them.  The victim's husband heard the woman yelling and drove a vehicle to the scene.  Police say he shot a firearm to try to scare the animal away, but was unsuccessful. He then drove the car to separate the coyote from the woman.  The coyote ran off.  The woman, who had bites on her hands and legs, was taken to a hospital for treatment. The dog was taken to a vet suffering from multiple lacerations.  Both the woman and her dog are recovering and expected to be OK.  Greenland police warned that people should be cautious of wild animals.  When protecting food or offspring, animals tend to be more territorial.


Coyotes near West Bridgewater school put police on alert - Officer placed on wooded path leading to West Bridgewater elementary school to protect children     (back to top)

By Adam Roberts - Enterprise correspondent

Posted Oct. 7, 2014 @ 6:00 am


 WEST BRIDGEWATER, MA – When students walked through the wooded path that connects Goldie Road to Rose L. MacDonald Elementary School on Monday, they were greeted by a police officer.   The officer was assigned to the detail after residents reported howling coyotes in the area Sunday night.  “It’s good to have them there and aware what’s going on,” said Rochelle Peterson of the police presence.  Her husband walked their daughter to school Monday morning and saw the officer.  Jeni Mather, West Bridgewater Animal Control, wouldn’t comment on how the police were responding to the report specifically.  “The primary concern of the West Bridgewater Police Department is the safety of the children,” Mather said.   Calls to the Rose L. MacDonald School and the West Bridgewater  superintendent’s office were not immediately returned.   The sound of coyotes at night is common in the area, and being heard from Quincy to Middleboro as packs get more active and increasingly intersect with society.   Several area residents, as well as their pets and livestock, have had encounters.   Peterson said she’s been woken up six times this year by howling.   One time, the noise was so loud, she thought the coyotes made a kill next to her home.   The howling at night doesn’t bother her.   “I’m not so concerned because we haven’t seen them during the day,” said Peterson.   Mather said coyotes are most active at dusk. If one is out during the day it’s likely sick.  “You should steer clear of coyotes,” Mather said, adding making some noise and walking away are the best responses when encountering a coyote.   Mather said the coyote activity is consistent with that in past years.  There have been several coyote attacks and incidents across the region this year.  This summer, a series of coyote attacks decimated Richard Seaman’s flock of sheep.  Seaman, a sheep dog trainer who keeps about 100 head of sheep in Middleboro and Westport, said the Middleboro pasture came under siege in August.  He lost 40 lambs in the attacks.  Quincy pet owners were put on alert in April after an elderly woman watched a coyote jump her fence and snatch her Chihuahua one night.   “The poor little thing,” the dog’s owner, Marjory Cristiani, 85, told WCVB-TV at the time. “I just can’t get it out of my mind. To stand on the stairs and see that animal taking my dog.”



Authorities sound alarm about coyote attacks on pets    (back to top)

By Neil H. Dempsey Staff Writer, The Salem News

Posted: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:18 pm


SALEM, MA - Leslie Boucher was walking three dogs at Salem Woods recently when one of them, a tan boxer mix named Dalton, took off on his own.  At first, Boucher didn’t think anything of it. Dalton had a habit of running off for five or 10 minutes at time, and he wasn’t on a leash.  But then Boucher started to worry. And then, 45 minutes into looking for Dalton, one of the other dogs - a Labradoodle named Monty - started acting “very odd,” and he took off, too. Boucher tried to follow but quickly lost Monty in the brush.  The next thing I heard, he was yelping and crying,” Boucher said. “I heard that clear as day.”  Monty came back with two 11/2 inch slashes on his backside and 12 puncture wounds. He later received 20 stitches at a veterinary center in Woburn. Dalton never came back. Now authorities, confident both were attacked by coyotes, are sounding an alarm about the area, which includes the municipal golf course and the nature tail running alongside it.  “It’s sad to say, but they’re taking a chance going out there,” said Donald Famico, the city’s animal control officer. “If a dog goes into a coyote’s den with their young or anything like that, they’re as good as done.”  Although coyotes are spotted with some frequency around the city, sometimes in the vicinity of the power plant on Fort Avenue, Famico described Salem Woods as a particularly attractive haven for them, with its hundreds of acres of forestland.  “It’s one area that they can pretty much be safe in,” he said. “Those woods go all the way almost to Lynn.”  Those woods also go all the way to Swampscott, where another dog - a shepherd-Labrador mix with a floppy ear named Clarissa — went missing earlier this year from a home at Essex Street and Hillside Circle.



Hadley Family Warns of Coyote Attacks After Dog Falls Victim    (back to top)

By Ryan Trowbridge - ABC News 40 -

Posted July 23, 2014


HADLEY, MA (WGGB) - A warning tonight for pet owners from a Hadley couple, who recently lost a pet Dachshund in a coyote attack.  “Hershey had more brown in her face. She was slightly bigger.”  Cathleen Robinson and Raymond Brown speak fondly about their pet dog, Hershey.   Besides Hershey, they also have another dog named Mia.  On the evening of July 2, Robinson let both Hershey and Mia out into the backyard.  “I went out with them, had the floodlights on. They were happy to be outside, running around and Hershey started tracking something,” Robinson explains.  That something apparently turned out to be a coyote.  Robinson had to go into the house for a moment and then heard an awful noise.  “I was coming back out and I kind of heard Mia scream barking,” Robinson says.  She knew immediately that something was wrong.  “I just said to Ray something terrible happened and I came to the door and poor Hershey was dragging herself up the steps.”  Hershey was badly injured by the coyote. They took her to the animal hospital where Hershey was put to sleep.  This is the backyard where the coyote attacked the little dog. Robinson tells us it was only a matter of seconds from the time she let Hershey out to the time the coyote grabbed her.  Robinson feels the only reason the coyote let go of the dog was that Hershey was wearing a collar and the attacking coyote was shocked, trying to get out of the yard through the invisible fence.  Robinson is telling her story to alert other pet owners of their nightmare, in hopes it won’t happen to anyone else. “Reason I’m talking about it is if more people talk about it, they can take more care with their pets, especially at night and at dawn,” she adds.  Raymond and Brown feel the coyote problem is a growing one. They talked with neighbors after the attack and discovered that everyone had their own coyote story.  Coyote attacks, once rare, are happening all over Massachusetts. There are an estimated 10,000 coyotes in the Bay State.



Middleboro man battles coyotes, thieves to protect his sheep     (back to top)

By Alice C. Elwell -   Enterprise correspondent

Posted Aug. 11, 2014 @ 2:09 am,  Updated Aug 12, 2014 at 2:30 PM


Middleboro, MA - Sheep owner Richard Seaman, who also trains sheep dogs, puts the animals through their paces at the Soule Homestead Educational Center in Middleboro.  Sheep dog trainer Richard Seaman gives commands to his sheep dog with a whistle.  A sheep owned Richard Seaman is identified by the tag in its ear.  Sheep dog trainer Richard Seaman works with his dog "Star" at the Soule Homestead Educational Center in Middleboro.  Richard Seaman had no luck using a donkey to guard his flock of sheep.   "The donkey I had was really nice and I liked the idea of a donkey, but unfortunately he killed a lamb because it didn’t belong here," he said.   Seaman is a professional sheep dog trainer who also raises about 100 sheep in rented pastures in Middleboro and Westport.   And contrary to popular belief, sheep dogs do not protect their flock, they are working dogs that herd the sheep, he explained.     After Gus the donkey didn’t recognize the newborn lambs and turned on them, Seaman shipped him off to a new home.   "I totally trusted Gus, it was so sad getting rid of him," he said.   Within two days of Gus’s departure, Seaman’s flock was in shambles. Coyotes swept in and feasted on the newborn lambs. During a series of attacks, many pregnant ewes dropped their lambs when fleeing and by the week’s end, Seaman had lost 40 lambs.  It was a gruesome experience and Seaman took a big financial hit, his lambs sell for as much as $200 each.  Now Seaman is looking for a llama to guard the flock and he’s working with a local hunter to track down the coyotes that are dining on his sheep.   "I think their numbers will increase now that they’re eating well," he said.  When not feasting on sheep, Seaman found evidence coyotes are taking down deer when a leg turned up in his field.   Hunter Allin J. Frawley, who is chairman of the Middleboro selectmen, will help Seaman control the coyote pack that’s preying on the herd.  Coyotes are extremely smart and have earned the name the trickster from Native Americans.   "Predator hunting is extremely challenging. You’re hunting the hunter," he said.  Coyotes mate at the beginning of the year, and give birth in the spring. They are very active during the summer when the hunt to feed their young and Frawley fears the pack will begin teaching their young to prey on Seaman’s flock.   Coyote season doesn’t begin until October, but Amy Mahler, spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs said hunters can take them down if they are threatening humans or livestock.   Mahler said it not just sheep that can fall victim to a hungry coyote. She said coyotes are opportunist feeders and will eat just about anything.   "Apples are just as much at risk as sheep," she said.   In addition to orchards, Mahler said coyotes will prowl on garbage, bird food, compost, road kill and trash. "Basically people enable coyotes to eat."


Dog suffers critical injuries in Pembroke coyote attack    (back to top)

By Jessica Trufant - The Patriot Ledger

Posted Jun. 6, 2014 @ 12:01 am, Updated Jun 6, 2014 at 10:41 AM


HANOVER, MA – A 35-pound dog is recovering from critical injuries to his abdomen, chest, head and throat after he confronted a pack of coyotes at the tree-line of his Pembroke yard.  Max, a 7-year-old shiba inu, was recuperating at VCA Robert’s Animal Hospital Thursday.  Max’s owner, Jonathan Pratt, said he and Max were out on the back porch around 9 p.m. Wednesday when Max heard something in the brush about 100 feet away and took off into the dark to investigate.  “All of a sudden it sounded like dogs fighting, and you could hear him crying. The damage was done and the coyotes went scurrying off,” Pratt said. “I’m shocked because I didn’t think he would survive.”  Pratt rushed Max to the veterinary hospital where the dog underwent a four-hour surgery to repair the muscle and skin.   “He didn’t give up,” Pratt said. “If he had, he wouldn’t have made it.”  Veterinarian Joe Martinez said the dog isn’t out of danger yet.  “He’s got an uphill battle,” Martinez said, noting that it was the worst coyote attack they’ve seen where the animal survived. “In the best case scenario, he’ll be here for another week.”  Comparing the attack to blunt-force trauma, Martinez said there are a number of ongoing concerns, including bruising, internal bleeding and infection. Although Max is in tough shape, Martinez said he’s lucky his internal organs weren’t punctured.  “He’s big for his breed, and that worked in his favor. Usually these dogs are half the size,” Hospital Manager Gerry Martin added.   Living in a rural area, Pratt said it’s common to hear coyotes in the distance, but he’s never seen them so close to his house.   Marion Larson, the chief of information and education for the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said it’s not uncommon for Eastern coyotes to go after larger dogs, but usually it’s a matter of protecting their territory, rather than hunting.  “I’ve heard of coyotes going after a German shepherd, but that’s more about territory or feeling threatened,” she said. “Maybe there were young pups nearby.”  Larson said it’s important people know that coyotes are throughout the state, and it’s important to go outside with your pet, preferably on a leash.   “Coyotes are intelligent animals, and they start to figure out schedules,” she said. “Human beings are considered a threat, so the best thing you can do for your pet is be out there and close by.”


Beavers to blame for Easthampton Flood     (back to top)

By bdecker -ABC 40

Posted June 2, 2014


Easthampton, MA (WGGB)- There is a flood in one Easthampton yard, and the city says wildlife is to blame. Its the result of a clogged culvert that flows under South Street.

I haven't dared go over there, sam's homeowner Dan Laflamme as he points to his backyard. Laflamme has lived in his Crescent Street home for almost 30 years. After returning from Florida a few days ago, he came home to more than half of his property under water. There's about 3 acres, Says Laflamme. And how much do you think is underwater now? asks ABC40s Brittany Decker. About 2 acres, he responds. In a season there may be flooding of an inch or two, but now two outdoor buildings hold about 5 feet of water. His valuables are still inside. There's a 53′ dodge in there with 28,000 miles on it; I don't know what I'm going to do now, Dan says. And that building over there, in the back of it I've got snow blowers and lawnmowers and all kinds of equipment, its all underwater, he continues. The city says that beavers are the cause of problem because they keep blocking the culvert with debris. Now special permission is needed to clean it up; approval from the Conservation Commission that the City Engineer, Jim Gracia says they received this morning. The plan is for crews to go in, clear out the culvert, and maintain the work until they can find a more permanent solution. Dan says he has never seen a beaver in his life near the property, but either way just wants his yard back. How damage is there? asks Decker. It could be 20-30 thousand; I don't know, says Laflamme. The city says workers will be in to address the problem this week.


Man says he was attacked by coyote in parking lot in broad daylight    (back to top)

Jorge Quiroga Reporting WCVB 5

Published June 2, 2014


Woburn, MA - A man says he was attacked by a coyote while he was walking in a parking lot at the South End Italian American Club in Woburn. 



Bourne man, dog attacked by coyote - Family says this is latest in string of coyote attacks    (back to top)

WCVB Channel 5

Published  11:27 PM EDT May 21, 2014


BOURNE, MA - A Bourne man said he was attacked by a coyote Wednesday night as he tried to rescue his dog that was being attacked.  Michael Gagnon said he let his 5-year-old boxer out when he got home from work, and minutes later heard her yelping.  "And I ran down there and there are three coyotes attacking her," he said.  Gagnon said he had to fight off the coyotes and suffered a long cut on his arm as a result.  "When I tried to push him down, he just came up on me," he said.  Lulu has at least four bite wounds that her owners estimate are about an inch deep, and she's having a difficult time walking.  The family said two of their cats were killed by coyotes last year and that a neighbor's dog had been attacked.  They are warning other families to watch for the danger in the woods.  "They're totally out of control," said Gagnon.  The family called animal control officers.  They said they are expected to visit the property Thursday.


Westfield beaver dam floods local golf course    (back to top)


Coyote attacks two dogs in Salem    (back to top)

Reported by Nancy Chen (WHDH News 7)

Posted: Apr 30, 2014 10:31 PM EDT Updated: Jun 11, 2014 10:31 PM EDT


SALEM, MA - Sharon Shea was walking her two dogs, Magic and Cricket, when she said a coyote attacked them in Salem.  "The two dogs were kind of behind me, and I heard one yelp. And the other dog took after it. I was terrified really for the dogs. I knew that something had happened. And I bent over the dogs to cover myself. I wanted to keep them close to me, she said.  The attack happened in a wooded area of the city known as the Fort Lee section. Neighbors said coyotes have taken it over.  "Early in the morning all winter I saw them come across the camp from that treeline and down into this area, they were looking for food, Pam Macartney said.  Animal Control officer Donald Famico said coyotes have dens in the woods.  You're running an animal or dog into a wooded area like this where coyotes are going to have their young. If a dog goes into one of those dens it's all over, Famico said.  Coyotes will usually keep to themselves, only coming out to look for food.  "We ask people to make sure they feed their animals, dogs or cats, inside the house. Don't leave food out and about. Secure their rubbish barrels, he said.  Shea said the coyote followed her and her dogs out of the woods and all the way home.  "It's okay, the dogs have just been chased by a coyote, so they're upset. And they said 'yeah, and the coyote is right there behind you,' she said.  Animal Control said to prevent a coyote attack make sure your pet is on a leash and also be sure to get your pets' rabies shots up to date.


Quincy Police Warn Pet Owners After Coyote Attacks    (back to top)

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV

Posted: April 24, 2014 5:33 PM


QUINCY, MA(CBS) A Quincy family is mourning the loss of their beloved pet after it was attacked by a coyote.The predator scaled the five foot fence snatching the 13-year-old chihuahua in its teeth, as his elderly owner looked on.  As I went and looked I said, oh my God, said 85 year old Marjory Cristiani. He put the dog in his mouth and Im going, let it go, let it go.  The dog named Cheech was put outside for just a few minutes before bedtime, but when Marjory looked out the window she came face-to-face with the coyote.  He just looked at me defiant, they are very defiant animals.  Her son Anthony says Cheech is a member of the family. He gave the dog to his mother as a gift when her husband passed away thirteen years ago.  It was horrifying to know my mother saw the dog in the coyotes mouth like a rag doll. Its disheartening to say the least, he said.  A friend of Anthonys found the remains, and Anthony says the coyote even returned after the attack.  Right on that corner he was standing looking at me, the size of a small German shepherd.  Its the second coyote attack on a small animal in Quincy in the last few weeks, and has police warning residents to be careful with pets especially at night.  With coyotes theres a lot of them now encroaching on populated spaces, said Quincy police Capt. John Dougan.  Its left a sudden emptiness for Marjory Cristiani who is also urging her neighbors to keep a watchful eye on their pets and children.  I went upstairs in the bedroom and he wasnt there. Usually hes in his little bed, she said.



Beavers blamed for flooding in Lowell    (back to top)

By Bobby Sisk, WBZ-TV
March 31, 2014 10:48 PM


LOWELL, MA (CBS) By all accounts, this weekend brought the worst flooding ever along Wentworth Avenue in Lowell. Not here, nothing like this, exclaimed neighbor Ruby Duhamel Cook. The water started rising Sunday night after a weekend of heavy rain. I used to live in this neighborhood and I've never seen it like that. Never. Ever, said Lonnie Lacasse. Lacasse could barely see as he drove through the area Sunday night. It was pouring when I came through here, he recalled. The next thing he knew, his Chevrolet SSR was up to its wheel wells in water. When I got out of the car, it was up to my waist, he said. He called for help, and left his stalled vehicle right where it was. By morning, the water had risen even more. Emergency crews went door to door by boat to check on neighbors like Cook. Fortunately for me I thought I would evacuate if I was told that I had to but the firefighters said no, keep my eye on the furnace and said it would be okay, she said. She had flooding in her basement, and says she knows what's made this situation worse in her neighborhood. I think a lot of it has to do with the beavers. They've built up over here so much, she said. I saw like three different beavers last night. Huge, huge beavers. Mark Young, Director of Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility, also blames beavers and the dams they build. Because the animals are protected, though, he had to call in the state for help. Well have to get the proper authorities in to trap the beavers and then well have to take the dams down so that we don't have backups like this, he said. The backup that flooded Wentworth Ave, he thinks is due in part to a beaver dam in a culvert that allows the neighboring wetland to drain. Doing what they do naturally and the consequences are what you see here, Young said pointing to the standing water. One consequence of the flooding is Lonnie Lacasse's pride and joy. Its my baby, he said. His SSR sat submerged for around 20 hours until the water had gone down enough to have it hauled away. I had a couple of tow trucks come and they said they weren't going down there until the water was gone, he said. Several houses were impacted by the flooding. The water got close, but didn't get inside a nursing center nearby. A Wastewater crew stayed on the street into the night Monday to keep cars from driving through.


Pack of coyotes attack, kill dog in Millbury - Owner let dog out while making coffee    (back to top)

John Atwater reporting - WCVB 5 - Boston

UPDATED 11:35 PM EDT Mar 19, 2014


MILLBURY, MA - Animal control officers are issuing a warning after a dog in Millbury was attacked and killed Wednesday morning.  Mike Conlon said he let his dog out just before 7 a.m. and minutes later noticed that the dog had disappeared.  "They tore him apart," Conlon said. "His neck was broken."  Conlon said he saw several coyotes run into the woods behind his house and he followed a trail of blood to find his beloved pet.  "The dog didn't stand much of a chance," said Animal Control officer Daniel Chauvin.  Chauvin said coyote populations have exploded over the last several years.  "The days of opening your front door and letting your dog out for the evening or early morning constitutional -- those days are over," Chauvin said.  The Conlon's do have an electric fence so their dog wouldn't leave the yard, but said they never thought predators would get so close to their house.


Southborough, Mass. Police Issue Coyote Warning - Police say there have been 3 separate reports of 'aggressive' or 'sick' coyotes spotted over the weekend   (back to top)

NECN: Kathryn Sotnik    

Friday, Feb 28, 2014 • Updated at 3:13 PM EST


SOUTHBOROUGH, MA - Southborough, Mass. police want residents to know about three separate reports of "aggressive" or "sick" coyotes spotted over this past weekend.  Firefighter Paul Zompetti says he was mowing the lawn for a family friend on Granuaile Road Saturday around 4:30 p.m. when he came face-to-face with a large coyote, even threatened by the animal.  "It was scary. I really don't get that scared, but I was scared," said Zompetti.  He also said he tried to turn towards it to scare it, and "wave his arms," but that it "just kept coming."  Zompetti was not attacked, and the animal eventually walked away. He called police.  Lois Wallace was at the house Saturday, witnessed what happened, and saw the coyote again Monday at the same exact time. Wallace said, "they're aggressive so you don't want to fool with them."  Southborough police have also taken a look at the four legged animal and describe it as a "larger than normal coyote," potentially even a wolf.  Zompetti says it was between 80 to 100 pounds. "I own a shepherd, I know the size and I was scared," he said.  Police say the coyote sightings are common this time of year.  For Zompetti, he says he'll continue to mow the lawn with more awareness and that he's glad the coyote walked away and things didn't turn out worse.  "If there was a kid or small child or something I'd be afraid for that child," said Zompetti.  On Sunday, residents of Boswell Lane and Saddle Hill Lane also reported a sick coyote in the area.  Police say the town animal control officer was notified of all three incidents. Police say if you see a coyote, use common sense and don't attempt to feed or approach them.



Flooding from beaver dam bedevils Worcester neighborhood    (back to top)


Published January 21, 2014


WORCESTER, MA Residents of a quiet neighborhood in southeastern Worcester say they're struggling with an intractable property owner in their midst - a bad neighbor whose inaction allowed beavers to turn a small brook into a sprawling swamp that periodically inundates their backyards.  Unfortunately for the aggrieved residents, the property owner they have a problem with is notoriously hard to fight City Hall.   The undeveloped land along St. Anthony Street, where storm water backs up behind a frequently clogged drainage culvert, is owned by the city and controlled by the Worcester Conservation Commission.  When city public works crews clear the blocked culvert, they release a torrent of water that gushes off the city land into the backyards of homes along St. Louis Street, sometimes sweeping away lawn furniture and forming a small pond of standing water lapping uncomfortably close to their back doors.   "They can't just leave us here being flooded like this. It's city land. It's city storm water. It's just not right," grumbled Valery Fleming of St. Louis Street.  A lifelong resident of St. Anthony Street, Janice DiStefano recalls catching frogs and crawfish by the brook on city land as a young girl. Until a few years ago, the brook was barely two feet wide, she said.  Ms. DiStefano and other residents of the area fault the city for allowing beavers to run amok on the land for years. They say the result has been that storm water that otherwise would have flowed harmlessly down the brook as it fell now collects on the city property until it is released all at once in a destructive surge.  "They can't just take all that water and just dump it into our backyards like that," Ms. DiStefano said.  But city officials maintain the changes to the brook are part of a natural process, and that the city can't correct drainage problems on private property. After years of complaints from the residents, the city hired a trapper last year to round up roughly a dozen beavers on the conservation land.  Department of Public Works and Parks Commissioner Paul J. Moosey conceded that city crews have erred in releasing water from the marshy city property too rapidly.   "We went and knocked the beaver dam down and that created a rush of water. It creates a big puddle that then goes away. But our guys should have knocked that beaver dam down more slowly," Mr. Moosey said.  Beyond that, and checking the culvert regularly, the commissioner said there's nothing else the city can do to stop the flooding along St. Louis Street.   "As much as we've tried to make the peace with this neighborhood, their expectations are more than we can handle," Mr. Moosey said. "Any time we get a call from down there that we can do something about, we do."  After hearing from Ms. Fleming, District 3 City Councilor George Russell arranged for Mr. Moosey and other city officials to meet with residents of the neighborhood last summer. The meeting did little to ease tensions between residents and the city. The residents objected to Mr. Moosey's suggestion that they petition to have their private roads accepted as public streets.  Some in the neighborhood feel the city has a hidden agenda to force them to accept public sewers and streets, which they have resisted for years because of the expense. They see the flooding and private streets issues as separate.  "The bottom line is, from what I've been told in the two years I've been in office, legally you can't ask the city to go on somebody's private property to do work, and that's where we are basically," Mr. Russell said.  The neighborhood has heard some version of that statement from various city officials for years, they said, and nothing frustrates them more than the characterization that they're asking the city to pay for work on private property.  "We just want them to fix a problem on their land, their waterway. That's all," Ms. Fleming said. "It's conservation land. That's where the problem is coming from."  Beavers already are back at work on the city property. The culvert was partially clogged during last week's rains, and the water level in the swamp rose to within a foot or two of St. Anthony Street. Ms. DiStefano pointed out a beaver swimming out of the culvert pipe on Tuesday afternoon.  "They're going to keep coming back. They said it's our responsibility to call every time they come back," said Terra Smith, who lives on St. Anthony Street in a house her family has owned for generations.  "This used to be a beautiful neighborhood. The beavers destroyed our area. For two years we were fighting for the city to do something. Their idea was coming in and breaking up the dams and flooding everything out," Ms. Smith said.  Mr. Moosey said city crews will clean the culvert pipe out regularly and check it when major storms are forecast.  "I don't know what else we can do," he said. "If they say the area is wetter now than it was 10 years ago, I don't have any reason to doubt them. It probably is. But what caused that, we don't agree on."  Contact reporter Thomas Caywood at Follow him on Twitter @ThomasCaywood


Beavers removed near Hopkinton development 

Published January 8, 2014, Metrowest Daily News


HOPKINTON, MA – A trapper hired to stem flooding at Legacy Farms caught 42 beavers last month, he said Tuesday.   Malcolm Speicher, who this winter also trapped for homeowners off North and South Mill streets, said he spent 15 days on the south side of 730-acre East Main Street housing development.  Beavers can endanger homes, buildings and septic systems if their dams cause flooding.    "We just kept going and going and going, and we just kept finding and finding and finding," Speicher said.  They trapped in about 200 acres near Clinton and Front streets, he said, where homes haven't yet been built.  "Hopefully it's been diminished," said Legacy Farms developer Roy MacDowell.   The flooding had not harmed Legacy's homes, condos or apartments, he said, but was mainly in areas in which he plans to develop in the future.      More importantly, the flooding was endangering bordering homes.  Speicher said he found one big pond and several smaller dams, houses and beaver runs all across the land. He said a few devices, which help water flow through dams, should prohibit any new beavers who move in from causing flooding.   "Once they get things done down there and establish the way they want it then the beavers can stay," he said.   Developers plan to build Legacy Farms in five phases. Pulte Homes, which is building the houses and condos, last fall bought a second parcel from MacDowell.    Speicher, who trapped 16 beavers for the North and South Mill streets neighbors, said he believes there are more beavers on the north side of Rte. 135, property MacDowell also owns.   The trapper, who applies through the town for permission to use lethal traps that are otherwise prohibited, said he is talking with the local Department of Public Works about also trapping near Front Street, which floods from nearby beaver dams.   On that street, however, the dam is on private property, so Speicher said he would have to ask permission from the homeowner. The town would pay, he said, because it is flooding a public road.    "If  the property owner won't allow anything then I don't know what they're going to do," he said.  Speicher said the last trapper hired by the DWP to trap along Front Street accidentally trapped in the wrong spot.  Contact Laura Krantz at 508-626-4429 Follow her on Twitter @laurakrantz.



Beaver Dams Causing Destruction     (back to top)

Richard DeSorgher - Medfield Selectman - Article taken from Selectman DeSorgher's website

Posted August 28, 2013


Medfield, MA - Medfield continues to have a problem with flooding and damage to our trees, wetlands and environment due to an increase in the number of beavers. It was 17 years ago that the voters in Massachusetts passed a state law barring many methods of trapping and killing beavers. The 1996 ballot question banned traps that clamp down on an animal’s leg or body. Licensed trappers only were allowed to use devices that capture critters in a cage. Over the next few years, the beaver population soared, and so did complaints throughout the communities in Massachusetts. The higher number of beavers on the landscape also resulted in a higher amount of area that’s being flooded by them. So in 2000, the Legislature updated the law to allow local boards of health to issue emergency permits to use lethal traps on beavers or muskrats if they are causing a threat to public safety or health, such as flooding wells for drinking water, septic systems or roads.  In Massachusetts, a regulated beaver trapping season starts November 1st and ends April 15th. During trapping season any MA licensed trapper can trap beaver using live catch (Hancock or Bailey) traps and no permit is needed. A permit from the local Board of Health can be issued to trap beaver out of season if there is a threat to human health, safety, or property. This permit must also be issued for any trapper to use a Conibear or other lethal trap at any time of the year.  Beaver trapping tends to be a short term solution as new beavers can relocate to the trapped area. If trapping is the only management method used, it typically needs to be repeated every year or two.  Medfield has had several areas of flooding over recent years due to the construction of beaver dams. Especially  vulnerable areas include the Stagecoach/ Bayberry Road area, Indian Hill/Nauset/Penobscot area, Wight Street area and along Vine Brook in the Brook Street/Hinkley Swim Pond area. The photos I recently took that go with this story were taken from behind the Hinkley Swim Pond looking north along Vine Brook. I grew up on Summer Street and as kids we were always in this forested area. As you can see from the photo, acres and acres of forest are now dead due to the flooding caused by the beavers. I have concerns for the forested areas along Brook Street as well. As fast as our highway department tears down the dams, the beavers build them back up again. We need to keep watch for signs of beaver dam construction to prevent the flooding of our homes in the short term and in the long term, destruction of our trees along our brooks and wetlands.  It was sad to see so much of the forest in the Hinkley Swim Pond area destroyed.


Sconticut Neck coyotes kill four cats    (back to top)


Posted Aug. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 pm, Updated Aug 21, 2013 at 5:24 PM


FAIRHAVEN, MA - At least four cats are suspected to have been killed by coyotes on Sconticut Neck in the past three weeks, according to Animal Control Officer Cat Mindlin. The cats were all found dead in the Manhattan Avenue, Grove Street, Bay Street and Brae Road area of town. “Normally the coyotes migrate with the tide of the bunny population,” Mindlin said. “But they are just picking off the cats in this one neighborhood.” Coyotes are “well established” throughout Massachusetts and thrive in suburban and urban areas close to people, according to the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game website. The predator's primary prey is rabbits, but it is not uncommon for them to eat squirrels, cats and small dogs. “This killing cats, they are not doing anything unnatural,” Mindlin said. “They are creatures of whatever is convenient.” Mindlin said one of the cat deaths was confirmed to be at the hands of a coyote after she sent its body to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. While Mindlin had originally thought the cat could have died from “human involvement,” the MSPCA sent the cat for a necropsy in Boston which attributed the feline's death to coyotes. As for the other three cats, Mindlin said they had similar wounds but could have been killed by fishers or other predators. Either way, she said, residents should be careful about letting pets outside. “I know certain outdoor cats will go crazy if you keep them in, but you need to supervise them as best you can,” she said. The state website actually recommends that people spend more time in their backyards in order to deter coyotes because they “generally try to avoid people.” “This natural fear of people is reinforced when play areas, backyards and trails are kept open and actively used by people,” the website said. Healthy coyotes do not attack people and can be easily intimidated by squirting water at them, clanging pots and pans or throwing a rock in their direction, Mindlin said. If a coyote approaches people, walks in circles, or is stumbling, Mindlin said it could have rabies and people could be at risk. If that happens, residents need to go indoors and call 911. Mindlin said she does not want to “incite panic” and believes that most pets are safe from coyotes if their owners are vigilant. “We just want people to be aware to prevent another kitty from being lost,” she said.


Beavers, dams stir concern in Danvers neighborhood     (back to top)

By Jeff Pope/Wicked Local Danvers

Posted Aug. 9, 2013 @ 12:01 am, Updated Aug 9, 2013 at 9:13 AM


Danvers, MA - Several residents complained to selectmen on Tuesday, Aug. 6, about beavers and the problems they are causing in their neighborhood of Brentwood Circle and Old Maple Street. Over the years, beavers have built dams on the stream that runs between that neighborhood and Endicott Park. The stream runs down under Maple Street and eventually to College Pond. “The wetland is behind our property,” wrote David Saunders of 12 Brentwood Circle. Saunders was unable to attend the meeting, and neighbor Mary Jalbert read his letter to the selectmen. “We have never seen flooding as bad as it has been this year in June and July. In the past we have had many temporary flooding events in the springtime — but they receded very soon after the rain fall subsided. This year they did not recede.” Jalbert explained to the selectmen that the health inspector had visited the area twice this summer and on the second visit ordered a licensed trapper to remove the main dam. While the water level dropped some after the dam was removed, the water has now become stagnant. Bob Ryan of Glendale Drive, a Precinct 7 Town Meeting member, said the stagnant water was creating new problems “Unless something is done to get this water moving, we are going to have more water back up to property,” said Ryan. “That’s going to seep into property. Mold will develop. And we will have a health issue in that regard as well. Not to mention damage to personal property.” He added that the stagnant water is also a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes. “What I would like to see is some plan put together to inspect if there are more dams further out,” said Ryan. “My understanding is that the beavers have been removed. Given that, any other dams out there serve absolutely no purpose. We need to get this water moving.” Brad Soles, who with his pregnant wife and small child recently moved into a house on Maple Street, said his house is about 50 yards from the dam. “When the dam was there, water was actually flowing,” said Soles. “Since they have removed the dam, I can agree the water doesn’t move.” He said algae was covering the wetlands now, and worse yet, a dead beaver was causing an awful stink. He said the trapper had told him dead beavers are not allowed to be removed but they can be buried, which was done. “They buried it and supposedly turtles brought it back up,” said Soles. “And it’s rotting and we can’t open up our windows.” Jalbert raised another concern. A “floating” sewer was installed in that neighborhood and she wondered if the rising water levels would affect its performance.


Beavers damming in Hopkinton    (back to top)

  • Karen Podorefsky / Wicked Local Hopkinton correspondent

    Posted Jun. 28, 2013 @ 12:01 am, Updated Jun 28, 2013 at 3:58 AM


    Hopkinton, MA - In this beautiful weather, beaver damming can cause some not-so-beautiful problems if proper precautions are not taken. Beavers are out there this year, said Don McAdam, Conservation Administrator. The Conservation Commission's job is to protect public and private ground water supply, fisheries, and wild life habitats - even from something as seemingly natural as local beaver populations. Beavers dam culverts (pipes that go under roadways) and can cause flooding if the dam should break or block pipes, said Public Works Director John Westerling. The animals can pollute water, as well, he added. We ideally trap all of the beavers causing damming, but that is not always possible because there are families of older and younger beavers," said Westerling. "If they are all not actively damming, it is difficult to trap them. The problem perpetuates year after year because younger beavers grow up and start their own families and create new dams. During Massachusetts' open beaver season, it is okay to trap beavers, but that season ends each year in April, so officials from the Department of Public Works must approach the Board of Health for a permit to trap beavers and prevent water pollution or flooding. The application for this year has been filed, and a permit is pending. The permit will allow Department of Public Works staff to trap beavers on well land on Fruit Street. Beaver damming does not currently cause water quality issues in that area, but Westerling is looking to prevent a future problem - once beavers dam water and repopulate, they can pollute the water. They like to pond up water; we don't like that, said Westerling.


    More than 50 coyote sightings reported in Newton - Last week, a coyote bit Newton resident Karen Day’s Labrador retriever, Dakota.     (back to top)

    By Jim Morrison/

    Posted Jun. 12, 2013 @ 12:01 am, Updated Jun 12, 2013 at 12:17 PM


    NEWTON, MA -  Last week, a coyote bit Newton resident Karen Day’s Labrador retriever, Dakota.    Day lives close to the Brae Burn golf course in Waban, where she says coyote sightings are not uncommon.   “Last winter I let my dog out at 5:30 a.m. and heard a blood-curdling scream. I ran out to find Dakota chasing a coyote.”  Last week, Day let Dakota out at 7:30 a.m. and heard the same agonized doggy “scream.” She ran out onto the back deck and saw a bloodied Dakota facing off a coyote that was about the same size – 60 pounds.  “The coyote didn’t bolt off,” said Day. “It just sort of trotted away.”  Dakota suffered two puncture wounds from the bite and is expected to recover fully, but Day was rattled. If a coyote would attack her big dog, she wondered, what else would it attack?  Day is not alone. The TAB has received several letters from residents concerned about seeing coyotes and wondering what to do about them.  (for here full story go here)


  • Beaver Dam Breach Floods Route 67 In Warren    (back to top)

    May 25, 2013 4:00 PM

    CBS Boston, Flooding, Route 67, Sgt. Joseph LaFlower, Warren, WBZ


    WARREN, MA (CBS) A section of Route 67 in the central Massachusetts town of Warren was shut down Saturday afternoon because of flooding.  Water and other debris washed onto a quarter-mile stretch of the highway after a beaver dam breached.  In some spots, the water was three-to-four feet deep.  Warren Police Sgt. Joseph LaFlower said four residents had to be evacuated from a mobile home.  This is kind of unusual. The last time something like this happened was in 2005, when we were having some floods due to the rain and obviously this rain is probably why that (dam) let go up there, LaFlower told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.  Route 67 will be closed between Ware Road and Gilbert Road until the pavement is repaired.


    Beavers expanding range, making homes closer to people - With trapping ban, population grows     (back to top)

    By Beth Daley, Boston Globe Staff

    Published: December 26, 2012


    WEST ROXBURY, MA -  It appears to be the chiseled handiwork of an ace axman: Tree after tree along the water’s edge in Millennium Park felled by a clean v-cut.  But it is no rogue Christmas tree cutter. It’s beavers.  The furry rodents are making a comeback throughout the state, in large part because of a more-than-15-year ban on trapping them. Their distinctive log-and-branch architecture is dotting landscapes and damming up streams and culverts from woodsy bogs to big-box-store parking lots.  Though the beavers have done little real damage yet in Millennium Park, there are few places in the state where their impact is more stark. More than 80 trees have been chewed or felled along a popular walking path - and many more appear down in the adjacent wetlands and in the thick tangle of woods near the canoe launch on the Charles River.  “I’ve never seen such activity,’’ said Patty Courteau of West Roxbury as she walked her dog in the 100-acre park, a sprawling complex of athletic fields, wetlands, and a playground behind West Roxbury High School that was built atop an old landfill. Beavers were once intensely hunted in Massachusetts and disappeared from the state by the mid-1700s because of trapping and deforestation as land was cleared for farming. Trees grew back and by 1928, the first beavers in nearly 180 years were spotted in West Stockbridge in the Berkshires. By the 1930s, a restoration program began with three New York beavers introduced into Lenox, according to Laura Conlee, furbearer biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.  With few natural predators, the beaver population grew so quickly that state officials established a hunting season in the early 1950s. But public sentiment against certain types of traps for animals grew, and in 1996, a state ballot referendum banned most types of traps.  In the late fall, beavers are busy taking down a lot of trees for winter food: branches and twigs to store for the winter.  “Following that ban, the beaver population expanded drastically,’’ said Conlee. By 2000, there were about 70,000 beavers in the state, drawing enough complaints from the public that state officials allowed communities to grant emergency permits to kill a limited number of the animals if they were causing severe flooding or public safety problems. There is also a limited trapping season when beavers can be caught using more humane traps.  State officials used to estimate the number of beavers based on how many were trapped, but they no longer have a good estimate since communities began issuing the emergency permits. All they know, Conlee said, is that the beavers are expanding to the east and south.  “When they get to Millennium Park, they are pretty east, obviously,” Conlee said. Beavers have also shown up in Plymouth and Duxbury in the last five years, and are beginning to get into cranberry bogs, where they could interfere with water-flow devices, she said.  Conlee said there have not been many complaints yet, but there are likely to be more if the animals continue moving to new areas.  Beavers tend to spread out over generations as the young look for a place of their own. With so many animals already populating prime areas, many beavers are forced to live in places they would not have considered previously. Often, that means living closer to humans and causing damage, such as damming up a culvert by a parking lot or a septic system — or even building their homes in a popular park.  “We get a lot of calls,’’ said Conlee. “A lot of people look at beavers as huge pests . . . We get a lot of people concerned that the trees are going down.”  But Conlee said beaver-created wetlands are incredibly productive areas for other wildlife, from birds that use the dead trees to young fish. “They really are valuable,’’ she said.  In the late fall, beavers are busy taking down a lot of trees for winter food: branches and twigs to store in their lodge for the winter. They favor poplar and aspen trees and can take off the entire top of a tree to store in their lodge.  At Millennium Park, the beavers’ handiwork is everywhere, but they are not causing harm, said Jacquelyn Goddard, a Boston parks department spokeswoman. “They don’t flood pathways,’’ she said.  For walkers, many with dogs, the felled and gnawed trees are an interesting footnote on a nature walk. The beavers began showing up en masse about two or three years ago, walkers said, and although they can be difficult to see, at around 5 p.m. they can be heard gnawing and splashing. Occasionally, a tree is heard falling down.  “I’ve still never seen a beaver,’’ said Tom Daly of West Roxbury, walking with his wife. “But I see their work everywhere.”  Beth Daley can be reached at Follow her @Globebethdale



    Beavers: A delicate balance along Ipswich River    (back to top)
    These two beavers take a rest on the banks of the Ipswich River, near the Choate Bridge.
    By Jennie Oemig Ipswich Wicked Local GateHouse News Service
    Posted Jun 18, 2012 @ 08:55 PM

    IPSWICH MA - Beavers and humans, the two most common creatures known for transforming the natural environment, have co-existed for thousands of years.
    Sometimes the modern world of man clashes with the wild world of beavers. Their dams can flood out roads, septic systems, basements and wells. A beaver dam recently put parts of a Saugus golf course underwater.  At the same time, Beavers create valuable habitat for birds, fish and invertebrates. Residents and local and state health and environmental officials work to maintain that balance between creation and destruction, controlling the beaver population and trying to push beavers out of areas where their dams cause health and safety problems.  The animals two main predators, timber wolves and people, have historically controlled Massachusetts beaver population.  However, the decline of the wolf population and the enactment of Question One, which regulates trapping procedures, have allowed the beaver population to expand, although no official beaver count exists.  Five years ago, the towns of Ipswich, Hamilton and Wenham put together trapping programs to deal with flooding caused by beaver dams.  The Hamilton Board of Health made the decision to issue about 40 permits to trap beavers along the Miles River, while, the Wenham Board of Health set aside $3,000 in its animal control budget to cover the costs of trapping beavers as well.  Jim MacDougall, naturalist for the Ipswich River Watershed Association and Topsfield resident, said beavers, along with all wildlife, are necessary, regardless of how big of a menace they can be.  Every element of an ecosystem is essential, MacDougall said. Some species are more influential on the existence of others and beavers fall into that category. When I have to deal with their activity affecting roads and wells, they are a nuisance, but a necessary nuisance if I want quality in my life.  Their necessity comes in many shapes and forms, as beavers not only make habitats for themselves, but also for other species.  By damming streams and forming shallow ponds, beavers create wetlands, which are highly productive systems that support a diversity of plants and invertebrates.  Salamanders, frogs, turtles, water snakes, herons, ducks, rails, swallows, hawks, owls, flycatchers and kingfishers rely heavily on beaver-created habitats.  People benefit from beaver activity, too. The wetlands they create control downstream flooding by storing and slowly releasing floodwater.  Wetlands also improve water quality by removing or transforming excess nutrients, trapping silt, binding and removing toxic chemicals and filtering out sediment.  Read more: Beavers: A delicate balance along Ipswich River - Ipswich, MA - Ipswich Chronicle



    7 coyote attacks on dogs create uneasy stir    (back to top)

    By David Rattigan - Globe Correspondent

    Published  June 3, 2012


    Lynn, MA - A rash of recent coyote attacks has created a stir among dog walkers at the Lynn Woods Reservation.  “Since the notices went up, I’ve been a little bit nervous about coming here,’’ admitted Stacy Grillo, 35, of Saugus, who was getting ready to walk Buddy, her bichon frise, last Saturday morning.  “We kept her on a leash and didn’t go too far in,” said Susana Sinclair, 38, of Salem, walking a mixed breed named Palomita.  The advice to keep pets on a leash is the message being sent in large black letters on the notice posted at reservation entrances, after seven reports of coyotes attacking dogs inside or near the area in May.  Ranger Dan Small has been at the reservation for 13 years, employed by the Lynn Water Sewer Commission. He knows of five coyotes that divide the 3½ square miles of the reservation, a pair that lives to the north, a pair that lives to the south, and one that makes its den in the reservation near Parkland Avenue and spends some time in nearby neighborhoods. Small is not sure if that one has a mate. There have been attacks on animals in the past, but never this many in such a short period of time.  Coyotes are territorial animals, and Small noted that the five attacks on reservation grounds took place at different times of the day, within 100 yards of one another, near a landmark called Fox Rock, where surrounding habitat makes it a likely spot for a coyote den. He theorized that they may have been defending pups, in a year when the food supply is lower than usual.  “They might be under extra stress because there’s not a lot of food,’’ he said. “They live a lean existence anyhow, and this year there are not a lot of rodents” and other small mammals. Populations in nature are often cyclical, and the past two years have been thin for acorns. “When you knock something out on the bottom of the food chain, it trickles up the ladder,’’ Small said.  Another attack he heard about was in the Thistle Street neighborhood on the edge of the reservation, Small said, and the seventh was at the Gannon golf course, which abuts the reservation.  Dog walkers have continued to use the reservation, and not all of them are nervous. Marblehead’s Alison Howe, 38, walked Jada, her half-rottweiler, half-black lab, and at one point let the dog off the leash.  “She stays pretty much by my side and doesn't get too far away,’’ said Howe, who said she wouldn’t let the news deter her from spending time in the woods. “We all have to get along,’’ she said. “It’s their area, too. Maybe we have to be a little more vigilant. I’ve been camping and hiking all my life. The last time we went I heard coyotes; it's just part of nature.’’  In the case of two large dogs that required medical treatment, the coyote or coyotes “got a hold of their bellies and grabbed the skin and tore the stomach open,’’ Small said. “If the dogs had been a little farther away or if it had been a smaller dog, it would probably not have gone so well.’’  Small was responsible for posting the notices at reservation entrances. They read: Keep your dogs leashed at all times while in the Lynn Woods Reservation. Unleashed pets are in danger of injury or death as a result of contact with coyote and other wildlife.’’  Authorities also recommend that humans reinforce any natural fear of humans that coyotes may have by making noise and shouting.  “You can yell, or bang a stick against a tree’’ to make noise, Small said. “Act like a caveman and they’ll leave.’’  This is not the only time coyotes have been in the news this year.  In January, Methuen police shot and killed a coyote that had killed a pet chihuahua a few days earlier. In February, Wellesley police issued a coyote alert after the animals attacked two dogs, killing one of them.  Tom O’Shea, assistant director of wildlife for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said that aggression toward a dog is typical coyote behavior.  “If a coyote demonstrates indifference or boldness [to people], that one you want to notify officials about right away,’’ O’Shea said. “Even worse is if it follows you or approaches a dog on a leash — approaching and showing outright aggression. We have had them, and those coyotes have been removed.’’  O’Shea preceded Small as ranger in the Lynn Woods in the 1990s, when the coyotes first appeared and were a novelty.  Since first appearing in the state in the 1950s, the population has grown. Officials now estimate there are 10,000 coyotes in Massachusetts.  “They’re in every city and town in the state, and the vast majority fear people and are elusive and stay away,’’ he said. “We want people to recognize the behavior of the coyote that could become a public safety threat.’’ While the word had definitely gotten out to many of the dog walkers — who had their dogs on leashes and were avoiding Fox Rock — it did not reach all of them.  On Saturday, Lynn’s Sylvia Ortiz, 24, was getting ready to walk Spikey, her mini poodle-bichon frise cross-breed.  “I haven’t heard anything,’’ she said. “Thanks for letting me know. He doesn’t like to be on the leash, but now that you’ve told me, I'm definitely going to keep him on the leash."


    Coyote attacks, once rare, happening all over Massachusetts    (back to top)

    Sean Kelly reporting - WCVB 5 News

    Published UPDATED 8:13 AM EDT May 17, 2012


    BOSTON, MA - High school sophomore Jed Aubertin took his dog for a walk down a dirt trail in late February, and a coyote attacked him. "I didn't have time to square off with it," Aubertin said. "I went for my knife, but it was already in the air at my neck." Coyote attacks on humans are considered rare, but they can be vicious when they happen, like the bite on a 2-year-old girl's head in Weymouth or on 9-year-old Alex Cazmay in Haverhill. "I thought it was a dog," Cazmay said. "That's why I put my hand out. Then, it bit me." Often it's the smaller animals, like rabbits, running into trouble when it's a one-on-one fight. In farmer Tyler Kimball's case, a pack of coyotes made a meal out of his $1,200 buffalo. "And when I see a coyote, I am going to shoot him," Kimball said. Each of these stories happened in the last year in Massachusetts or New Hampshire. Then, there was the wild run at the Ted Williams Tunnel. A coyote on the loose scampered through the Big Dig. If it seems like they're showing up everywhere these days, it's because they are. "Even if you haven't seen coyotes in your area, it's best to assume that they could be in your yard," said Laura Conlee of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Wildlife biologists estimate the summer population in Massachusetts will hold steady at about 10,000, including their pups. Conlee says more coyotes show up in Eastern Mass because there's so much to eat in the suburbs. Things like rabbits and unsecured garbage are popular with the animal. They are opportunistic and omnivorous so they will eat whatever is easiest and most abundant," Conlee said. Coyotes are very territorial, especially in late winter months. Dogs, and in rare cases small children, can be confused as competition or prey. "If people see coyotes, it's important not to harass them. Never ever feed them," said Conlee. Biologists suggest making a lot of noise to scare them. Or, if it's too late, as it was for Aubertin, fight back. "He kept jumping at my throat, so I kept hitting him right in the teeth," Aubertin said. Wildlife officials said the best thing you can do to protect your pets, especially smaller ones, is to keep them leashed and supervised.



    Beaver dam causes headaches for Saugus golf course    (back to top)

    By Martine Powers Globe Staff 

    Posted: May 12, 2012


    SAUGUS, MA - With sunny skies and balmy temperatures, Friday would have been a perfect day for nine holes at Cedar Glen Golf Course.  But a freshly constructed dam - a 25-foot-wide mound of stripped branches and bark - had turned swaths of pristine greenway into swampland.  The course was so waterlogged Thursday by beavers’ handiwork that Burton Page, who runs the business, was forced to close down for the day, estimating $10,000 in lost revenue.  “If we get an inch of rain,’’ Page said, “we’ll be out of business.’’  Laws to protect the animals have prevented the golf course’s managers from taking any action against their new tenants, who are blocking a section of the Saugus River, which runs through the grounds. Page is hoping for a compromise - keep the dam intact and divert the river to drain the course of standing water - but the Saugus Board of Health denied a request for an emergency permit to alter the water flow around the dam.  “We’re not looking to take their homes away,’’ Page said. “We just want to get the water moving around them. We think we can find a way to do that, if we could have the chance.’’  In the short term, maintenance staff have put out wooden pallets to help golfers traipse from one hole to the next. But it’s a less-than-perfect fix. On Thursday, the water level was so high that the pallets floated away.    ‘We’re not looking to take their homes away. We just want to get the water moving around them.’    According to state law, residents with beaver problems can take complaints to their local board of health to apply for an emergency permit that would allow them to have the animals trapped or divert water around their dams.  But such permits are only granted if the board of health determines that the beavers’ presence has caused a threat to public health or safety.  The Saugus director of public health, Frank P. Giacalone, could not be reached for comment Friday, but Page said the Board of Health said the Cedar Glen Golf Course does not meet that criteria.  Zipping around the course in a golf cart Friday afternoon, course superintendent Matt Ellsworth pointed out waterlogged areas and a footbridge that once straddled the narrow river but now sits like an island in a pool of water and mud.  Ellsworth said he first noticed flooding in early April. It took a few days to realize that beavers were the culprits. “It gets discouraging when people come here to play and you have to turn them away,’’ Ellsworth said.  He said the city has been unresponsive to requests for information about how to get official approval to handle the problem.  “I want to do it by regulations,’’ Ellsworth said. “We’ll do all the work. We just want to get the OK to do it, because it’s encroaching into our business area and it’s only going to get worse.’’  Ellsworth said he is also concerned that the standing water will cause an influx of mosquitoes that could carry disease and become a public health hazard, in addition to making the golfing experience unpleasant for his customers.  “I know [beavers] help the ecosystem and stuff,’’ Ellsworth said. “But when they start affecting homes and businesses, that’s another problem.’’  Despite the presence of the river, the course has never before experienced problems with beavers, he said.  Beavers have only recently become a more common sight in Massachusetts.  Scott Jackson, who teaches in the department of environmental conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and specializes in beavers, said the animals were almost entirely wiped out of Massachusetts centuries ago because of excessive trapping and deforestation.  Slowly, colonies have moved back east from New York, but they only reached Eastern Massachusetts in the past 15 to 20 years, Jackson said.  “I grew up in Massachusetts, and we never talked about beavers or saw them,’’ Jackson said. “All this has happened fairly quickly.’’  Jackson explained that if a property owner with a beaver problem does not qualify for an emergency permit from a board of health, he or she can request a permit from the Conservation Commission, but that process requires a public hearing and could take weeks.  Even then, there are concerns about reestablishing water flow too quickly; another property downstream can experience inadvertent flooding.  In the meantime, the beavers have proven fodder for clubhouse wisecracks.  Want to go for a round of 18? one golfer asked at the front counter. Better be prepared to take a swim.  Bruce McLeod, 77, of Peabody chuckled when asked what he thought about the beaver situation. “If we get a little bit of rain, we won’t be able to play at all,’’ McLeod said, “unless you get us some boats.’’  Martine Powers can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @martinepowers.



    Littleton dog survives coyote attack, dog officer offers safety tips    (back to top)

    By Meredith Church

    Posted May. 2, 2012 @ 12:01 am, Updated May 2, 2012 at 2:00 AM


    Littleton, MA - To some, a coyote snatching the beloved family pet would seem like a living nightmare, however for Littleton resident Ghislaine Bourdon, it was a reality. On a night in early February, Bourdon, dressed in only a nightgown and slippers, was bringing in the laundry with her dogs Mia, 4, and Carter, 2, both Shetland Sheepdogs, commonly known as shelties. Mia was 12 feet away from her owner, according to Bourdon, when the prowling predator snatched the helpless dog from Bourdon’s Pine Road yard. “I could hear leaves rustling; it was the sound of the coyote dragging Mia,” said Bourdon. The moon, casting a metallic glow over the swampy woods, was Bourdon’s only source of light as she pursued the coyote and its victim through the prickly bushes. “I didn’t have a flashlight. I was chasing after Mia and the coyote, and Carter was barking and barking frantically. I told him to stop barking so I could hear the coyote,” she said. Bourdon, accompanied by Carter, approached the coyote’s den, which was located underneath an oak tree. Bourdon then called 911 and shortly after, police cruisers showed up accompanied by Phyllis Tower, Boxborough’s animal control officer who works with Littleton as well. The officers, Tower, and Bourdon split off into groups to search for Mia. Minutes later, the terrified owner found her dog in the bushes, apparently abandoned by the coyote. “She was a mangled, bloody mess,” said Bourdon. “I picked her up and drove her over to the Animal Emergency Care in Acton.” The vets didn’t know if Mia would live or not. Mia’s windpipe had a hole in it, impairing her ability to breathe properly. She spent four days at the Animal Emergency Care before she was finally allowed to go home. “She had to be fed special canned food from the vet through a syringe,” said Bourdon. “She was also on several pain medications and antibiotics.” Since that chilling night in February, Bourdon has put up a fence around her yard, and Mia has recovered from her treacherous battle that nearly rendered her a lifeless heap in the woods. But that doesn’t mean the risk has been completely diminished; the coyotes have made their presence known. “I have heard the yipping of the coyote pups,” said Bourdon. There are things that Littleton residents can do to lessen the risk of coyote attacks, according to Tower. “Birdseed will attract coyotes, as well as grass clippings and compost piles,” said Tower. “You should really keep pets close by. Coyotes will come out during the day if they are hungry enough.” It is crucial to report all coyote sightings or any other strange animal sightings, she said. Do not approach the animal and contact Littleton Animal Control at 978-952-2300.



    Littleton dog Injured dog in Littleton     (back to top)
    By Meredith Church
    Wicked Local Littleton  Posted May 01, 2012

    Littleton, MA - To some, a coyote snatching the beloved family pet would seem like a living nightmare, however for Littleton resident Ghislaine Bourdon, it was a reality. On a night in early February, Bourdon, dressed in only a nightgown and slippers, was bringing in the laundry with her dogs Mia, 4, and Carter, 2, both Shetland Sheepdogs, commonly known as shelties. Mia was 12 feet away from her owner, according to Bourdon, when the prowling predator snatched the helpless dog from Bourdons Pine Road yard.  I could hear leaves rustling; it was the sound of the coyote dragging Mia, said Bourdon.  The moon, casting a metallic glow over the swampy woods, was Bourdons only source of light as she pursued the coyote and its victim through the prickly bushes.  I didnt have a flashlight. I was chasing after Mia and the coyote, and Carter was barking and barking frantically. I told him to stop barking so I could hear the coyote, she said.  Bourdon, accompanied by Carter, approached the coyotes den, which was located underneath an oak tree. Bourdon then called 911 and shortly after, police cruisers showed up accompanied by Phyllis Tower, Boxboroughs animal control officer who works with Littleton as well.  The officers, Tower, and Bourdon split off into groups to search for Mia. Minutes later, the terrified owner found her dog in the bushes, apparently abandoned by the coyote.  She was a mangled, bloody mess, said Bourdon. I picked her up and drove her over to the Animal Emergency Care in Acton.  The vets didnt know if Mia would live or not. Mias windpipe had a hole in it, impairing her ability to breathe properly. She spent four days at the Animal Emergency Care before she was finally allowed to go home.  She had to be fed special canned food from the vet through a syringe, said Bourdon. She was also on several pain medications and antibiotics.  Since that chilling night in February, Bourdon has put up a fence around her yard, and Mia has recovered from her treacherous battle that nearly rendered her a lifeless heap in the woods.  But that doesnt mean the risk has been completely diminished; the coyotes have made their presence known.  I have heard the yipping of the coyote pups, said Bourdon.  There are things that Littleton residents can do to lessen the risk of coyote attacks, according to Tower.  Birdseed will attract coyotes, as well as grass clippings and compost piles, said Tower. You should really keep pets close by. Coyotes will come out during the day if they are hungry enough.  It is crucial to report all coyote sightings or any other strange animal sightings, she said. Do not approach the animal and contact Littleton Animal Control at 978-952-2300.  Read more: Littleton dog survives coyote attack, dog officer offers safety tips - Littleton, MA - Littleton Independent


    Coyote Attack in Williamstown    (back to top)
    Williamstown, MA April 23, 2012

    Susanbushreports - Freelance journalist Susan Bush spent two years as a reporter for the North Adams Transcript newspaper. Ms. Bush spent four years as a Berkshire Eagle writer and two years as editor/writer for Ms. Bush is a contributing writer for and owns a photography studio in southern Vermont.

    Williamstown, MA - "Oreo" was killed earlier this month after being attacked by a coyote in Williamstown, Mass.- A savage, predatory attack brought heartache and grief to a town family earlier this month and prompted a warning about coyotes.  Bernadette Archibald said that a coyote attacked and killed the familys beloved Jack Russell terrier, Oreo, after the 12-pound pet was let outside as part of a normal nightly routine.  We put her out like we always did but she didnt bark to come back in, Archibald said. We went outside to look my son Patrick, who's 15, found him. I was right behind him.  Archibald said that a coyote was seen lurking around the property during the previous evening. What Archibald did not know before the attack was that coyotes stalk and seek opportunities to strike, and she was also unaware that at this point in the year, coyotes may not be hunted.  I called the police and they said there wasn't anything they could do, she said. They told me to call [animal control officer] Jackie Lemieux and she said there wasn't much she could do either.  Oreo was about 14 years old, relied on insulin injections and had slowed down over the years, Archibald said. Family members were immersed in grief following the pets death and left the home for a few days. But when they returned to their North Hoosac Road home, they witnessed something that turned grief to anger.  There was a coyote in the yard that next Tuesday night, laying there where Oreo was found, Archibald said. We shooed it away but about an hour later, it was back, right in the same spot. It was awful, it was like it was rubbing our faces in it.  Coyote Wars author and expert hunter David Willette of North Adams said that wildlife experts believe that about 10,000 coyotes are roaming Massachusetts. Willette added that he believes the estimate is low. The state has a coyote hunting season and deer hunters should be taking advantage of the October to March opportunity because coyote deer kills are common and can result in thin deer populations, he said.  Predator hunting is the largest growing hunter sport in the country but not enough people are doing it, Willette said during an April 21 interview. Wed like to see the deer hunters out there in January, February, hunting coyotes.  Coyotes prey on cats and dogs as well as sheep and other animals. Attacks on humans are rare but do occur; according to news reports, in February, a Hopkinton, N.H. teen-aged boy was walking his dog when he was attacked by a coyote. The boy survived the attack and was treated for rabies as a precaution.  Just a couple of weeks ago there was report of a coyote getting into a yard and pestering the kids, Willette said. In August 2011, a Weymouth, MA toddler was bitten by a coyote as she strolled with her grandmother. Earlier this month, in the town of Aurora, IL, a 26-pound, 12-year old American Eskimo dog named Diamond was dragged off by a coyote. The dogs owner was able to rescue the dog and the dog survived.  Willette recalled a recent Massachusetts incident that left a dog dead after a coyote snatched the animal from its leash as it was being walked.  The eastern part of the state has a big coyote population, Willette said. I called down there and asked how they know when an area is getting hit with coyotes, what to look for. And the person said look for a lot of missing cats signs.  Humans leaving food around their homes, or in some cases intentionally feeding the predators can cause coyotes to feel less frightened of people and that poses risks. When wildlife populations such as rabbits are diminished, predatory animals turn to other sources of nourishment. Cats, dogs, and other small animals are the next prey, according to numerous sources.  The Eastern Cottontail [rabbit] is almost non-existent now, Willette said. Hawks and owls now compete with coyotes for rabbits and squirrels. When the wild prey is diminished, coyote will go after domestic   pets.  Willette offered suggestions focused on protecting pets and possibly young children from the predators. There should be no such thing as an outdoor cat, he said.  Keep cats inside. Install a motion detector with a good light and when you let your dog out, make a lot of noise, a real racket. I've told people that if they are walking a small dog, they should carry a baseball bat.  Coyotes are here to stay, Willette said. They are like cockroaches and tics. You have to hunt them. Were hoping that the season can be expanded. Massachusetts and Connecticut have significant limits and restrictions, other states like Maine and Vermont, its open all year.
    Coyotes are very patient when seeking prey, he added. They will case the joint, and size things up, he said. They'll sit there all day if they are on to something, they know that opportunity [to attack] is coming.  Archibald created fliers warning about the coyote danger and is distributing them locally. Coyote sightings can be reported to police, she said. She said that the family plans to cremate Oreos remains.  Oreo was part of the family, Archibald said. Finding her, it wasn't a pretty sight, but we have her and we have closure. Still, there is so much pain, so much anger.


    Coyote Captured In Downtown Boston     (back to top)

    CBS Boston

    March 23, 2012 4:44 PM


    BOSTON, MA (CBS) – A coyote turned heads as it ran through downtown Boston Friday afternoon. According to the Animal Rescue League, the coyote eventually was safely corralled in the Chinatown area. Several people reported seeing the animal running on Lincoln and Summer Streets. It was not immediately clear how the coyote managed to make its way into that busy area if the city.


    Residents turn to towns for help battling coyotes    (back to top)

    By Peter Schworm - Boston Globe Staff

    Posted February 8, 2012


    Brookline, MA - For 40 years, Ann Tolkoff never imagined seeing a coyote in her hilltop neighborhood near Coolidge Corner, a densely settled area where the Prudential Center is in clear view. But over the past year, the rangy scavenger has become a regular, unsettling presence, foraging through garbage, attacking small pets, even lurking menacingly along residential streets. “If I let my dog run in my backyard, it could be capital punishment,’’ said Tolkoff, a retired schoolteacher. As the ranks of coyotes have expanded in the Boston suburbs, where backyards provide an abundant food supply, concern over the influx has risen in kind. In Brookline, Newton, and Belmont, where coyote sightings have become more frequent, residents are urging town officials to take steps to control the population, and increasingly taking precautions with their pets and even young children. Last month in Haverhill, a coyote bit a 9-year-old girl, only the fifth documented case of a coyote attack on a human in Massachusetts since the 1950s. Last week in Wellesley, coyotes attacked an ailing deer and two dogs in separate events, killing one just outside its owner’s house. Specialists say that coyotes pose virtually no threat to humans, but that pet owners should not let small dogs and cats run free. “It’s normal coyote behavior to grab small animals if left unattended,’’ said Linda Huebner, deputy director of advocacy for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “People need to keep their animals safe and supervised.’’ Wildlife officials estimate that there are up to 10,000 coyotes in Massachusetts and they are widely scattered throughout the Boston area. Although typically associated with the wild, coyotes are highly adaptable and are drawn to safe, dependable food sources such as bird feeders, pet bowls, and unsealed trash cans. “We’ve turned our yards into drive-throughs,’’ said Michelle Hamel, senior animal control officer in Haverhill, a city on the New Hampshire border. Hamel sees coyotes daily, and said residents who are uneasy at their proximity often have only themselves to blame. Coyotes are instinctively afraid of humans, wildlife specialists say, but over time become more comfortable unless given reason to feel otherwise. “Most of the time coyotes are not getting the message that people can be a threat,’’ said Marion Larson, outreach coordinator for the state division of fisheries and wildlife. Specialists say coyotes are easily scared off by loud noises, having objects thrown at them, or being sprayed with a hose. But many, especially those caught off guard by an encounter or afraid the coyote might respond with aggression, simply let the animal be. Eventually, coyotes realize they have little to fear and before long are strolling through backyards like they own them. Over time, that boldness can lead to increased aggressiveness, specialists say. On rare occasions, such coyotes will approach pets on a leash and approach or follow people. In those cases, residents should report the incident to animal control, Larson said. Concern about coyotes has spurred calls to remove or destroy the animals, but officials say such steps would be counterproductive, and say peaceful co-existence is the only solution. “We can’t possibly solve problems with coyotes by killing them,’’ Huebner said. “They’ll simply expand their range and breed more.’’ By law, wildlife officials can only destroy an animal if it is determined to be a public safety threat. Attacking an unattended pet does not qualify, Huebner said. Coyotes can be hunted and trapped in boxes, but leg traps for recreational use are banned. Residents like Tolkoff say aggressive action is needed to ward off a growing incursion. “We’ve lost four cats on my street,’’ she said. “And neighbors have complained coyotes have followed them. It’s changed our quality of life.’’ In Wellesley, dog owners said coyotes are regular visitors to Centennial Reservation, a popular walking area, but tend to keep to themselves. Maggie Wilson said her dog Cooper, who weighs in at over 100 pounds, has been known to chase them. “Keep Centennial safe, Cooper!’’ Wilson said as the unleashed dog bounded off across the open field. Peter Schworm can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globepete.


    Wellesley Residents On Alert After Coyote Attacks    (back to top)

    Christina Hager reporting, WBZ-TV CBS Boston

    February 7, 2012 11:42 PM


    WELLESLEY, MA (CBS) – Keep a close eye on those small dogs. That’s what Wellesley’s Animal Control officer is telling residents to do after a rash of coyote encounters. “We’re really afraid of coyotes,” says 10-year-old Vicky Driscoll, who lives near Cliff Road, where a small dog is recovering from a coyote attack last week. At around the same time, coyotes also preyed on a sick deer. The most serious incident was on Bristol Road, where a dog was killed by coyotes Saturday. Several doors down, the Fitzgeralds had a close encounter with their pug, Amos. “Right there in the middle of the back yard was a very large coyote just standing there looking at me,” says Tom Fitzgerald. “I yelled at it. It looked at me, and then trotted off. He would make a delicious meal, and we certainly don’t want that to happen.” According to Wellesley Animal Control, coyotes are more active this time of year especially at dawn and dusk, because it’s mating season. Officials are telling people not to leave pet food or bird seed outside.


    Coyotes in Wellesley kill small dog, deer, injure another small dog     (back to top)

    By Staff reports - Wicked - Wellesley

     Posted Feb. 6, 2012 @ 12:01 am, Updated Feb 6, 2012 at 6:03 AM


    Wellesley, MA - Wellesley Animal Control Officer Sue Webb reports that a small dog was attacked early Friday morning off Cliff Road. When the owner, who was watching out a window, ran outside, the coyote dropped the dog, which was taken to a vet and is recovering. On the same day, just off Great Plain Avenue, a coyote killed an injured deer. Webb said she helped a homeowner pull the dead deer deeper into the woods so it could feed on that instead of a pet. On Saturday, a small dog was attacked on Bristol Road. The homeowner told the Townsman that she went outside abut 7:05 a.m., and within minutes, two very healthy-looking coyotes had attacked her pet within 10 feet of the house. The dog died in its owners' arms. "Coyotes are around all year and are not nocturnal," Webb said, "but are most active at dawn and dusk. If people see them, they should yell at them while running toward them waving arms, or throwing something like ice cubes to get into their flight zone so they take off. "Ignoring them or running inside gives them the message that they can hang out there. They do roam easily, five square miles or more a night, so it just happens that one was going by at the time people let their dog out., Especially dogs under 20 pounds should be outside with the owner close by them. Just the presence of the person walking a leashed dog will be enough to keep the coyote away." Webb said it is mating season for coyotes and skunks right now. "They can get around well this year, not like last year, when all the snow hampered their movements." Webb said she has been getting calls about rodents and squirrels in eaves and attics. "The acorn mast was sparse this year so any place they find food (such as under bird feeeders) is a good place to set up housekeeping." Foxes and coyotes will be attracted by the rodents, since that's their main source of food.



    Coyote attacks nine-year-old Mass. girl    (back to top)
    Jan 18, 2012 10:00pm

    NECN News Story - Lauren Collins reporter

    Haverhill, Ma  - There's a large hole in the rear of Alex Cazmay's leggings, torn out by a coyote Monday morning. The nine-year-old was defenseless as the animal snuck up from behind.  I was riding my scooter over there and I turned around and the coyote was right next to Alex, said her best friend Kelly Igoe who was in her driveway.  It bit me in the butt, then it bit me in the arm and then it bit me (on the hand) and then I had the sense to run inside, Alex recalled with a half-laugh.  She thought at first it was a dog, but soon realized it was a coyote. Her friends mother, Kathleen Igoe, couldn't believe it. She was crying and upset and it could have been a lot worse, she said. We're thankful that it wasn't.  Bruised and swollen, Alex was taken to a local hospital for a tetanus shot and the first of four rounds of rabies vaccine. She said the shots hurt more than the bites.  She was a little timid when she first came home from the hospital around even her down dog, but even that's better, said mom Brianne Cazmay whose nerves have finally settled.  It's unclear what provoked the coyote, similar to the one seen here, to attack though it's rare for the animals to go after humans. Nobody recalls spotting one in the neighborhood in recent memory, though police say sightings in the area are on the rise.  For Mrs. Cazmay, who grew up in the city, the encounter is an important reminder to be aware of what's in the wild. Even if it's a stray dog, to not go up to it and remind (your kids) to just try to get away from them as quick as possible because you're not going to win against a wild animal.


    Beavers removed near Hopkinton development -  A trapper hired to stem flooding at Legacy Farms caught 42 beavers last month, he said Tuesday.       (back to top)

    Laura Krantz - Metrowest Daily News

    Published January 8, 2014,


    HOPKINTON, MA – A trapper hired to stem flooding at Legacy Farms caught 42 beavers last month, he said Tuesday.   Malcolm Speicher, who this winter also trapped for homeowners off North and South Mill streets, said he spent 15 days on the south side of 730-acre East Main Street housing development.  Beavers can endanger homes, buildings and septic systems if their dams cause flooding.    "We just kept going and going and going, and we just kept finding and finding and finding," Speicher said.  They trapped in about 200 acres near Clinton and Front streets, he said, where homes haven't yet been built.  "Hopefully it's been diminished," said Legacy Farms developer Roy MacDowell.   The flooding had not harmed Legacy's homes, condos or apartments, he said, but was mainly in areas in which he plans to develop in the future.      More importantly, the flooding was endangering bordering homes.   Speicher said he found one big pond and several smaller dams, houses and beaver runs all across the land. He said a few devices, which help water flow through dams, should prohibit any new beavers who move in from causing flooding.   "Once they get things done down there and establish the way they want it then the beavers can stay," he said.   Developers plan to build Legacy Farms in five phases. Pulte Homes, which is building the houses and condos, last fall bought a second parcel from MacDowell.    Speicher, who trapped 16 beavers for the North and South Mill streets neighbors, said he believes there are more beavers on the north side of Rte. 135, property MacDowell also owns.   The trapper, who applies through the town for permission to use lethal traps that are otherwise prohibited, said he is talking with the local Department of Public Works about also trapping near Front Street, which floods from nearby beaver dams.   On that street, however, the dam is on private property, so Speicher said he would have to ask permission from the homeowner. The town would pay, he said, because it is flooding a public road.    "If  the property owner won't allow anything then I don't know what they're going to do," he said.        Speicher said the last trapper hired by the DWP to trap along Front Street accidentally trapped in the wrong spot.  Contact Laura Krantz at 508-626-4429 Follow her on Twitter @laurakrantz.



    East Falmouth Dog Killed By Coyotes    (back to top) By: Michael C. Bailey
    Published: 10/28/11

    A Cavalier King Charles spaniel is dead following a coyote attack yesterday morning in its own back yard.  The 12-year-old dog named Hunter, owned by Michael P. Fleming of Madeline Road, East Falmouth, was attacked by two coyotes yesterday around 8:30 AM, according to Thomas A. Garland, the Falmouth senior animal control officer.  He let the dog outside, then he went back into the house, Mr. Fleming said. He happened to hear a yap and he looked outside and saw [the coyotes] were both on top of his dog,  One of the coyotes grabbed the dog by the neck and attempted to drag it away, but Mr. Fleming scared the animal off.  Hunter was taken to Falmouth Animal Hospital for treatment of serious injuries to the throat area, but last night veterinarians euthanized the animal after they determined that the damage inflicted was too severe.  This is the first confirmed domestic animal fatality due to a coyote attack in recent memory, Mr. Garland said, but the Falmouth Natural Resources Department receives calls two or three times a day reporting a coyote sighting they are everywhere in Falmouth.  There are no current estimates of the Capes coyote population, but the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife in 2008 placed the statewide coyote population at approximately 10,000.  Mr. Garland said September and October are periods of increased activity for coyotes as pups born in March and April branch out and try to form their own territories. Young adults will sometimes form small packs in order to establish a territory in which they can mate the following spring.  Unfortunately, Mr. Garland said, residents unwittingly aid and abet coyotes by providing them with a food source in the form of their pets. They are [opportunistic] animals, he said of coyotes, which will scavenge food from unsecured trash cans and compost piles, hunt small rodents attracted to a back yard by a bird feeder, and attack cats and small dogs.  Put them outside and they're definitely in the food chain. Mr. Garland said the best way for residents to keep their pets safe is to avoid letting them outside unattended and, if they do spot a coyote, they need to be more proactive in asserting their authority over the coyote.  The mere presence of a human is often enough to scare away coyotes, but people can drive off coyotes by making loud noises, Mr. Garland said.



    Officials, residents to discuss Newton coyote problem after dog is killed       (back to top)
    By Ashley Studley, Wicked Local Newton
    Posted Oct 11, 2011 @ 04:20 PM

    Newton MA -  City and state officials will join residents for a special meeting on Oct. 12 to discuss coyotes after one attacked and killed a small dog last week.  Mayor Setti Warren said he's met with Police Chief Matthew Cummings and MassWildlife furbearer biologist Laura Hadjuk to organize the neighborhood meeting.  We take this very seriously and I take public safety very seriously, Warren told the TAB. We want to make sure people are able to protect themselves.   On Oct. 4, Deb Toyias let her Yorkshire Terrier, Cody, outside the front door of her Randlett Park home.  Toyias walked over to her kitchen when she heard a yelp come from the front step. Its that yelling you hear when you know something is awfully wrong, she said.  She ran to the front door, and there, standing three steps from the door, was a coyote.  She said the coyote was massive around 75 pounds, and had Cody in its mouth. She started to scream.  My husband was in the bathroom and he ran downstairs, opened the door and started running after the coyote which was running down the street, Toyias said.  She said the coyote dropped the dog about five houses down. It was too late to save him. I was a mess, she said.  Still, she said the coyote came back to her yard several times within the hour.  That's what has me so driven to do something about this incident. For four years, we've been watching these coyotes come into our space. I've spoken to Animal Control and City Hall, and they've given me all this business about protecting coyotes, she said, explaining the coyotes have gotten larger over the years. When I first started noticing them they were around 40 pounds and stayed to the perimeter of our property. Now they're 70, 75 or 65 pounds and he was on my front step coming right to us, she said.  Newton Police Capt. Howard Mintz, head of the Animal Control unit, said the department heard from another Newton resident this week who reported being followed by a coyote.  He said the incident was abnormal coyote behavior, and that the animals are protected wildlife.  Coyotes are protected animals and people have to be careful of their dogs and their cats. Unfortunately, an attack on a dog or a cat wouldn't be considered abnormal or reason for us to destroy the coyote, Mintz said.  Hajduk said coyotes live in suburban areas because of the access to food, whether it be trash, pet food or small animals.  The said they wont venture anywhere they feel is threatening, and said shell discuss ways to make coyotes uncomfortable.  A lot of people will see a coyote and they let it go and let it be. The best thing they can do is harass it bang pots and pans, make a lot of noise or squirt it with a garden hose, she said. Anything they feel is negative, they'll associate with the area and it re-instills that fear of people and teaches them they're not welcome in that area.  Still, its enough to raise an alarm for officials and residents.  Toyias just wants people to be aware and stay safe.  We need to be proactive and not wait until something devastating happens, she said.  The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Community Room at the Newton Police Department at 1321 Washington St. Citizen Assistance Officer Aaron Goldman said state and city officials will be present, and all are welcome to attend. He can be reached at agoldman@newtonMA -gov for more information.  Newton, Massachusetts - Newton TAB


    Coyotes a Concern for Corey Hill Residents    (back to top)

    By Grahame Turner (Patch Staff) - Brookline Patch

    Updated December 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm 


    Brookline, MA - Former schoolteacher Anne Tolkoff, representing an unofficial coalition of Corey Hill residents, brought their concerns about the coyotes to the Selectmen at last night's meeting. She said the group had recently met at her house, with over 30 neighbors in attendance, venting their worries about the fur-bearing canines.  "I never thought I’d come before the board to ask for protection for my children and grandchildren," Tolkoff began. She brought a cane and a party noisemaker to demonstrate how she feels she must walk her dog with coyotes nearby.  She noted that the town's animal control officer commented to her that the coyotes were "here first." She responded that she had lived in town for 40 years, and felt she was there first, especially as the coyote sightings in her area had only picked up in the last 18 months or so.  "Unless a coyote is aggressive to a human, we cannot step in and put the coyote down. There is laws that prevent that, is laws that prevent relocation. Those laws will have to be changed if we want to do something," explained Police Chief Daniel O'Leary. "Just being around not a 'destroyable' offense."  The Selectmen reiterated that, saying that the hands of police are tied because of the coyotes' protected status as a fur-bearing animal. Police are legally prevented from action, on penalty of a fine.  "I will say that we really can’t go against the law," O'Leary concluded.  O'Leary also added that police are tracking coyote sighting calls, and are seeing a shift in reports from the south part of Brookline toward the central and north part of town.   Chief of environmental health at the , Pat Maloney, commented "We have been working with police department. We meet monthly as part of animal control agenda, and [coyote control has] been a very frustrating issue to deal with."  He noted that he and Public Health Director Dr. Alan Balsam feel the law should be changed, but that they are "stymied as to what to do" until that happens. The department has "stepped up" enforcement of code violations in neighborhoods with coyote sightings, hoping to remove some food sources.   Statistically, coyote attacks are very rare. Since first being confirmed in Massachusetts in 1950, the Mass Audubon Society reports four attacks on people. The site goes on to note,  Dogs, on the other hand, have attacked and killed 43 humans in the United States between January, 2010 and September, 2011. Coyotes have a healthy fear of humans and just want to be left alone.  Tolkoff called on the Selectmen to develop some sort of action plan, saying "we really need some help here."  Suggestions for solutions included neighborhood information, proper lighting and contraceptives for the coyotes. She noted that Larz Anderson Park employs decoy coyotes.   Selectmen Chair Betsy DeWitt noted that it would require action at a state level. Newton has had problems in the past, she noted adding, " It will take a coalition greater than one municipality.”  Selectwoman Nancy Daly noted that she had been speaking to legislators for a while about the issue. Her sources explain that the coyotes are following wild turkeys' progress through town.   When Patch , he commented, "What can I do? I can write a law, [but] it would have to get passed. It doesn't solve the problem in the short-term."  "the problem with relocation is that we put it in someone else’s back yard." Selectman Ken Goldstein commented, "The important points we heard about from you today are about public awareness. I think that’s something this board can take point on."  For more information about living with coyotes in the neighborhood, see the guide on "Co-Existing with Coyotes," the  MassWildlife information page on coyotes or the guide released by Brookline police earlier in the year.



    Coyote attacks two-year-old girl in Weymouth, MA    (back to top)
    Aug 24, 2011 news story

    (NECN: Josh Brogadir, Weymouth, MA) - This was a frightening attack, a little girl walking alongside her grandmother, before noon today, when a coyote came out of the woods and bit her head.  "She was walking along and from behind a coyote came up and knocked the baby down and took a bite from the back of her head, a pretty good sized bite, " said Robin Gallagher, the aunt of the two-year-old girl who now has stitches in her head.  Gallagher did not want to say her niece's name but told us she's home from the hospital resting, hours after the frightening attack.  It was before noon, she was walking alongside her grandmother next to this stroller by these hedges on Clarendon Street in South Weymouth, Massachusetts.  The coyote came out of nowhere. Fortunately, Elle Ramponi rushed outside to help when she heard the girl scream.  "He wasn't moving that coyote, so I just told her, get over here, opened the door and I told her to run," Ramponi said.
    "She said come into the house, and they did which really was a godsend because if no one was around, I mean that coyote was really trying to go after them," Gallagher said.  Animal control officers have been searching for the coyote, to see if it is rabid. Neighbors are worried. "The fact that they didn't catch the animal when it's out in daylight is a little concerning," said neighbor Brian Letendre.  So where do these coyotes live? According to Ramponi, animal control officers say there are five packs of coyotes living in these woods by the reservoir.  Other neighbors say they've seen coyotes walking on the street. "It looks like a German Shepherd that nobody took care of, just really scruffy, it's pretty scary, I have five grandchildren too that come over all the time and I told them today stay home, don't come over," neighbor Denise Hatch said.  They say construction over by the reservoir is moving the coyotes around. Whatever caused this wild animal to attack this little girl, it certainly could have been much worse.  "They are where they are but it's just horrifying that it went after a child like that, a small child that was with a bigger person," Ramponi added.
    And Ramponi says after the attack, she called 911, looked out her back window and the coyote was still in her backyard, listening to the girl scream, she thinks.
    As of now, Weymouth Police say the coyote still has not been found.

    Newton Residents Post Signs Warning of Coyotes, Foxes    (back to top)
    By Melanie Graham October 6, 2011 Newton Patch story

    Police say there have been some recent incidents in West Newton that they are investigating.  Residents have recently posted signs in the West Newton neighborhood warning of coyotes and foxes attacking pets, asking local residents to keep an eye on small cats and dogs. One sign was found on the corner of Webster Street and Waltham Street earlier this week. It reads:  "Coyotes and foxes are praying on cats in Newton and surrounding areas. Many cats are missing. City Hall and Animal Control have ignored this very serious problem. Pets matter. They are great companions and a big part of a family. Please keep your cats and small dogs in and keep an eye on children."  According to Newton Police Capt. Howard Mintz, a recent incident where a coyote attacked and killed a small dog in West Newton was "normal behavior" for a coyote.  Mintz said the attack happened on Monday on Randlett Park around 6:45 a.m. when an owner took his dog out. Mintz said it was not clear in the report whether the owner was walking the dog or if he had just let the dog loose.  After the incident occurred, Mintz said the department called a biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to ask about the attack. The biologist informed police that the incident does not indicate the coyote was sick or rabid and that it was typical for it to see the small dog as prey.  "People have to protect their pets, but it's not a reason to take action against the coyote," Mintz said.
    However, Mintz said there was another recent incident where a resident reported being followed home by a coyote. This is not normal behavior for a coyote, he said, and the department will continue to investigate.  As far as the sign posted on local utility poles and trees, Mintz said he has not heard of any attacks involving foxes.


    Upton looks to clear culvert clogged by debris, beavers    (back to top)
    Cars drives through flooding caused by a clogged culvert under the intersection of Westboro and Southboro Roads in Upton.
    By Morgan Rousseau/Daily News staff, Milford Daily News
    Posted Oct 01, 2011 @ 01:10 AM

    UPTON, MA - Town officials are looking to drain water on Southboro Road, where a clogged culvert pipe has caused flooding.
    Water began collecting around the intersection of Southboro and Westboro roads after Tropical Storm Irene passed through in late August. The culvert, which is under the intersection, became backed up with debris after the storm.  "Prior to (Tropical Storm Irene) we had the area cleaned out," Conservation Commission member Marcella Stasa said. "But all the water rushed into the culvert and brought debris."  Beavers contributed to the problem by building on top of the sticks and leaves that collected in the culvert, Stasa said.  "The poor things are just doing what they do," she said. The Board of Health gave the go-ahead Thursday for the Department of Public Works to set beaver traps in the area, a project that will likely happen over the next two weeks.  "Once the culvert is cleared, (the water) should drain out," said Stasa, adding that the Conservation Commission plans to install "various debris-catching devices" to prevent material from collecting there.
    "(The Conservation Commission) is planning on putting in a garbage trap, which will probably just catch woody debris. It is apparently easy to clean out," Stasa said.
    Even with preventative measures, beavers still manage to add to clogging problems like the one on Southboro Road. Al Holman, the Board of Health's chairman, said beavers have been a problem before.  "We've trapped them before, but they keep coming back. It's an ongoing problem," Holman said. After the beavers are trapped, they are put down, said Stasa, adding that they expect to trap between eight and 10 beavers.  When beavers build dams, town workers often try to ease flooding by adding drains and bypasses through the structures so water doesn't back up, but sometimes it is not enough, Holman said.  Although no homes are near the flooded area, which is next to the Upton State Forest, the water still poses a threat to public safety, Holman said.  "The water does become a breeding ground to mosquitoes. If water covers the roadway, that also poses a problem," Holman said.  The Board of Health issued a trapping permit at a Thursday night meeting with the Conservation Commission and Department of Public Works.  At a Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday, Town Manager Blythe Robinson said the town should consider addressing the issue of beavers long-term.  "If we don't (find a long-term solution), we run the risk of the road bed being undermined and a far more expensive replacement of it altogether," Robinson said.  Morgan Rousseau can be reached at 508-634-7546 or at


    No easy answer for regulating beavers    (back to top)

    The Daily Hampshire Gazette - Greenfield "letter to the editor" - Joseph S. Larson [UMASS Professor Emeritus - MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Board of Directors Memeber

    February, 27, 2011


    To the editor: Having spent 10 years in Maryland and Massachusetts involved in studying beaver populations and behavior, I read with interest Linda Hubner's guest column ("It is better to outsmart, not kill, region's beavers," Gazette, July 11) on her views on how to best control beaver damage. Her article contains a serious error when she states "Trapping has never controlled the beaver population and is, at best, a temporary local solution."  Beavers are actually highly susceptible to trapping. American Indians and French trappers virtually wiped out beavers in eastern North America by unregulated trapping to feed the appetite of the European fur markets. Today, the many states and Canadian provinces that do permit conventional regulated leg-hold trapping are aware of this. They tightly control the methods of trapping in order to prevent another wipeout of the species. The trapping seasons, the type of traps and their placement, the number of animals to be taken, and sometimes a restriction on who can trap specific streams are regulated. Traps are required to carry the name of the trapper and he or she must submit the animals they trap to the state wildlife agency so that the number, size, sex, and age of animals trapped can be used as the basis for changes in the regulations.  One goal of the Massachusetts leg-hold trapping ban was to eliminate "commercial" trapping. By the 1990s the value of a beaver pelt had dropped so low (less than $30) that trapping had slowed, but not controlled, the increase of beavers in the state. Since the ban on leg-hold traps went into effect beavers have spread eastward and commercial trapping is now alive and well, just in another form. Private firms are now called in to trap beavers where water level control devices don't work. A widely circulated 2006 report by Mary Spock at the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine reports that to have these firms remove problem beavers entails "costs varying from $2,000 for eight months at one location to $100-200 per beaver" at other sites.  As the debate on how to best control beaver damage continues unabated, there continue to be sites where water flow control devices to "deceive" beavers don't work. Beavers keep reproducing, traveling and providing commercial income. - Joseph S. Larson, Amherst  [Linda Huebner is a Vermont state resident, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) New England Region coordinator based out of Jacksonville VT, and the Deputy Advocacy Director for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA). 


    Beavers starting to get costly in Greenfield: DPW    (back to top)

    The Daily Hampshire Gazettte - Staff Writer 

    Published: July, 7, 2011

    GREENFIELD, MA - Beavers have taken up residence for the third year in a row in a brook that runs along Wildwood Avenue and they continue to cause sewer system problems for the town. At the same time, the Legislature is considering a bill that would give property owners more help in dealing with troublesome beavers.  The beavers have dammed up part of the Cherry Rum Brook, which runs from the rear of the Cherry Rum Plaza on Bernardston Road south to the end of Wildwood near French King Highway, causing a lot of extra water to go into the town's sewer line there, according to the town's public works director.  It's costing the town money to treat swamp water that doesn't need to be treated," said DPW Director Sandra Shields. "That's not a good thing, especially at a time when we're looking at all of the ways we can cut costs."  Alan Twarog, the town's assistant engineer, said the beavers keep coming back to that area. The town has had to remove a dam two years in a row and plans to do the same this week.  Each time, the dams have impacted our sewer line," said Twarog. "Our sewer lines are old and have cracks and some open joints, and the water is getting into the line. We're treating water that doesn't need to be treated."  Shields said the excess water increases pump costs at the treatment plant and decreases the plant's efficiency.  Twarog said the town plans to hire a contractor to line the inside of the sewer main at Wildwood but, until then, will have to breach the dam as part of a short-term solution. The town has also hired a trapper, who has caught four beavers and removed them from the brook to date.  Shields said the dammed water typically backs up into Wildwood residents' yards, but the town has not heard about any serious problems in backyards this year.  "We're not getting phone calls about water in people's yards," she said.  Change the rules.  State Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, cosponsored the bill with state Rep. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer, that would give individuals and towns one more place to go when they are having problems with beavers.  Currently, an individual or town may only go to the local health department or state Department of Public Health for a special permit to deal with beavers that are causing a public safety or health issue, said Stuart Loosemore, Gobi's staff director and general counsel.  Under the new bill filed by Gobi, a special permit could also be obtained from the state Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.  "This bill does not look to repeal the 1996 referendum that banned trapping," said Loosemore.  That bill banned hunting beaver with leghold traps and effectively stopped private trappers from controlling growing beaver populations.  "The new one would still allow someone to obtain an emergency permit under the provisions allowed within the laws of the state, but the person could do so through FIsheries and wildlife biologists."  Loosemore said the bill was created because Gobi has heard from many constituents over the years who have complained about beavers.  "They've complained about sections of their land being flooded because of beaver dams, state highways being compromised, wells and septic systems being flooded - it's a big problem and many times a public safety or health concern," said Loosemore, who said under the new bill the state would also begin keeping better records of all permits issued and how many beavers are trapped each year.  "Then we'd know exactly how big a problem we're talking about," said Loosemore.  The bill allows for a "balanced approach that encourages both regulated non-lethal and lethal management methods."  Beavers are protected under the state's Wetlands Protection Act for their ability to create wetlands. People caught destroying a beaver dam without a permit face up to a $25,000 fine.  MassWildlife provides technical information and legal avenues that enable landowners and others to deal with beaver-related issues.  For more information on problems with beavers, call MassWildlife at 508-389-6300




    Natick has one big dam problem    (back to top)
    June 28,2011, By Jaclyn Reiss, Town Correspondent

    Every community has problems. For Natick, one issue is particularly damming.  As beaver populations rise steadily throughout Massachusetts, Naticks ample ponds and streams attract Castor canadensis families, causing issues for their neighboring human cohorts.  As beavers construct their habitat by damming small bodies of water and building lodges out of dead timber, the rising water levels can flood yards and threaten septic systems.  They are a pain in the butt, James White, Natick Board of Health director, said. [Their dams] stop the natural flow of water, which leads to the flooding of yards and septic systems.  When a problem arises as it does fairly often in Natick, warranting a report from the Board at their meeting Monday night merely destroying the habitat barely provides a solution, White said.
    They're extremely ingenious; they didn't name them wildlife's engineer for nothing, he said. We can compromise a dam and take the brush they used to build it, but theyll just go the next brook and rebuild it within 24 hours.  White said compromised areas in Natick include the brook running under Cottage Street on the Natick-Sherborn line, the area behind the east Natick well, and near the intersection of Liberty Street and Pamela Road.  Hiring a licensed beaver remover costs the town between $300 and $400, White said. While Framingham's Board of Health said they have not received any beaver complaints recently, White said other surrounding MetroWest towns have also been battling their herbivorous foe.  Other towns like Dover, Sherborn, and Ashland, they should be having the same issues, White said. The population has really come back strong in the past six to eight years.  According to Naticks Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary director Elissa Landre, beaver population has been climbing much longer than that.  Over the past 20 years, they have gradually moved into eastern Massachusetts, Landre said. If theres a little wet stream, there will be a beaver or two. They are pretty abundant in Massachusetts.  Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife officials said there are many contributing factors to the beaver population increase.  Each year, beaver parents bear three to five pups, who stay with the adult pair for two years before dispersing to find new territories of their own. As the population continues to increase, beavers continue to find and create new wetland habitats, according to the MassWildlife website.  Right now there are not a lot of animals that are predators of beavers, and not too many diseases heavily regulate the beaver population, MassWildlife furbearer biologist Laura Hajduk said. Historically, trapping was a mechanism for regulating beavers.  After a 1996 state ballot referendum passed, trappers in Massachusetts can no longer use traps that would kill or hurt the animal. The government only allows licensed trappers to use snares resembling cages to catch live animals.  After that happened, the beaver population increased dramatically, Hajduk said. The harvest of beavers was about 1,000 [per year], but after 1996 that number dropped immediately to the low hundreds.  In 2000, the state amended the trapping law so that residents could acquire a 10-day emergency license using kill traps when severe flooding or a breach of public safety happens due to beaver activities.  Currently, MassWildlife sees between 500 to 800 beaver harvests per year. The department cannot provide estimates of beaver population in Massachusetts because residents report encounters with the nautical rodent to their municipals Board of Health, Hajduk said.  There are two species that can really adjust the environment to meet their needs: beavers and man, Hajduk said. We adjust our living area to meet our needs, and they do the same thing.  Hajduk said other than the southeastern region and Cape Cod, beavers set up shop just about everywhere in Massachusetts including in and around metropolitan areas like Boston.  Some actually use the Charles River, she said. Occasionally, they'll swim up that way. A beaver in the Charles River uses it different than small river system; theyll have bank dens instead of a lodge surrounded by water. And they wont dam up the whole river.  Hajduk said one upside to having beavers in the state is the rich biodiverse wetland ecosystem they create. In their natural setting, a lot of people look at the wetland as ugly because there are dead trees and its flooded, but its providing a habitat for species that otherwise wouldnt be there, she said. It can cause problems when they are adjacent to homes or flooding homes, but it definitely provides a good ecosystem service.  Landre said peaceful solutions exist to rid a water body of beaver haunts, including installing a pipe-and-fence system that slowly carries water downstream, restoring natural water levels.  However, these contraptions commonly called beaver deceivers do not come cheap, and require an installation expert.  What happens is the water drains from upper pond down to the lower pond slowly so the beaver doesn't hear it, Landre said, noting that the sound of rushing water attracts beavers.  Overall, Landre said that unless beaver habitats cause safety-threatening conditions, residents should appreciate their presence and wildlife contribution.  People love to live in the MetroWest both because its near Boston and for the quality of natural life, she said. We need to learn how to coexist with the wild creatures who live here, so we can enjoy them and they can live happily.


    Beavers challenge suburbs    (back to top)
    Local terrain ideal for building dams

    July 03, 2011|By Jaclyn Reiss, Boston Globe Correspondent

    Natick MA - Every community has problems. For Natick, one issue is particularly damming.
    As beaver populations rise steadily throughout Massachusetts, Naticks ample ponds and streams attract families of Castor canadensis, causing issues for their neighboring human cohorts.  As beavers construct their habitat by damming small bodies of water and building lodges out of dead timber, the rising water levels are a problem.  Beaver dams stop the natural flow of water, which leads to the flooding of yards and septic systems, said James White, Naticks public health director.
    When a problem arises - as it does fairly often in Natick, warranting a report from the Health Department at its meeting last Monday night - merely destroying the habitat is not a longterm solution, White said.  Theyre extremely ingenious; they didnt name them natures engineer for nothing, he said. We can compromise a dam and leave the brush they used to build it, but they will rebuild it with new materials within 24 hours.   White said affected areas in Natick include the brook running under Everett Street on the Natick-Sherborn line into the Charles River and the stream at the Cottage Street Sanctuary development .  The area behind the East Natick well and near the intersection of Liberty Street and Pamela Road also proved problematic last year, White said.  After the town continuously breached the dam last season, the resident tree gnawer wandered onto Route 9 and was hit by a car. It was a 55- pound beaver, White said .  It costs the town between $300 and $400 to hire a licensed beaver remover, White said. Natick is not alone in having to deal with beaver problems.  In Ashland, Board of Health director Mark Oram, said beaver woes arent as bad as in the past because the town has adopted longer-term solutions to problems.  We believe the best way to handle it is through a management program versus taking care of one issue at a time, he said. Oram said the town believes in solutions, such as installing water-leveling systems, as opposed to breaching dams case-by-case.  But dealing with beavers continues to be an issue throughout the area, he said. Youre going to find that Naticks not alone, and its not just here, Oram said. If you call any city or town, theyve been dealing with it.  Elissa Landre, director of Naticks Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, said the beaver population has been climbing for decades. Over the past 20 years, they have gradually moved into Eastern Massachusetts, Landre said. If theres a little wet stream, there will be a beaver or two. They are pretty abundant in Massachusetts.


    Coyote Attacks Dog On Clifton St., Sightings Increase    (back to top)
    With pups in dens, residents should expect more sightings as males are foraging far and wide.
    Frankin Tucker - Belmont  - Patch May 17, 2011

    Belmont, MA - A coyote attacked a dog on Clifton Street during daylight hours last week that left both a dachshund and a young woman going through a series of shots as a precaution to contacting rabies, according to a police report.  But suggestions made by the veterinarian for the resident whose dog was bitten and whose daughter came in contact with the attacker's saliva, according to police who called the coyote's actions "unusual" and the animal "possibly rabid" was most likely incorrect, according to Belmont's Animal Control Officer.  "That is bogus information," said John Maguranis, who works out of the town's Health Department. He said since rabies is a fatal virus, the shots are being given as a "precaution" since the animal has not been caught and can not be observed.  "There is no evidence that this coyote was rabid. In fact, what he was doing is fairly normal at this time of the year," said Maguranis.  The assault occurred a few days after a resident called in the incident to police Saturday, May 14. She asked what the police would do if they confront a coyote which was demonstrating the same behavior.  "Officers would assess the matter at the time," said Belmont PD's Lt. Richard Santangelo. The resident called the police to also say that her neighbors had seen the coyote that day but it was gone by the time the police arrived.  In fact, Maguranis said he received "a lot of calls" from Friday to this Monday of a coyote in and around a four street area including Cilfton, lower Concord Avenue, Prentiss Lane and Rockmont Road.  "There's (a coyote) around there," said Maguranis, who said that it appears to be a number in and around Habitat, including a sighting of one with a cat in its mouth.  "That's a warning that if you leave your pets out, they may not be coming back," said Maguranis. Maguranis said despite many people believing that coyotes are nocturnal, and while the animal does a majority of its hunting at night, "they are in fact diurnal and will routinely seek prey during the day."  "So it's common to see them looking for small animals and that will include small dogs," he said. The reason coyotes may appear more aggressive and are frequenting neighborhoods more often is due to a growing family. Most coyote dens are currently filled with on average six hungry pups and with the mother required to stay with her brood, males are forced to bring in enough food for him and a weaning female.  "This is the time of year that they are most active," said Maguranis, who is working the town's IT Department in creating a 'coyote tracker' in which residents will be able to submit reports that will create a map of locations where the animal has been. That mapping webpage will be available to the public "soon," said Maguranis.


    Busy beavers deceive the deceiver, force flooding of thoroughfare   (back to top)
    Eagle Tribune

    April 8, 2011 By Bill Kirk


    LAWRENCE, MA - A pair of beavers appear to have outsmarted a device designed to deceive the devious but industrious rodents, causing chronic flooding along a section of Route 114 near Market Basket and Interstate 495.  Now, state and city officials are trying to come up with a permanent solution to the flooding problem. Last year, workers for Mass. Highway installed a piece of equipment known as a 'beaver-deceiver' a metal mesh box placed around one end of a corrugated pipe the other end of which is inserted into the dam. The device fools the beavers into thinking their dam is working, but in fact the contraption allows water to get through the dam and drain the pond to acceptable levels.  Somehow during the winter, however, the beavers figured out a way to clog the deceiver. When the ice melted, the water level rose and spilled onto the adjacent highway. Over the last couple of weeks, following a series of rain storms and upstream snow-melt, the water in the beaver pond created an enormous puddle on the highway.  Periodically, Mass. Highway workers have descended upon the site with iron rakes to create a V-notch in the dam, allowing water to flow over the dam and drop the pond level to stop the flooding.  But then the beavers just come back with more sticks and mud and rebuild the dam even higher, creating more flooding. Dan McCarthy, Lawrence land planner, said he is meeting Monday or Tuesday with Mass. Highway officials at Den Rock Park, adjacent to the pond, to discuss ways to stop the beavers.  "We need to figure out a long-term solution," McCarthy said. "Right now, the highway department has put a notch into the dam to release the water pressure. But sooner or later, the beavers will repair it."  He said there were a number of options. "There are several alternatives, the most drastic is removing the beavers," he said. "I don't believe that's the solution. They are so populous, if you take an established family out, another family will come in."  Plus, he said, the pond next to the road is the terminus of an extensive water system that winds up into Andover, starting in a huge pond that is also probably home to beavers. The rodents are not just prolific builders. They are also prolific breeders. Every year they have a new litter of kits. Once they reach maturity, after about two years, they leave their families and head out on their own, in search of suitable habitat.  Recently, one walked into the Wendy's parking lot on Common Street before it was caught and released back into the wild behind the MSPCA in Methuen.  It was deemed that the animal was probably a juvenile, since it weighed about 20 pounds. Full-grown beavers can weight 60 to 90 pounds.  The beavers at the Den Rock pond look to be about 50 pounds each, McCarthy said.


    Leverett flooding linked to expanding beaver pond    (back to top)
    By BEN STORROW, Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer
    Friday, March 11, 2011

    LEVERETT - Efforts are under way to develop a solution to extensive flooding Monday on Route 63 and Depot and Bull Hill roads, when water made roads impassible and filled basements throughout that area of Leverett.  The flooding, which shut parts of Route 63 and forced motorists to find alternative routes, was caused by a pair of beaver dams blocking Long Plain Brook and a streambed clogged with organic material, officials said.  The problem is aggravated by a pair of undersized culverts under Depot and Bull Hill Roads, which are overwhelmed during storms and unable to channel large amounts of water passing through the area, officials said.  "The  combination of those things causes the brook to cross over Route 63 from west to east," said Leverett Selectman Peter d'Errico.  He said the water then crosses Depot Road and passes through fields before crossing Route 63 from east to west, where it rejoins the brook's channel.  If left alone, the stream's natural meander would create an oxbow, causing the brook to cross the road, d'Errico said. "Because there are roads and houses in the area, we are not going to let that happen," d'Errico said.
    To solve the problem, the town is looking to install larger culverts beneath Bull Hill and Depot roads. It will also have to work with private landowners in the area to clear the streambed of sediment and debris that has built up over the years, with the hope of increasing the channel's capacity, d'Errico said.  The railroad and electric companies that own the right-of-way where the beaver dams are located will deal with the beavers there, d'Errico said.  Officials have not yet figured out how to pay for the work. "We have a sense of what should be done, but we're not sure how it can be done financially," d'Errico said. The town is looking into how to finance the project.  Monday's flooding was not the first time a deluge hit the area. A storm in 2004 caused even greater damage, residents said.  In the aftermath, the town sought assistance from MassHighway, which is responsible for maintaining Route 63, said Town Administrator Marjorie McGinnis. A 2005 application to the state sought $220,200 to install two culverts, clear the streambed and remove the beavers, McGinnis said. The town did not win any state funding for that project.  Fenna Lee Bonsignore, a Route 63 resident, estimated she had 11 inches of water in her basement Monday. While that was less than what came in during the 2004 flood, she said the problem has become worse with time.  "What's really changed is the beaver dam stores a huge amount of water already. When we get these heavy storms ... there is nowhere for it to go," she said.  A 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the beaver pond to have a width of 300 feet and store 11 million gallons more water than it had in the past.


    Flooding on Rte. 16 in Holliston blamed on rain, beavers    (back to top)
    By Kendall Hatch/Daily News staff
    Posted Dec 14, 2010 @ 12:29 AM

    Drivers cross a flooded section of Rte. 16 in Holliston yesterday. The flooding has been blamed on recent rains and beaver dams on nearby Hopping Brook.

    HOLLISTON MA - Wetlands - already filled to the brink from dam-building beavers - spilled onto Rte. 16 yesterday as crews worked to bring down water levels before temperatures dipped below freezing last night. "The water is over the road," said acting Holliston Police Chief Keith Edison yesterday afternoon. "It's not closed but it will give us some problems as we get the cold weather coming in."  Heavy rains on Sunday raised water levels in the wetlands around Hopping Brook, especially on both sides of Washington Street just west of Paul Road, which were already about 2 feet over their normal levels early last week. "The brook is backed up all the way to the Medway town line," said Zeamer yesterday. The Holliston Conservation Commission last week talked about how to get rid of the pesky beavers and their dams, which have filled floodplains to the point that they can't take on any more water. Yesterday, highway crews cleared one of two culverts under Hopping Brook Road that had been blocked by beavers, said Conservation Commission Geoff Zeamer and Town Administrator Paul LeBeau. LeBeau said the state Department of Transportation provided the town Highway Department with a mini-excavator with a grapple yesterday so they could clear the culvert. Highway Superintendent Tom Smith could not be reached for comment yesterday, but LeBeau and Zeamer said the town is hoping to clear a second culvert under Hopping Brook Road today to further lower levels. Zeamer and LeBeau said yesterday that they had heard that Medway had begun to breach some of the dams downstream, but Tom Holder, director of the Medway Department of Public Services, said yesterday that his crews are just taking precautions for now. He said yesterday that his crews haven't breached any of the dams in their town, downstream from Holliston, but said they were keeping a close eye on water levels as Holliston breached the Hopping Brook Road culvert. "We do have beaver activity in Medway - no doubt about it," he said. "We're just monitoring the levels of the wetlands at this point." He said crews did see a noticeable rise in water levels at a bridge under Fisher Street yesterday after the dam in Holliston was breached, but said the rise was anticipated and water didn't reach the height of any town roadways. Zeamer said he hopes Holliston can take more action to alleviate the problem before cold weather sets in for good. "There is a lot of work to do," he said. If no action is taken, "it's going to become an ice pit." He said he is working to to try to get an aerial picture of the area to identify beaver dams or lodges or, at the least, get crews out in a boat to try to find them.
    (Kendall Hatch can be reached at 508-626-4429 or


    Holliston flooded with beaver problems

    By Kendall Hatch/Daily News staff
    Posted Dec. 9, 2010 @ 12:01 am
    Updated Dec 9, 2010 at 9:05 AM


    A group of the town's most troublesome engineers are once again filling yards with water and could pose a public safety hazard on Washington Street. An influx of beaver activity in the Hopping Brook area is filling local wetlands to the brink with water, which could spill over onto Rte. 16 and, given the right weather conditions, turn to ice if the problem isn't fixed soon, Holliston Conservation Agent Charles Katuska said. "What we are trying to do right now is head this off at the path," he said. "The issue here is primarily public safety." While the threat is not imminent, a heavy rain has the potential to bring up the water level on both sides of Washington Street west of Paul Road to the point where the road floods, Katuska said. The National Weather Service is predicting rain for Sunday and Monday. Right now, the water level is about a foot below the surface of the road, Katuska said. Under normal conditions, the water is about two feet lower. "The floodplain areas are full," he said. There are 300 to 400 acres of land downstream that serve as flood storage - including some land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers - that has been disrupted by beaver dams. Beavers have in recent years been a thorn in the side of the Conservation Commission, which talked again Tuesday night about how to remedy the problem. "It's probably the largest colony of beavers in the state," board member Geoff Zeamer said yesterday. "They have eliminated most of the flood storage in the area." Zeamer and Katuska said the problem affects multiple towns. Beaver activity in Medway, which is downstream, has added to the problem. Katuska said yesterday that he was trying to contact officials in Medway to work together on the problem. Katuska also said that the drop in temperatures has added a level of urgency to the beaver problem. If the dams freeze, they will be difficult to modify or breach, and snow melting in the spring, along with spring rains, could raise water levels higher, he said. A number of low-lying septic tanks in the area that could also be at risk if the problem isn't fixed, he said. Katuska said officials are trying to figure out the best way to remove the beavers and their dams but said they will likely start at dams further down the watershed and work their way back up. He said he has contacted the state Department of Transportation because Washington Street is a state-owned road, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers. But modifying or removing the dams alone won't solve the problem. The town will likely have to bring in someone to trap the beavers, which would be euthanized because wildlife cannot be relocated.






    Needham investigates beaver dam flooding at Rosemary Brook    (back to top)
    By Scott Wachtler
    Wicked Local Needham
    Posted Dec 09, 2010 @ 06:45 AM
    Last update Dec 09, 2010 @ 05:47 PM

    Needham, MA - Rosemary Brook used to flow by behind Anthony Cefalo's home on Sunset Road. But now due to a nearby beaver dam, the water has backed up and flooded out part of his lawn.

    Eighty-three-year-old Anthony Cefalo has lived in Needham his entire life. His home on Sunset Road overlooks the picturesque Rosemary Brook, but in the last few years Cefalo has noticed a change to the landscape. A change that not only threatens his enjoyment of his view, but could possibly endanger all of Needhams wetlands and drainage. Over the last two to three years, beavers have raised the water table up about 30 inches, Cefalo said. In my way of thinking its going to start to affect everything up stream. Looking out over Cefalos land, plastic pink flamingos that once stood on dry land are now in water where grass used to be. A duck house that also used to sit on land is now sticking out of the water. Cefalo said that when his wife was still alive they used to enjoy watching the wildlife on his property. We used to watch the wild foxes, rabbits and muskrats, he said. One year we watched a family of swans living in the brook. It was beautiful. They became our friends, but theyre all gone because of the rising water due to the beaver dams. Theyre killing the trees and chasing out the wildlife, he said. Cefalo said hes never had a problem with beavers before and although he has not seen beavers on his property, evidence of their handiwork is clearly present. A large dam that he began to notice two or three years ago has blocked the water from flowing off his property. The problem is this is not your average brook, he said. Its called Rosemary Brook, but growing up we always used to call the Mainstream because this brook drains all of Needham Center. It drains up in High Rock Street and behind Roche Bros. and all of Needham Heights. A lot of water comes through here. It passes through me and goes to Wellesley. From Wellesley it goes to the Charles River, but the beavers have blocked that. Patricia Barry, Conservation Director for the Town of Needham has been to Cefalos property and has seen the dam. She said there is also evidence of beaver activity at nearby Fuller Brook. Its normal to have beavers living in a large wetland area like Needham, Barry said. However when it starts impacting flood levels adjacent to homeowners thats when theres a concern and we have to make sure there are no health and safety issues. Barry met with the conservation commission last Thursday night to dicusss what role the town should play in the issue. The dam at Rosemary Brook is on Cefalos property and on the property of another long-time Needham resident, Paul Borrelli. The dam on Fuller Brook is also on private property. In the past, Mosquito Control sprayed in the area of Fuller Brook and cleaned the area out in order to get the water moving and protect the area from mosquitoes, Barry said to the commission. Right now there are no imminent health and safety issues associated with this, Barry said. There is some flooding with the high water table, but right now there is no dam on conservation commission owned property. Barry said she would soon be meeting with Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick, the Needham Board of Health and the Board of Selectmen to address the issue since the dams are close to town property According to the towns by-laws, in order to remove the dam it would require a Board of Health permit and a Conservation Commission permit, Barry said. Janice Berns, director of the Needham Health Department said she has begun to research the concern with the Conservation Department and will be meeting on the issue with town groups in the next two weeks to see what should be done. Lisa Standley, Chairman of the Conservation Commission said if the Board of Health determines the beavers are causing an imminent health and safety risks, the property owner could remove the dam and beavers according to the Fish and Game requirements. According to Catherine Williams, spokesperson from Massachusetts Fish and Game, beavers are known as natures engineers and can provide many benefits to regions by creating wetlands, which can control downstream flooding by storing and slowly releasing floodwater. On a state level there are five main options for resolving a conflict with beaver. Two of the options do not require a permit and they include: tolerance, or learning to live with the beavers influence, or putting up fencing around the trees and shrubs beavers use to make their dams. A permit is need from the state to either breach or remove the dam, or install water level control devices such as beaver pipes that can regulate water behind the dam. Beavers can also be hunted and trapped by experienced licensed trappers during open season November 1 through April 15. Whats really important is that we make sure theres not an imminent health threat here and theres not just a knee jerk reaction, Commission member, Marsha Salett said.  A lot of people need to be educated that we are living with wildlife these days and in many situations we can co-exist. Its something that needs to be assessed carefully.  Cefalo agrees and said he wouldnt have chosen to live near the brook if he didnt love nature and wildlife. My wife and I had some great, wonderful times living here watching the animals and living among them, he said.  I want to live in harmony with nature, but not at the expense of one species thats destroying all the others.  This has to be fixed not just for me, but for the entire town, or theres going to be a potentially dangerous drainage problem for everyone.  Fitzpatrick, along with members of the Department of Public Works, met with Cefalo earlier in the week to look at the flooding on his property.  You can clearly see the dam, Fitzpatrick said.  And you can clearly see that the area behind his house is ponding.  The elevation of the pond is a couple of feet higher than the brook. She said the towns engineer is currently exploring what the impact of the dam and the flooding may have on the towns infrastructure and storm drain in particular.  Fitzpatrick said the town decides on a case-by-case basis who is responsible when something like this comes up.  If it is determined that the beaver activity could harm the town, they will take actions to either trap or kill the beaver, or install an outflow control device on the dam.  That decision has not been made yet, Fitzpatrick said.  The town engineer is evaluating it this week and we hope to discuss it with the Board of Health next week.  We understand that this has to be a very quick process.  Were working with Mr. Cefalo and Im hopeful well be able to help him out.


    Property owner blocks beaver trapping plan    (back to top)
    By Mike Donovan | Nov 30, 2010
    A Country Journal article, Turley.Com publication

    RUSSELL - Blandford Road property owner Les Cooke has refused to give the town permission to trap a family of beaver that have taken up residence on Potash Brook near the intersection of Dickinson Hill Road, according to trapper Bill Hardie. He loves watching themthe adults and the young, he told the selectboard last week. He doesnt want anyone killing animals on his property, including beavers, he said. The beavers came to the towns attention about a month ago when they dropped a tree on a powerline, which snapped and fell in a marshy area. Apparently it sent an electrical charge through the wet ground because a resident reported receiving a shock from a water faucet in his kitchen. After the line was repaired, a Western Mass Electric Company representative followed up to see if other trees would threaten electrical lines, Selectman Keith Cortis said. According to Hardie, however, the present problem is that the beavers pose a potential threat to public health by flooding septic systems. A section of property belonging to another resident of the area, David Howe, is already significantly flooded, Cortis said. Hardie indicated that the problem could worsen if the beaver population in the area increases. Beavers have two to five young every year, he said, and theyll migrate upstream or downstream and build dams of their own. Cortis said the selectboard has arranged with Hardie to trap the beaver without going on Cookes property. Hardie will probably wait for snow cover, which will allow him to observe the habits of the animals. Beaver trapping season runs from Nov. 1 through April 15, he said.


    Escaping a dog-eat-dog world    (back to top)
    By Cyrus Moulton | Nov 29, 2010
    Wareham Week Village Soup Network

    WAREHAM - Flash and Brady recuperating from their coyote attack.  Veterinarians don't often see victims of coyote attacks. There's usually nothing left.  But Flash and Brady Lester, two dogs who live on Cromesett Road, encountered the jaws of two coyotes and have lived to bark their tale.  An 11-year-old cockapoo and a 5-year-old Yorkshire Terrier / Bichon Frise mix, respectively, the two beige canines were let out for their routine 10 p.m. break before retiring to their crate last Monday evening. "They have a pretty normal routine where after two minutes, they will start barking at things," said their owner, Pat Lester (full disclosure: yes, Pat writes for Wareham Week and is married to our publisher - but guess what story we've been talking about the most this week...) "I heard the barking right on schedule, then it got more insistent, then heard a yelp - and I knew immediately it was a coyote."  By the time Lester (the human) got to the door, he was screaming and yelling. Flash was already on the walkway headed to the door, and then Brady came flying by. In the yard were two coyotes. Lester chased them to the woods then checked on the dogs. Brady was shaking in the lap of his wife Anne and had a bloody wound on his hip. Flash looked like he had one wound, but overall didn't look so bad.  "By the time we put them to bed, they seemed pretty normal," said Lester. When they brought the dogs to the Marion Animal Hospital the next morning, however, they realized how lucky the pets were to survive. Flash's thick pelt had covered two sets of incisor wounds, suggesting that he had been held in the coyote's mouth. The wounds were so dramatic that the vet was concerned that the coyote may have crushed the dog's ribs or punctured his lung. But thankfully, Brady, the little Yorkie, seems to have saved the day. The vet confirmed Lester's speculation that Flash had been grabbed, but before the coyotes could make the kill, Brady's appearance (and Lester's yelling) probably shocked the wild animals and made them drop their apparent meal. "I think that's the only logical answer as to why Flash is alive," said Lester. Wareham Animal Control Officer Carlston Wood said that the dogs (and their owners) were extremely lucky. "For them to be back and forth with the two dogs, dropping one dog - that's highly unheard of," Wood said. "Usually they just take them." But he also said that coyotes are "enigmatic at best." He recommends that pet owners never leave their dogs outside unattended in areas with coyotes (and he says they are everywhere in Wareham). He also suggested that property owners never leave any food outside that would attract animals - compost heaps, trash, even a dirty grill.  And if you have an animal that you suspect has been bitten by a coyote, get it to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Coyote have such virulent bacteria in their mouth that their victims need antibiotics immediately. In fact, the vet made additional incisions to clean the dogs' wounds, which were also kept open to ensure that no bacteria remained before the wounds began healing.  And now the dogs have passed their follow-up appointment, they only go outside at night while on a leash...and a very loud Lester on the other end.


    Beaver activity gnaws at Greylock Glen    (back to top)
    By Ryan Hutton, New England Newspapers
    The Berkshire Eagle
    Wednesday November 24, 2010

    ADAMS - Recently, the Greylock Glen has been vexed by four-legged foes as beavers in and around the gazebo area are taking down dozens of trees at the site. The damage isn't limited to just the to trees that are a few inches thick as the beavers are downing some as big as five or six inches in diameter. They are also attacking not just naturally occurring trees but trees recently planted at the site for aesthetic purposes. Adams Director of Community Development and project manager for the Greylock Glen project Donna Cesan said that since the property is still technically owned by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, any solution to the new beaver problem has to come from it. "I have had a few people express concerns about increased beaver activity and I did pass it on to [DCR representative] Cathy Garnett and she has passed it on to the regional headquarters," Cesan said, "What their plan is, I don't know yet." Cesan said she is not overly concerned about the beaver activity effecting the Greylock Glen's development as it progresses because both the town and the state have always understood the Glen to be a dynamic, changing environment. Cesan said that when designers of the project were being selected, both the state's and the town's consultants had subcontractors that had specific experience with beavers, the way they act and how they move from place to place. "We have always understood that they wouldn't stay in one place forever and will continue to move with their food source," she said. "It's just something that needs to be monitored and and then managed." One method for dealing with the beaver infestation is using something called a beaver deceiver -- a trapezoidal shaped fence used in areas of flowing water that is effective in eliminating beaver dams at culverts. A beaver deceiver works three ways with the first being the length of the fence making it difficult to dam the whole waterway. Second, the shape of the fence forces the beavers to dam away from the culvert, which is against their nature and third, forces the beavers to dam along the fence. This means that as the beavers dam away from the opening of the stream into the body of water gets further away, the sound of flowing water diminishes. The sound of flowing water triggers the beaver's natural instinct to dam. If the sides of the fence are at least 12 feet long, beavers will typically not even bother to dam there. Cesan said it may be time to consider using beaver deceivers at the Glen. In years past, the upkeep of the Glen has faced the challenge of beaver damming but it hasn't caused any major tree damage before. However, it has often caused flooding if left unchecked. The state's maintenance teams often find it difficult to keep up with clearing beaver dams because special permits are required to move or destroy beaver them. The damage to the trees and increased beaver activity has mostly been observed by locals using the Glen. Jodi Fijal has been bringing her black lab/ golden retriever mix dog Ben to the Glen for last two and a half years and said she has definitely noticed an upswing in beaver activity recently. Early in August, Fijal's dog was attacked and bitten by a beaver that was uncharacteristically out during the day. Fijal said there was a commotion in the pond and Ben decided to jump in. She said when the dog saw the beaver, he decided to swim out but unexpectedly jumped back in. The beaver dove and bit the dog in his groin and began pulling him under water. The dog eventually got free and needed nine stitches. "We're lucky that he's with us," Fijal said. "And we don't let him swim in the beaver pond any more." Fijal was told by the animal control officer that Ben had to be quarantined for 45 days at her house and had to get a rabies booster. Larry Bishop, a fellow dog walker at the Glen, said he has been coming to the Glen for years and it was unusually for the beavers to be out at the Glen during the day and stick around when people are close. He said the beavers are doing a number on the smaller trees in the area and also causing flooding. In years past, he said, it was possible to walk from the gazebo, along the main pond and get into the areas beyond but added that a lot of it is now flooded. "Not long ago, we came up and there was a huge beaver sleeping near where they're doing some of the culvert work," Bishop said. "I wasn't sure it was a beaver at first or if it was alive, but I walked over to it and shouted and it perked up. It just slid into the pond and splashed around and annoyed the dogs. But it was sound asleep in the open. It's almost like it had too much to drink the night before and didn't make it home."


    Swansea man sees coyote attack and carry off his pet chihuahua    (back to top)
    By Deborah Allard
    Herald News Staff Reporter
    Posted Nov 22, 2010 @ 06:19 PM
    Last update Nov 22, 2010 @ 07:02 PM

    SWANSEA - A chihuahua was mauled and carried off by a coyote from a home on Louise Avenue Sunday evening, leaving the owner upset and questioning what can be done by officials.  Kenneth Correia said he just fed his two dogs and took them out around 6 p.m. A coyote, he said, jumped over his fence and grabbed Gia, his one-year old chihuahua, and made off with the dog.  I was outside with it, Correia said. I heard my little dog screaming. His other dog, a Boston terrier, was by his side and unharmed. Swansea Animal Control officer Liz Botelho said coyote sightings are pretty common. Theres a lot of coyotes in that area, Botelho said. Theres a lot of coyotes in the town of Swansea. Correia said he sees coyotes, usually about three, nearly every night in his area, generally much later though. His home is located close to New Gardners Neck Road, off Calef Avenue not far from the Swansea Marina. It was two or three last night, Correia said. Correia said he was upset about losing his dog and wondered if it could be a kid next time. The coyotes he sees, he said, are as big as shepherds. Botelho said there doesnt seem to be a surge in the coyote population and unfortunately incidents of attacks on small animals are not unheard of. She said another small dog was killed by a coyote less than a year ago. Be aware they are out there, Botelho said. Make sure no small animals are left unattended. Botelho said coyotes multiply on a regular basis and this time of year, young coyotes are learning to hunt. Botelho said the town generally only steps in when a coyote is injured or sick. Wildlife falls under the authority of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Tom OShea, assistant director of Mass Wildlife, part of the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said the agency hasnt heard of any growing problem with coyotes in southeastern Massachusetts, or Swansea in particular. Coyotes are established in their populations throughout the state, OShea said. They are in every town and city. OShea said coyotes have been known to hunt small animals, including companion animals like cats and dogs. Pet owners should take precautions, OShea cautioned. Pets should be protected by being kept on a leash and held near their owners. Pet feeding should take place indoors. Other precautions include keeping garbage secure and letting the coyotes know they are not welcome. Mass Wildlife recommends making loud sounds, shining lights on the coyotes, or even throwing a stone or spraying water toward the animals to disperse them from the area. Coyotes are nocturnal animals, generally only coming out in the evening, with some sightings taking place at dawn and dusk. Botelho said they might also be seen on cold days lounging in the sunshine in peoples yards. Attacks on humans are extremely rare, but not impossible, OShea said. Bold actions by coyotes should be reported to law enforcement officials and to Mass Wildlife. To learn more, visit or call 508-759-3406.


    Coyote activity getting ugly in Gr. Lynn    (back to top)

    By Debra Glidden/The Daily Item
    Monday November 15, 2010

    NAHANT - After losing her beloved cat, a heartbroken pet owner is imploring residents to protect their pets from coyotes.  Elaine Caira said Dusty was torn to pieces on the Kelly Greens golf course by either coydogs or coyotes. Dusty is a tomcat we got from the shelter, she said. He was a gentle little soul. He would see a bird in front of him and just look at the pretty colors. Its just so sad. Caira lives near the seventh hole at Kelly Greens Golf Course. She said when a golfer told her husband Paul Caira they saw the remains of a cat head in that area, he set out to look for Dusty on Thursday. Paul went to the golf course and looked, she said. He found pieces of Dusty. He found the tail and pieces of fur. Retrieving our pets partially eaten and scattered remains was not a pretty sight. Its really sad. I know it was the coydog that lives in the area. A coydog is the hybrid offspring of a male coyote and a female dog. Paul Caira said he was with his son Michael Caira on Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m. when he saw a coyote or coydog just off a path that leads to the golf course. It had a long body, long tail, low bushy fur and was totally unafraid. Paul Caira said. When we approached the animal, it at first walked toward us but turned, lay down, rested, got up, walked a bit further, rested and finally trotted off into the bushes. Nahant Police Lt. Thomas Hutton said the department has received several calls from residents regarding coyotes near the golf course. Animal Control Officer Michael Kairevich said this was not the first missing cat in town. Weve had reports of three or four cats missing, he said. I found remains of a feral cat at East Point last week. The coyotes around here have mixed with eastern wolves so coyotes in the Northeast are larger than the ones out west. Because many have bred with wolves, it gives them a pack-hunting instinct. Kairevich added the woodchuck population has declined so the coyotes are looking for other food sources, which can include domestic animals. Marion Larson, a biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said the coyotes are exhibiting natural behavior.  Coyotes will prey on small cats and dogs that are left unattended, she said. It is a completely natural behavior and we dont consider it a public safety threat There have been three coyote attacks on people in the last 50 years and two of those animals were rabid. Larson added there is no reason to trap and relocate the coyotes. First of all it is illegal to move wildlife from one place to another in this state, she said. There are some very good biological reasons for this. The animals can return. The animals do not know where food, water and shelter are in the new place and other coyotes will not welcome them with open arms. Kairevich said there are ways residents can discourage wildlife from visiting their property. He suggested securing trash, removing bird feeders and keeping property clear of brush. If someone sees a coyote they could make a lot of noise or shine bright lights to scare it off, he said. People should be aware of their surroundings and not let pets out unattended.  Caira said she has a dog and another cat that she will not be letting out anytime soon. Were not letting them out unless they are on a leash, she said. All residents should be aware of the danger these wild coydogs present to our pets. Kairevich, who is also the assistant animal control officer in Lynn, said there havent been many problems with coyotes in Lynn, but that is not necessarily the case in other North Shore communities. Saugus Canine Control Officer Harold Young said a pack of coyotes took down a deer in town on Wednesday night in the Walden Pond area, which backs up to the Lynn Woods. Wednesday night a woman heard them howling and a deer leg was found on their property, Young said. When they make a kill, they will howl to tell other members of the pack to come eat .  Young added the wildlife population started to rebound in 1995 and it continues to increase as animals adapt. Marblehead Animal Control Officer Betsy Tufts said there is a lot of wildlife in town and anyone who lets their animal out unattended is putting the animal at risk.We have fox, fishercats and coyotes, she said. Its been about seven years since someone called and said they saw a coyote running down Tedesco Street with a cat in its mouth. A cat is just as likely to get hit by a car as to be eaten by a coyote. But when you let a pet out you are subjecting it to a lot of risks including being eaten by another animal.



    Flooding threatens Middle Road - Newbury officials fear roadway may be undermined, collapse    (back to top)

    By Victor Tine Staff writer
    The Daily News of Newburyport
    Fri Oct 15, 2010, 03:59 AM EDT

    NEWBURY, MA - In anticipation of a strong storm moving into the area last night, town officials yesterday tried to lower the water level in a beaver pond that is threatening to undermine or collapse Middle Road. Newbury enlisted the help of the Massachusetts Highway Department to pump water from the pond into a culvert that drains into the Little River. "I'm going to lose this road," Department of Public Works director Tim Leonard said. The National Weather Service was predicting as much as an inch of rain from the storm, most of which was expected to be over by this morning. Yesterday afternoon, water was close to encroaching on both sides of Middle Road, just south of the commercial block that includes Tolman Automotive and Mike's Marine Repair, less than a half-mile from Route 1. Middle Road is the first right on Route 1 heading south from Newburyport. Leonard and Town Administrator Chuck Kostro said they feared that the road would flood, or become undermined and collapse or both. Late yesterday morning, MassHighway workers set up a pump on the easterly side of Middle Road and ran about 1,000 feet of hose to the culvert to divert the water. Kostro said Newbury DPW workers would be monitoring the pump all night. As of late yesterday afternoon, workers were attempting to clear a ditch that would allow water to be pumped from the westerly side of the road as well. The water is apparently accumulating behind a beaver dam on land owned by Stephen Bandoian of Seabrook. The town in August sent Bandoian a letter asking for permission to go onto his property in order to drain a portion of it. Selectmen also voted to authorize a $1,500 expenditure for preliminary engineering work for a replacement culvert on the property. Kostro said Bandoian has not responded to the letter. Bandoian has maintained that the flooding, which has been aggravated by the construction of the beaver dam, was originally caused when town Department of Public Works employees demolished a gate structure on the easterly side of his property between Middle Road and Route 1 in 1996. Because water is lapping on the westerly side of Middle Road and is 4 to 6 feet deep just off that side the road, the town has erected concrete Jersey barriers to restrict travel to a single lane. Middle Road has been temporarily made one-way southbound (toward the Governor's Academy) at the Jersey barriers and is closed to northbound traffic at Highfields Road. Although, Kostro said, motorists' compliance with the road closure has not been universal. Indeed, while Kostro was talking, a car drove past the "road closed" sign and proceeded the "wrong way" north toward the traffic light at the junction of Route 1. Middle Road is still a two-way street between the commercial block and Route 1, so the businesses remain accessible.


    Two Weymouth police officers treated for rabies after run-in with fox    (back to top)

    By Christian Schiavone

    The Patriot Ledger

    Posted Sep 21, 2010 @ 05:48 AM


    WEYMOUTH, MA - Two Weymouth police officers are receiving precautionary treatment for rabies after coming into contact with a rabid fox. Mayor Sue Kay said the two officers were exposed to the virus in separate incidents last Wednesday when a young rabid fox made its way into a South Weymouth neighborhood. Officials are now concerned there could be more rabid foxes in the area, which is near the Ralph Talbot Elementary School. The fox reportedly attacked a white bulldog shortly after 3 p.m. in front of its owner on Bradford Road. An off-duty Weymouth police officer on his way to work heard the owners calls for help and was able to get the dog to safety, but came into contact with the foxs saliva, Kay said. The dog suffered some scratches and is also being treated to prevent rabies. Just before 7 p.m., the fox returned to the area and police were called back. Two officers followed it into the woods where an officer shot and killed it. A second officer was also exposed to the animals saliva while disposing of the body, Kay said. Lab tests later confirmed the fox had rabies. Our concern is the Talbot area, Kay said. If this was a pup, then there is a mother and probably siblings. Kay said she is planning to send a flyer to between 70 and 80 homes in the area urging residents to keep small pets inside and watch out for wild animals acting aggressively or appearing sick. Laura Hajduk, a biologist at the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said its not definite there are other rabid foxes in the area since animals tend to isolate themselves as their symptoms progress.By the time theyre exhibiting those signs that its affecting their neurological functions, theyre acting really abnormally, she said. Its not acting like a normal fox would act so its not going to be socializing with other members of the family group. The two police officers are being treated as a precaution, said Lt. Rick Fuller. Its probably just precautionary, but they are going through the shots, he said. Kay said both officers are still on active duty while they undergo treatment and the main concern now is the potential of other rabid foxes. Last summer, rabid foxes were blamed for attacks on people in Brockton and Whitman. In 2008, a 72-year-old Bridgewater man rescued his elderly neighbor from a suspected rabid fox that attacked her outside her home. So far this year, six foxes have tested positive for rabies statewide compared to 11 in all of 2009 and eight the year before, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

    Christian Schiavone may be reached at

    Copyright 2010 The Patriot Ledger. Some rights reserved



    Coyote in suburb attacks caught and killed    (back to top)
    Rye Brook, NY - September 7, 2010
    BY Oren Yaniv and Lukas I. Alpert
    September 6th 2010, 4:41 PM
    Updated: Tuesday, September 7th 2010, 3:20 AM

    A crazed coyote that terrorized a tony Westchester town was gunned down Monday after attacking three people - and biting off its puppy's head when trappers cornered it.  The bloodthirsty beast began its rampage late Sunday when it wandered out of the woods onto a Rye Brook cul-de-sac and made a beeline for a group of kids tossing a football.  Standing in the mangy mutt's way was Eric Mandel. "It came after me - attacked me and lunged at me," the 14-year-old said. "I smacked it out of the way before it had a chance to bite me. I did it twice. Then I smacked a third time and scared him off and chased it away from the other kids." Eric suffered minor cuts to his hands. Less than an hour later, the beast reappeared a half mile away, where it sneaked up onto a family's front yard and tried to snatch a 2-year-old girl who sat with her dad. "We were sitting outside playing," said Jared Zuckerman. "I sensed something out of the corner of my eye, but by that time it was grabbing her." Before the animal could bite down on the child's arm, Zuckerman pulled her away, but the wild canine wasn't prepared to let him off that easily.  "I grabbed [the 2-year-old] and turned around and [the coyote] grabbed my tush - it was just a superficial wound," he said. "It barely got [the child]. She was very lucky." Zuckerman, his daughter and Eric were all given rabies shots at a local hospital. Town officials dispatched a trapper to hunt the coyote down. When they cornered the creature, it viciously snapped off the head of one of its own puppies. It then lunged at an officer prompting him to shoot it dead. The animal will be tested to see if it had rabies. The area has become plagued by ugly coyote encounters this summer. "We've had at least 150 sightings all over the village," said Rye Brook police Sgt. Rich Carroll. "They are just following the food supply, which are turkeys." There have been several high-profile attacks on young children in neighboring Rye in recent months, prompting officials to launch an aggressive trapping campaign. "We've had some success, but evidently not enough," Carroll said. "In the last five years or so they have really picked up." Wayward coyotes have even appeared in New York City this year, leading cops on numerous wild chases. Zuckerman's father, Gary, said he understood that man shares the land with wildlife, but something had clearly changed. "It's disconcerting that the coyotes have become so aggressive," he said. "Not only do they try attacking little animals, they are attacking little children."  Neighbor Lillian Sands, 65, said it was horrible that kids now couldn't play freely. "This is a terrible thing to live in this nice neighborhood and not being able to bring your kids outside," she said. "It is a terrible, terrible situation."  video of trapper hired to catch coyotes



    Suspected coyote attack kills cat, prompts warning    (back to top)
    Tuesday, August 17, 2010
    Northampton, MA August 17, 2010
    Staff Writer - James F. Lowe, DAILY HAMPSHIRE GAZETTE

    NORTHAMPTON - Police are urging pet owners to keep cats and small dogs indoors after a suspected coyote attack Monday. Detective Lt. Kenneth Watson said police took a report about 1:04 p.m. that two large dogs were attacking a cat in a backyard on South Park Terrace off Route 10. Police believe the attacking animals were coyotes based on their description, Watson said. The cat was taken to the Cat Hospital on Damon Road, where it was euthanized due to its injuries, Watson said. Three cats were killed around Florence center July 23 in a string of suspected coyote attacks.


    Police believe coyotes responsible for three fatal cat attacks in Florence section of Northampton    (back to top)
    Published: Friday, July 23, 2010, 8:45 AM Updated: Friday, July 23, 2010, 2:17 PM
    George Graham, The Republican

    NORTHAMPTON, MA Police believe coyotes killed at least three cats Thursday night in a thickly settled residential area of Florence. At least three cats were attacked, Capt. Scott A. Savino said, adding that witnesses in all three instances first believed that they were seeing a pack of dogs running amok. The first was reported about 8:25 p.m. when a woman reported seeing three black dogs, one with a cat in its mouth, near 45 Pine St. Pine Street runs almost parallel to Route 9 near Florence center. When she yelled they ran away and dropped the cat, Savino said, adding that the cat was fatally injured. About 15 minutes later, a caller reported seeing three dogs attack a cat near 119 Pine St., Savino said. That cat was also fatally injured. The third attack was reported just before 9 p.m. when a woman, eating at the Side Street Cafe on Maple Street, saw three dark-colored canines attacking a cat across the street. She ran over and threw water on them and they ran away, Savino said. The injured cat was taken to a veterinarian who had to euthanize it due to the severity of its injuries, he said. The woman described the canine attackers as having pointy ears. Environmental Police officers who came to investigate said they believe the animals were coyotes based on witness descriptions and the nature of the attacks, Savino said. Although its common for coyotes to attack cats and small dogs, Savino said he was not aware of such attacks happening so close to the downtown area of Florence. Its densely populated area and there are not a lot of woods, Savino said.


    Residents fear coyote attacks     (back to top)
    By Kris Johnson/Correspondent
    GateHouse News Service Story
    Posted Jun 25, 2010 @ 11:10 AM
    Westboro, MA - June 25, 2010

    Selectmen and wildlife experts are hoping to educate residents about coyotes after a local dog was attacked and killed in front of its family on South Street.  AnnMarie Trebendis addressed the board Tuesday on behalf of her niece, who has lost four pets in the last six months to coyotes.  Trebendis, a resident of Cross Street, told selectmen that her niece had lost three cats recently. However, an incident on Monday, June 14, drove Trebendis to make her concerns public.  On that afternoon, Trebendis' niece and her family were on the deck of their home on South Street. As Trebendis' 11-year-old grand-nephew watched, a coyote suddenly appeared out of the woods and attacked the family's 7-pound Maltese, which was playing in the yard. The coyote killed and carried off the Maltese before anyone could react. "It happened like lightning," explained Trebendis.  Concerned over her family's safety, Trebendis brought the issue before selectmen. "I truly feel that the coyotes are a public safety issue," she told board members. "Residents of our neighborhood are concerned about going into our own yards." Westborough Animal Control Officer John Keefe and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife biologist Laura Hajduk talked about possible options for controlling the local coyote population. Keefe said he was shocked at the attack, saying he had never heard of a coyote attacking a dog. However, he said that attacks on cats are common in Westborough, and Hajduk agreed.  Keefe also said the time of the attack isnt cause for concern. "Just because an animal is nocturnal, doesn't mean it exclusively comes out at night," said Keefe. "If the hunger is there, the animal will find food." Hajduk outlined the nature of coyotes, including why it is typically a very difficult animal to remove from urban and suburban settings.  Hajduk presented various options for removing the animals, including trapping, relocating and euthanasia. But she cautioned that any solution might not permanently remove the threat. "If you remove the coyotes, it simply opens up the territory for other coyotes," said Hajduk. "They will always be there." According to Hajduk, attacks on pets are common. However, she stressed that there have only been three cases of coyotes attacking a human in Massachusetts.  Hajduk said that the best defenses against coyotes are education and harassment. She encouraged residents who see coyotes to throw things at them or bang pots and pans together.
    The animals are not confrontational and do not like to work for food, said Hajduk. "Harassment teaches the coyote that a backyard is not a safe place to get food," she explained. "The fact is that coyotes are extremely opportunistic animals and they will take the food that's available to them." In terms of education, Selectmen Chairman Rod Jan encouraged publicity on the recent attack on South Street. Selectmen agreed to post information regarding coyotes on the town web site, including a link to MassWildlife. Hadjuk agreed, saying she would be open to public speaking opportunities in town, including meeting with residents and educating children on how to stay safe around wild animals.  The board also agreed to set up a meeting between Hadjuk, Keefe, Trebendis and her family and Police Chief Gordon.  "This will give us steps to deal with the animals in the future," said Jan.



    Caught on Camera: Animal attacks Norton dog    (back to top)
    7 NEWS Boston, "Actual VIDEO HERE"
    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    NORTON, Mass. -- A family witnessed their dog being attacked by a wild animal outside their Norton home on Sunday.

    On Fathers Day, 11-year-old Kaleala Kadish-Ferriter and her 9-year-old sister Alaisha saw the wild animal attack their dog Elena.
      We saw the fox grabbing onto Elena. I was really worried cause I was afraid of if the fox was just gonna bite off the whole nose, said Kaleala.  Alaisha originally saw the animal by the shed and grabbed her camera. I saw the fox again attacking my dog Elena, and so I decided, cause I had my camera in my hand with it on, so I decided to take a video of it, said Alaisha. The girls mom said the dog wouldn't go in the house until everyone was in. On Monday, the girls were still shaken up by the incident.  I was afraid Elena was gonna die and I really loved her very much, said Kaleala. After a visit to the vet, the dog, a Mountain View Cur, is fine.  Good. She's OK. We can hug her and love her now, said Alaisha. Environmental officials have advised residents to proceed with caution if they spot a wild animal, and to be cautious with pets, as they may be seen as the animals prey.



    Toddler, 2 adults attacked by fox    (back to top)
    Updated: Sunday, 20 Jun 2010, 12:01 AM EDT
    Published : Saturday, 19 Jun 2010, 8:38 PM EDT
    Reporter: Anthony DiLorenzo

    BELCHERTOWN, MA - (WWLP) - A toddler and two adults are undergoing a series of shots after being attacked by a fox at their Belchertown homes. Now there's a concern the wild animal was rabid and potentially spread the disease to other animals. The fearless fox is now dead, only after terrorizing a rural Belchertown neighborhood. Elizabeth Elyer-Pelletier was attacked by the wild animal Friday morning in her Aldrich Street yard, a short time after one of her Guinea Hens fatally fell victim to the fox. "I saw it sneaking up behind her so I yelled at her, 'get in the house he's behind you!'" exclaimed neighbor, Pam Albertson. "It started to come toward me so I walked quickly and it got a hold of my foot," explained Elyer-Pelletier. The mother was able to briefly paralyze the predator, by striking it with her cordless telephone until police arrived and shot it dead. "The poor kids were pretty traumatized," said Albertson whose other neighbors had to fend off the fox minutes earlier. An ambulance was called after it got a hold of a 3 year old and her mother, Julia Ross. In the wooded neighborhood full of children and pets, there's still a sense of caution. Many like Elizabeth Elyer-Pelletier are left wondering if the potentially rabid animal had gotten a hold of anything else. "There is the question if it was rabid and infecting any animals. Schools are out this week, so children will be everywhere." Anyone who sees animals acting strange during daylight hours should contact their local health department. The animal has been brought to Boston to be tested.


    Coyote may be responsible in killing of cat  (back to top)
    Boston Globe - Staff Writer
    West Roxbury, MA - June 16, 2010

    A predator, possibly a coyote, was responsible for killing a cat in West Roxbury over the weekend, a local animal rescue organization said. This is a clear case of predation; a human didn't do this to the cat, Alan Borgal, director of the Center for Animal Protection at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, said yesterday. Veterinary pathologists determined that two puncture wounds around the animals throat could have been caused by a larger animal. Though the type of predator has not been confirmed, the location in the city, in the vicinity of Garnet Road in West Roxbury, should not rule out the possibility of a coyote attack, officials said.



    Meetings to seek solution to problematic Leverett-Montague beaver pond     (back to top)
    Gazette Contributing Writer
    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Montague, MA Northeast Utilities is hoping a series of community meetings will help it decide how to deal with a 63-acre beaver pond that's surrounding high tension utility poles in Leverett and Montague.  Northeast Utilities is assembling a group of neighbors and town officials it hopes will help come up with a way to replace the poles and deal with the beavers that created the pond, said spokesman Frank Poirot.  The plan is to have the group hold a series of meetings as part of a process called "facilitated community-based problem solving" later this month and early July, he said. The exact dates and locations have not been finalized. The plan is to have two meetings in Leverett and two in Montague. The meetings will be open to the public and those in attendance will be given a chance to comment. The group will include two representatives from each town, people with properties that abut the pond and residents of Richardson Road in Leverett, who are right below the dam and would see major flooding if the dam broke, he said. The group will evaluate several different proposals how the poles should be built and how to deal with the beavers, said Poirot, adding that he didn't want to detail those plans. "It will be a broad range of solutions that participants will be looking at. They will arrive at the preferred solution that hopefully meets all of their needs as well as the needs of Northeast Utilities," he said.

    The hope is that a decision is made this summer so that Northeast can do the work next construction season, in 2011. Until that plan is reached, Northeast won't know exactly what regulatory hurdles it will need to clear, Poirot said. But, it will likely require review and possibly approval from federal and state environmental agencies and it may also need a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, he said. "It's a complex environment with a flowing stream and wetlands. And there may be more. We have to do more studies," he said. Conservation Commissions in Montague and Leverett will, at the very least, be consulted about the project, he said. Catherine Skiba, spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Protection's regional office, also said that permits Northeast needs to apply for won't be known until the company submits a plan. "It's difficult to speculate what (those permits) would be," she said. The pond has been created over the years by beavers that dammed up a stream running along Richardson Road, part of which is now also under water. Nestled in the middle of this pond are five H-shaped high-tension utility poles that carry power for Northeast Utilities. Woodpeckers have damaged several of the poles and the utility company wants to replace them. "These structures are not designed to stand in water," said Poirot. "The need for a solution just becomes a little more urgent as time goes by. (The poles) support a circuit that supplies electricity to a large area that includes western Massachusetts as well as Connecticut." Although Northeast Utilities hasn't filed any official plans, last summer it filed a report proposing draining the pond and aggressively trapping beavers to keep them from coming back. This idea drew the ire of some neighbors who enjoy the rich variety of wildlife the pond has brought to the area. Other neighbors, however, say the pond is a menace that is eating away land, bringing mosquitoes and threatening to flood homes below in Leverett. The community meetings scheduled for later this month will be run by Ron Deford of Northeast Utilities, who has experience in community-based problem-solving and serves on an elected board in his home town in Connecticut.


    A busy bunch: How beavers help and hurt in the Tri-Town    (back to top)
    By Brendan Lewis/ Boxford Wicked Local
    Posted Jun 01, 2010

    Boxford, MA It is estimated that beavers have flooded more than 1,000 acres of land in the tri-town area while their population  grows steadily. Many residents will tell you that they are not happy with the rodent that can flood acres of their land yet leave them with no course for rebuttal.  But what many see as destruction, others witness as the reemerging presence of a species and habitat that has not been prevalent since colonial times.  The state Legislature banned many types of animal traps in the mid-1990s and, consequently, the beaver population more than tripled by the start of the new millennium. Now, 10 years later, the state has no official beaver count but local officials say the population growth has continued.  Boxford, Middleton and Topsfield all have had issues with beavers building dams and flooding land but residents and town management can only intervene when there is a threat to public safety or health. Also, conservation officials say that there are many reasons why beaver activity is good.  The most common local beaver issue is when beavers block up culverts, pipes that typically run under the road to keep flowing water moving, and cause road flooding or destruction.  Overall, that is the biggest concern in Topsfield, said Topsfield Conservation Commission agent Lana Spillman. There is a constant effort to keep the culverts open.  Spillman said the Topsfield Highway Department has been having recent issues with flooding from beavers specifically in the River Road area near Fish Brook, as well as areas around East Street, Wildes Road and Perkins Row.  Spillman said the department installs grates over the culvert openings to keep beavers from continuing to block up the running water that eventually causes problems.  There are at least three places where they have wire fencing and mesh to keep the beavers out of the culverts, said Spillman. And I think its worked pretty well.  Whereas many residents may lose parts of their property to flooding caused by beavers, Spillman said people are really not allowed to mitigate the effects unless the flooding has hit their basement or affected their septic system. Topsfield has not seen a request to remove beavers for a private residence since 2007.
    Boxford beavers While the most recent beaver issue has also involved potential road flooding, Boxford has used the method of breaching the beaver dam in order to avoid road flooding. Boxford Assistant Conservation Administrator Chuck Tirone said that method has worked well with a recent issue on Lawrence Road.


    As Wigwam Pond waters recede, beaver traps are pulled    (back to top)
    Boston Globe [Story] - By Michele Morgan Bolton, Globe Correspondent
    Posted May 21, 2010 09:39 AM

    DEDHAM, MA - An effort to trap beavers in the Wigwam Pond area has been discontinued after five casualties in an apparently fruitful two-plus-year effort to lower pond water levels that had repeatedly flooded area homes and businesses. "Yes, the water is going down and they are seeing relief,'' selectmen chairwoman Sarah MacDonald said earlier this week. Town officials had turned to trapping in recent months after attempts at a more humane route failed at the same time the area was further deluged by pounding rains. As a result, four beavers were caught and a fifth was hit by a car, MacDonald said.  "We can't claim victory, though, because that area is very attractive to beavers,'' she said. "Another group could move in." Originally, Dedham engaged a company called Beaver Solutions to manage water levels at the pond, environmental coordinator Virginia LeClair said. After receiving a $2,000 grant from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States for nonlethal solutions, Dedham installed low-flow devices, known as Beaver Deceivers, through two of the dams, LeClair said. The contraptions allowed water to pass through the dams by inserting large flexible pipes that are faceted at each end with green cages, she said. The cages prevented the beavers from getting to the openings of the pipes and blocking them up, stopping the water flow. "These devices had worked for the past 2 1/2 years until the beavers built a third dam in front of the other two," LeClair said. "At that time our consultant did not recommend that we install a third, low-flow device.'' LeClair said the town consulted with the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, which agreed with the company's findings: "Since relocating wildlife is illegal in Massachusetts, trapping was our only remaining option." "None of us wanted to go in that direction,'' Town Administrator Bill Keegan said recently, when the effort was in full swing. "Our preference would have been to co-exist. But when it impacts residents in the area, you have to take appropriate steps." Dedham worked with a problem-animal control agent to obtain the proper permits from the Board of Health and the town's Conservation Commission, officials said. Michele Morgan Bolton can be reached at


    Dedham resident traps beavers for town    (back to top)

    By Edward B. Colby/Dedham Transcript
    Dedham Transcript
    May 21, 2010 @ 07:00 AM

    Dedham MA - In a wild patch of Dedham, not far behind Legacy Place, is where the journey for the objects of Craig Armstrongs desire begins. As we paddle the canoe, he points out some willow trees that beavers have girdled chewing away the bark to eat the layer of green underneath. We travel the length of Wigwam Pond and up into Wigwam Brook, where Armstrong checks his first Conibear trap. When the animal goes through, the Conibear trap usually snaps them around the head, he explains: They drown. If they don't die instantly, they drown. Its empty. Armstrong walks through some thickly covered terrain, warning about poison ivy, and leads the way to a beaver dam he breached the day before. Overnight, the aquatic mammals built a high pile of sticks and debris to fill the gap. I had this flowing nice yesterday, Armstrong says, clearing away the beavers work with a rake. They had a big 4-by-4 in here yesterday. Thing weighed a ton. Its just another morning out on the water for Dedham's beaver trapper. The town called him in March, when record rain falls flooded nearby streets and basements, and exacerbated the problem of the high water levels that residents east of Wigwam Pond have seen since the family of beavers moved in two years ago. Town Administrator William Keegan somberly said in late March that installing low-flow devices called beaver deceivers and breaching dams helped manage the situation, but that trapping was the only option left to consider. Armstrong, who is a licensed problem animal control agent, does his trapping for free. He mostly bow-hunts deer are his favorite targets and recently shot two turkeys each in Vermont and Massachusetts. Ill hunt anything, anywhere. As long as it gets me outside and in the woods, says the Riverdale resident, who was a plant manager until a few years ago, and now does carpentry and other handyman jobs. Armstrong says the main goal is to lower the water level for nearby residents homes. Two dams, including one off Eastern Avenue, have beaver deceivers in them. Its the deceiver dam that's really backing up the water behind the Legion and back up on Jersey Street. For a while, there was nowhere to trap because the brook and connected channels were so flooded, so Armstrong waited for the water to go down. It has receded somewhat by the Friday morning when Armstrong takes the Transcripts reporter on an excursion. Even so, he gestures to a new swampy area, saying, All this back here used to be dry. These trees, look at 'em, they're all dead. Its not so easy to catch the beavers, beginning with the dangerous traps. He hurt himself twice before getting safeties, he says. Yeah, these beavers were beating me up at first. First trap went across my thumb and my fingers. Geez, that hurt, he says. The second time, it sprung over his whole hand. I couldn't grab anything for awhile. He also tells about going through mud when all of a sudden his foot sunk, and the heavy trap basket he was wearing pulled him down backwards into the water, spilling his soda bottles and cigars. He lightened his basket after that. He sports thigh-high waders. Wearing just boots it is tricky to get around without slipping into the muck, but Armstrong sensibly advises walking on branches and using a paddle to probe for relatively solid ground, which seems to work. The beavers seem to have good survivors instincts, he says. They were using this one pretty frequently, Armstrong says of a channel where he caught two on the previous Sunday, April 25. But on this day, the three traps he has placed there come up empty. Armstrong was so excited when he finally found their lodge a massive mound of sticks on a canal that connects to a holding pond by T.G.I. Fridays. Armstrong drags the canoe over land so we can paddle up close to the lodge, before proceeding to another trap, which has snapped but has nothing in it. He checks six traps in all. That's unfortunate. I was hoping Id be able to show you a beaver. He says town officials estimated there were 15 to 30 beavers in the area, but he thinks many neighbors who have had close encounters actually saw another water-faring furbearer muskrats. Armstrong told the health director he'd be lucky if he caught six beavers. Last Wednesday he found his fourth, at the dam on Wigwam Brook. The trap went off the day before without catching anything, so Armstrong put in two near the dam. Went over this morning, and sure enough I nabbed this guy on one of them. He was a pretty big guy probably 40 pounds or so. Armstrong gives the carcasses to his buddies for bear bait. That includes a fifth beaver who perished on the Needham Street Bridge. After his wife called and told him about it, he ran over and grabbed it, he said. Armstrong gave a perhaps-overlooked explanation for American expansionism, saying that people kept moving west to hunt beavers. The last time the creatures were around Wigwam Pond was probably 1700, he says. Now, within a few years of their return, they're being hunted again. Armstrong's efforts seem to be having the desired effect. He says the water level has dropped quite a bit, and the Jersey Street dam and the lower deceiver dam have both been flowing well. He's not sure where the beavers are living, but says, I couldn't find any evidence that they're still in that lodge. With no activity at the dams since he made his last catch, he's pulled up all his traps. I don't know how many beavers are left, Armstrong says. There cant be many, because there just isn't much sign. Back on that shiny Friday morning, his enthusiasm is more palpable during the return ride across the pond. I really enjoy doing this, Armstrong says. I got lots of other stuff I should be doing. But I find myself saying, lets go find some beavers. Dedham Transcript staff writer Edward B. Colby can be reached at 781-433-8336 or


    Raccoon that bit woman on foot was rabid    (back to top)
    By Bruno Matarazzo Jr. Staff Writer
    The Salem News [STORY]
    Salem, MA - May 20, 2010

    SALEM, MA - Tests on a raccoon that bit a woman sleeping at her summer home on Baker's Island on Sunday showed the animal had rabies, police said.  Islanders found and killed the raccoon in the woman's shed following the attack of Susan Linder-Bean, 55, of Salem, who was asleep in her bed when the raccoon bit her foot. The animal was later tested by the state Department of Public Health. Baker's Island is home to more than 65 summer cottages, and residents told police they'd never seen a raccoon there before.  "We're not sure how it got there. There are theories," Salem Animal Control Officer Donald Famico said. The theory that seems most plausible to Famico is that the animal may have been thrown from a boat and it swam to shore. During the winter, raccoons will typically find their way inside stored boats. Come warmer weather, boaters will find the animals, sometimes when the boat is in the water, and Famico suspects the masked stowaway was thrown overboard. Regardless of how the raccoon made it to Baker's Island, police are checking if the domesticated cats and dogs that call the island home during the summer are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. "We're taking the necessary steps to make sure everybody's healthy," Famico said.  Two of the three cats belonging to Linder-Bean, Mary Alice and Felix, were not up-to-date, and now they will have to be quarantined, according to the police report. Her cat Lucky was vaccinated.  The cats were on the island in proximity to the rabid raccoon, Famico said. Linder-Bean declined to comment on the incident. Rabies, a viral disease of the central nervous system, has been circulating throughout the North Shore for almost 20 years. While all mammals can be infected with rabies, the virus affects mostly wild animals, including raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats, according to a public fact sheet put out by the state Department of Public Health. In 1993, several cities and towns reported their first confirmed cases of rabies. That same year, the state came out with stricter guidelines for vaccinating cats and dogs, according to news reports. Famico said there haven't been too many cases of rabid raccoons, but of another nocturnal animal. "There are a lot of sick-looking skunks in the past couple months. We don't necessarily test every animal even though it shows the symptoms," Famico said. The signs of a rabid animal include unexplained aggression, impaired locomotion, varying paralysis and extreme viciousness, Famico said. Famico said the incident is a reminder to get cats and dogs vaccinated for rabies.


    Coyotes spotted on Gloucester beaches     (back to top)
    Channel 7 News, WHDH.COM
    Posted: 05/07/10 at 4:55 pm EDT

    GLOUCESTER, Mass. -- A wild encounter is putting beach-goers on edge in Gloucester. Coyotes have been spotted on the beach several times this spring. They are not rare in Massachusetts, but there are concerns that the animals are becoming increasingly aggressive. A coyote reportedly chased a woman walking her dog on a beach at the Rockport-Gloucester line. I cant imagine them chasing people off the beach...That surprises me, said William Mountain, a Gloucester dog owner. There was also a close encounter with a coyote at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester.  A Gloucester DPW employee spotted a large male coyote on the beach on Wednesday. It took him three attempts to finally scare the animal off. Experts say coyotes are out 20 hours a day in the spring when their young are born, so they may be protective or aggressive.


    Coyote attacks spur closing of Amherst trail    (back to top)



    By Scott Merzbach and Owen Boss

    Amherst Bulletin - Staff Writers story

    Published on May 07, 2010





    AMHERST, MA - A coyote, like this one seen in Williamsburg in 2008, attacked two dogs in Amherst along the Ken Cuddeback Trail. The attacks spurred the town to temporarily close the trail. AMHERST - The Ken Cuddeback Trail in South Amherst has been closed temporarily after a coyote twice attacked dogs being walked in the area over the last week. Animal Welfare officer Carol Hepburn said Monday she requested the conservation trail be temporarily closed out of concern for the safety of smaller dogs. The first report came April 26 at 12:52 p.m. after the coyote bit a dog, which was later brought to a veterinarian for evaluation and treatment. A Labrador retriever was attacked two days later. Hepburn said both dogs are expected to recover. After the second attack, Hepburn said, she and a state wildlife official attempted to locate the coyote. "I'm trying to remove the coyote from the area," Hepburn said. She has also gone to the area twice with police officers. Though the coyote has been seen, it has fled into the woods when spotted. Hepburn said there is no evidence that the coyote is aggressive toward humans, but she still would like to deal with the coyote before reopening the trail. The KC Trail, as it is often called, runs through the Hop Brook and Wentworth Farm conservation areas and passes between Shays Street, South East Street, Potwine Lane and Middle Street. According to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's website, the eastern coyote moved into the central and western part of the state in the 1950s and now exists in every town except for those on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. They pose little threat to humans but have been known to attack household pets. The majority of coyotes found locally are the size of a medium-sized dog, but with longer, thicker fur. They have a long, bushy, black-tipped tail that is usually carried pointing down and are typically between 4 and 5 feet in length and weigh between 33 and 40 pounds, according to the website. Although they are known to feed on whatever is available, including fruit, berries and small rodents, they are also known to prey on unprotected pets, unsecured garbage and pet food left outdoors. According to the website, coyotes are territorial but habitually shy and elusive. They occupy territories ranging from 2 to 30 miles and typically breed in February and March, yielding litters of up to eight pups in April or May. In Massachusetts, the coyote hunting season opens on the first Saturday after Columbus Day and closes on the following March 8. In 2007 and 2008, however, the DFW extended coyote season by five weeks and both years resulted in state records for total number killed. To prevent conflicts with coyotes, the DFW urges state residents to secure their garbage, never try to feed or pet a coyote, keep household pets restrained and pet food indoors if possible, fence in livestock and produce, and alert neighbors if one is seen in or around the neighborhood. If an area resident is ever threatened by a coyote, public safety officials including local police departments and the state Environmental Police have the authority to respond and put down the animal. However, according to regulations pertaining to the handling of problem animals, coyotes taking pets are not considered an immediate threat to human safety and therefore safety officials are not authorized to remove them.










    Cleanup Continues In Beaver Dam Break
    Beaver Dam Breaks On Adamant Pond, Vermont
        (back to top) Channel 5
    POSTED: 11:11 pm EDT May 3, 2010
    UPDATED: 9:07 am EDT May 5, 2010

    ADAMANT, Vt. -- The Adamant Pond began emptying into town Monday night after a beaver dam broke, prompting evacuations. Crews have been working since early Tuesday morning, putting the town's main road back together after it was ripped apart around 7:30 Monday night. A handful of people had to be evacuated from their homes, but the fire chief said that nobody actually went to the shelter that was provided Monday night. He said only one woman's home was badly damaged and the flood is under control. "The water has receded, but not back to normal levels. The culverts are being monitored, and we have flagged the stream and we're monitoring it on an hourly basis," said John Audy, East Montpelier fire chief. Allison Underhill, who has lived in Adamant for 33 years, said she was the first to call 911 Monday night when she saw the rising waters. "I ran out front and realized the whole village of Adamant was under water," Underhill said. Click To View Slideshow Of Flooding Underhill described the experience as a test of the Adamant community she's lived in for so long. "We all take care of each other in a sense and to see that big flood is very scary," Underhill said. Neighbors who couldn't get back into their flooded homes stayed with Underhill, who said those whose houses are damaged are still trying to cope with the loss.



    Middleboro veterinarian confirms case of rabies in horse    (back to top)
    State officials says rabies remains a low-level, constant threat to humans

    By Alice C. Elwell - Enterprise correspondent [STORY]
    Posted Apr 30, 2010 @ 11:42 PM

    MIDDLEBORO, MA - For the first time in his 34 years of practice, local veterinarian Bruce Chase has diagnosed a case of rabies in a horse.  The viral disease is common in dogs, cats and other predators but is rare in non-predatory animals such as horses. In Massachusetts, Chase said only three cases have been confirmed in the past 10 years.  Chase said he has notified his clients in the area that the risk of rabies may be higher this year. We still consider rabies a big part of public health concern, Chase said.  The horse in question lived on a property in Freetown and had not been vaccinated. Chase tested it after seeing that it was acting uncharacteristically. The horse has been euthanized.  Freetown interim Town Administrator John F. Healey said the towns new animal inspector will work to improve barn inspections and ensure that horses have up-to-date inoculations.  The state Department of Public Health investigated the case, diagnosed April 3. Officials concluded that it does not suggest any elevated risk in the area, DPH spokeswoman Jennifer Manley said in an e-mail to The Enterprise. Rabies remains a low level but constant threat to all pets, livestock and people in Massachusetts, she said.  The horse, she said, had been exposed to a rabid skunk. Rabies is most often transmitted through the bite or scratch of a rabid animal. The disease infects the central nervous system, causing encephalitis and ultimately death. Vaccination has drastically decreased the number of rabies cases in domestic animals since an outbreak in 1992. It is still prevalent in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and woodchucks.


    Rabid fox euthanized after attacks in Stoneham    (back to top)

    By Amy Saltzman/
    Stoneham Sun (see fox video HERE)
    Posted Mar 16, 2010 @ 01:26 PM

    STONEHAM, MA - A rabid fox was euthanized on March 4 on Hanford Road after scratching a young girl and later attacking an adult male, according to the Stoneham Police and Board of Health.  Police Chief Richard Bongiorno said there were three sightings of the fox one the night before and two the morning of March 4. However, the police log said that a Forest Street resident reported that he was bitten by an aggressive fox around noon on March 3. A limping grey fox was then spotted by a different caller later that day on Hanford Road. Police were unable to locate the animal at the time.   But the following day, a fox reportedly scratched a young girl, whose mother called the police to say it had broken through the skin. The mother was told to bring her daughter to the doctor to receive the appropriate shots in case the fox was rabid. Soon after hanging up the phone, the mother called back again, hysterical, according to Bongiorno, saying that the fox had attacked another adult in the neighborhood. The fox had gone after his ankles. The only way to discover whether a fox is rabid or not is to cut off its head and submit it to the states Department of Public Health, according to Board of Health agent, John Scullin, who handled the gruesome job with a very sharp knife. Scullin had to drive the head into the city in his own vehicle, where the brain was then tested. The fox turned out to be rabid, but police were not aware of this when it was killed. To determine if the fox is rabid you have to kill the fox. And it was clearly ill, said Bongiorno. I wasn't there, but I heard it was cowering in the corner, and wasn't moving. Generally they will scatter if they see an adult. So it was clearly sick, and we were able to contain it. Police brought in an officer with a specialized gun for euthanization. Had we tried to use the regular shotgun for that type of animal, the rounds would have just gone right through it, said Bongiorno. If it did not strike something that would immediately deter the animal, it would just scamper off. Board of Health Chairman Dan Doherty said that a letter was sent out last week to all of Precinct 1, approximately 1,500 households, warning residents of the rabid fox. At this time, the department as well as the police believe it was the same fox that made all the attacks. And there have not been any sightings of other foxes as of Friday, March 12.  The letter offered several precautions if a wild animal is spotted in the neighborhood (see box). The normal protocol with anyone in contact with a wild animal is that you have to assume it has something, said Doherty. [If attacked] the advice is to go to a physicians.


    Frustrations crest over beaver law   (back to top)
    By Betty Lilyestrom - Worcester Telegram Gazette story

    April 29, 2010

    LEICESTER, MA - State Rep. John J. Binienda, D-Worcester, and state Sen. Michael O. Moore, D-Millbury, both of whom include Leicester in the districts they represent, spent an hour discussing local and state budget woes with Leicester selectmen here earlier this month.   And while much of the discussion centered, as one might expect, on where to find the money to keep the community afloat during fiscal 2011, there were also some heated comments on a subject that might seem to be a bit farther afield beavers.   Selectman Richard Antanavica brought up the beavers when questioning whether governmental mandates are doing what they are supposed to do.  Take beaver control, he said. People are losing their property and they cant go out and take care of the problem because of a law.   Beaver protection, making it illegal to trap beavers, was voted by the people of Massachusetts years ago, said Mr. Binienda.   It was pushed not by the people of Leicester or Spencer but by the people of Cambridge and Revere, where they don't have the problem. You were bad guys who put the beavers leg in a trap they had never seen the washed-out roads in Rochdale because of what the beavers do.   Mr. Antanavica said beavers build a dam that floods an area, suddenly turning somebody's backyard that had always been dry into a wetland.   Selectman Dianna Provencher wanted to know if there isn't a way to rescind the beaver law, but Mr. Binienda said there had been attempts and he had voted for them, but they were unsuccessful.   That raised the ire of Chairman Thomas V. Brennan Jr., who pointed out he had personal knowledge of the impact of what he called the stupid beaver bill.   The people in Suffolk County don't have a clue about the damage beavers can cause, he said.  I've lived on Greenville Pond for more than 20 years. I can hear them chewing the trees.   I can see them swimming in the pond and see the trees falling all around the pond and that's only my pond. There are 26 surface bodies of water in the town of Leicester.   Mr. Brennan used the example to focus on judging the impact of governmental mandates and finding a way of reversing or easing the mandate if it turns out to be harmful to a community.  We have a major problem, he said.  When anybody passes a bill and its passed, they seem to think its set in stone until their dying day. They think its been blessed by the Almighty and its tinker-proof.   Well, legislation can't be tinker-proof.    He urged the two legislators to find a way of revisiting a bill perhaps five years down the line, gauging its impact and reversing it if that impact is harmful.



    Coyote attacks concern Mill Pond neighbors    (back to top)
    By Doreen Leggett - The Cape Codder [story]
    Posted Mar 12, 2010 @ 02:01 PM

    ORLEANS, MA - Like many others, Elizabeth Skayne thought that coyotes shy away from humans. She has since changed her mind. Skayne said she took her dog for a walk late last month. It was 5:30 p.m. and the sun hadn't quite set, but she had the garage lights on and a flashlight in her hand as she started out with her Wheaten terrier, Cookie. They were just steps from the house, Cookie just 5 feet from her on his leash when a coyote chose to charge the 40-pound dog. A coyote came from behind and grabbed onto Cookie, Skayne said. She said the animals could have made a sound as they scrabbled, but she didn't hear it. I was just screaming so loud, she said. The coyote, about the same size as Cookie although a little thinner, backed away and Skayne and her dog ran back inside. The garage door was open so we darted in, said Skayne, adding that the coyote hung around outside for a while afterward. Cookie is OK. They took him to the vet to treat the bite in his leg, but Skayne was worried about others in the Mill Pond area so she sent a letter to all her neighbors. And it turns out that Skayne isnt the only one having frightening run-ins with coyotes. Her neighbor, Pat Foot, said two coyotes attacked her two dogs. Most times when coyotes go after pets its for a meal so they usually choose small prey, small dogs or cats. Experts have said they wont go after large dogs because the chance of injury is so large they don't want to take a risk. But Foots dogs, like Skaynes, aren't small. They are two 50-pound Labrador retrievers, one black, one yellow. The two tangled with the coyotes in her back yard while Foot, on crutches, yelled and blew a whistle less than 10 feet away to no avail. I thought my dogs were being killed and I couldn't do anything about it, Foot said. Her dogs survived, although the yellow Lab, Cadie, was bitten on the tail and hip. A few weeks later a coyote came around again and Foots husband had to yell and throw sticks at it before it finally left. They are very bold, she said. I don't know what to do. Skayne isn't proposing that coyotes be eliminated; she just wants people to be more aware. And she wants the town to step up and take action. Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to the coyote problem; we simply must be aware of our surroundings. When outside be alert and on guard; pets should not be unleashed outside between early dusk and dawn, she wrote in her letter. Please be safe. Naturalist Peter Trull, who wrote Coyotes in the Neighborhood, agrees that people should be on the lookout when they walk their dogs. He has two beloved pooches so understands that owners want to protect their pets. Trull, a Brewster resident and a science teacher at Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School, was surprised a coyote had an interaction with a dog that was on a leash. He hasn't heard of a similar incident in the more than 20 years he has been studying coyotes on the Cape. It is shocking, he said. I've never even heard of it. Nature is unpredictable. Trull said the coyote may have had distemper, may have been defending a den site, could be carrying puppies, or could have played with the dog before. He said the situation could be compared to an unleashed German shepherd biting a dog on a leash, except there is no owner to hold responsible. Skayne said that a few years ago coyotes killed two dogs in town and it was on peoples minds, but lately those memories have faded. People were much more on guard, Skayne said. Since the incident, Skayne and Cookie are much more cautious. Skayne blows an air horn whenever she takes Cookie out at night.  Her neighbors have been understanding. They say its OK, Skayne said with a good-natured laugh.


    Residents fear coyote attacks

    By Kris Johnson/Correspondent -

    Posted Jun. 25, 2010 @ 12:01 am, Updated Jun 25, 2010 at 5:39 PM


    WESTBOROUGH, MA - Selectmen and wildlife experts are hoping to educate residents about coyotes after a local dog was attacked and killed in front of its family on South Street .   AnnMarie Trebendis addressed the board Tuesday on behalf of her niece, who has lost four pets in the last six months to coyotes.    Trebendis, a resident of Cross Street, told selectmen that her niece had lost three cats recently. However, an incident on Monday, June 14, drove Trebendis to make her concerns public.    On that afternoon, Trebendis' niece and her family were on the deck of their home on South Street. As Trebendis' 11-year-old grand-nephew watched, a coyote suddenly appeared out of the woods and attacked the family's 7-pound Maltese, which was playing in the yard.   The coyote killed and carried off the Maltese before anyone could react. "It happened like lightning," explained Trebendis.   Concerned over her family's safety, Trebendis brought the issue before selectmen. "I truly feel that the coyotes are a public safety issue," she told board members. "Residents of our neighborhood are concerned about going into our own yards."   Westborough Animal Control Officer John Keefe and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife biologist Laura Hajduk talked about possible options for controlling the local coyote population.   Keefe said he was shocked at the attack, saying he had never heard of a coyote attacking a dog. However, he said that attacks on cats are common in Westborough, and Hajduk agreed.   Keefe also said the time of the attack isn’t cause for concern. "Just because an animal is nocturnal, doesn't mean it exclusively comes out at night," said Keefe. "If the hunger is there, the animal will find food."  Hajduk outlined the nature of coyotes, including why it is typically a very difficult animal to remove from urban and suburban settings.   Hajduk presented various options for removing the animals, including trapping, relocating and euthanasia. But she cautioned that any solution might not permanently remove the threat. "If you remove the coyotes, it simply opens up the territory for other coyotes," said Hajduk. "They will always be there."      According to Hajduk, attacks on pets are common. However, she stressed that there have only been three cases of coyotes attacking a human in Massachusetts.   Hajduk said that the best defenses against coyotes are education and harassment. She encouraged residents who see coyotes to throw things at them or bang pots and pans together.   The animals are not confrontational and do not like to work for food, said Hajduk. "Harassment teaches the coyote that a backyard is not a safe place to get food," she explained. "The fact is that coyotes are extremely opportunistic animals and they will take the food that's available to them."



    Raccoon, which scratched person in the area of Heritage State Park and Holyoke Children's Museum, tests positive for rabies    (back to top)
    By George Graham, The Republican story
    January 21, 2010, 1:50PM

    HOLYOKE, MA - A person, scratched by a rabid raccoon in the area of Heritage State Park and the Holyoke Children's Museum on Monday, is now undergoing treatment for the disease. Animal Control Officer Donald W. Tryon said the raccoon was aggressive and went after the victim. Tryon said it also pursued him when he arrived on the scene. I knew there was something wrong, Tryon said. It had ample opportunity to retreat. The park is on Appleton Street and the museum is on the corner of Dwight and Front streets.  Anyone who has recently been scratched, bitten or had contact with saliva from a raccoon in this area should call their health care provider, the Holyoke Board of Health at (413) 322-5595, or the state Division of Epidemiology at (617) 983-6800.   Those with pets who may have recent contact with a raccoon in the area should call their veterinarian or the Division of Animal Health at (617) 626-1786.   Treatment for those exposed should begin as soon as possible.


    Coyotes Attack Mattapoisett Dog   (back to top)
    Mattapoisett, MA - January 4, 2010
    'The Wanderer' news story serving Marion, Mattapoisett & Rochester MA

    A miniature Schnauzer named Stella is lucky to be alive after a pack of hungry coyotes attacked her on January 4, 2010, near Knollwood Drive in Mattapoisett.  Stella's owners, Kristen and Christopher Querim, described the scene that nearly resulted in their family pets death as absolutely horrific.  After letting Stella out to go to the bathroom at 8:00 pm, Ms. Querim said that they faintly heard crying coming from the yard.  That's when they realized that Stella was in trouble. The family, including 11-year-old Matthew Querim, went outside saw that their dog was fighting with at least two coyotes at the edge of the woods. The Querim family stood in the cold dark and made a commotion in an attempt to intimidate the coyotes and get them to release Stella. The screaming and yelling worked, and Stella came out of the woods, but she was badly injured. Lacerations on her hindquarters and injuries to her legs indicated that one coyote attempted to incapacitate her while the other coyote viciously attacked her, piercing her throat. Several puncture wounds on Stella's neck just narrowly avoided her jugular vein, which spared the dogs life. While Ms. Querim stayed behind with her younger son, Matthew and his father took Stella to an emergency vet trip, where she was treated with sutures and a drainage tube. The veterinarians office confirmed that the dog was lucky to be alive. Unfortunately, the chaotic scene left young Matthew covered in Stella's blood and saliva, which means that he will have to undergo a months worth of painful rabies injections, just in case the animals were rabid. According to Ms. Querim, this is a preventative measure and the coyotes were likely not rabid, since they were acting exactly like hungry coyotes would. Typically, a coyote will stay away from places where humans dwell, and they can be easily scared by loud noises. According to the Massachusetts Department of Wildlife website, coyotes are scavengers that will occasionally attack family pets. This is more likely to happen in winter when food is scarce. Coyotes are a protected species, and can only be removed when it can be proven that they are habituated, which means that they are more aggressive and no longer afraid of people. Even then, residents have to call the Animal Control Officer (ACO) to have threatening coyotes removed.  Mattapoisett ACO Kathy Massey was unaware of the attack until a week later. She was appalled that the vets office didn't contact her in regards to the attack, since by law Stella was supposed to undergo quarantine and observation for a minimum of 45 days, even if she was up-to-date with her rabies shots. The only way a pet can legally return to their home after an attack is if the wild animal is caught and tests negative for rabies. Officer Massey said that coyotes will always be present and residents have to learn to live with them. Marion ACO Susan Connor agreed with Officer Massey, and said that coyotes are a permanent threat to family pets, especially since leg-trapping has been banned. For the Querims, they just want their ordeal to be a cautionary tale to Tri-Town residents. They encourage others to keep an eye out for coyotes and to never let pets or children out of sight, especially after sunset.  They also warn residents to not leave dogs on leads out in the yard, because that makes the dog defenseless.

    The Massachusetts Department of Wildlife also encourages residents to make their garbage inaccessible, and to seal off crawl spaces around the yard where coyotes can roost.  Residents who do experience problems with coyotes should contact their ACO. In Mattapoisett: ACO Kathy Massey at 508-758-4100 ext. 202; in Marion, ACO Susan Connor at 508-748-1212; and in Rochester, ACO Anne Estabrook at 508-763-5112.
    By Anne OBrien-Kakley


    Dog killed in Hampden coyote attack    (back to top)
    ABC 40/FOX6 Springfield - Caitlin Penndorf
    Hampden MA - Oct 28, 2009

    HAMPDEN, Mass. (WGGB) -- A Hampden resident has reported to police that a coyote severely attacked her dog Tuesday afternoon, according to Chief Jeff W. Farnsworth. [SEE VIDEO HERE]. The resident, who lives on Oak Knoll Drive, reported she heard her four-month-old Bassett Hound yelping in her yard. Upon further inspection, she found her dog was pinned underneath a full grown coyote, according to officials.  A guest at the home kicked the coyote, leading it to flee into the woods, according to reports. The Bassett Hound was taken to the Boston Road Animal Hospital where it died of injuries from the attack, according to Farnsworth.  Hampden police and the Environmental police investigated the area but were unable to find the coyote. Police warn residents to be alert when out walking their animals and to not leave small pets unattended in the yard.


    Coyotes Kill Woman on Hike in Canadian Park   (back to top)
    AP - Associated Press
    ABC NEWS STORY - October 28, 2009

    Nova Scotia, Canada - Two coyotes attacked a promising young musician as she was hiking alone in a national park in eastern Canada, and authorities said she died Wednesday of her injuries. The victim was identified as Taylor Mitchell, 19, a singer-songwriter from Toronto who was touring her new album on the East Coast.  She was hiking solo on a trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia on Tuesday when the attack occurred. She was airlifted to a Halifax hospital in critical condition and died Wednesday morning, authorities said.
    Coyotes, which also are known as prairie wolves, are found from Central America to the United States and Canada.  Wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft said coyote attacks are extremely rare because the animals are usually shy. Bancroft, a retired biologist with Nova Scotia's Department of Natural Resources, said it's possible the coyotes thought Mitchell was a deer or other prey.  ''It's very unusual and is not likely to be repeated,'' Bancroft said. ''We shouldn't assume that coyotes are suddenly going to become the big bad wolf.''  Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Brigdit Leger said other hikers heard Mitchell's screams for help on Tuesday and called emergency police dispatchers.  Police who were in the area reached the scene quickly and shot one of the animals, apparently wounding it. But the wounded animal and a companion coyote managed to get away.  Paul Maynard of Emergency Health Services said Mitchell already was in critical condition when paramedics arrived on the scene and had multiple bite wounds over her entire body.  ''She was losing a considerable amount of blood from the wounds,'' he said. An official with Parks Canada said they blocked the entrance to the trail where Mitchell was attacked and were trying to find the animals to determine what prompted such an unusual attack.  ''There's been some reports of aggressive animals, so it's not unknown,'' said Helene Robichaud, the park's superintendent. ''But we certainly never have had anything so dramatic and tragic.''
    Mitchell was an up-and-coming folk and country musician who was nominated for a 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award in the Young Performer of the Year category.  ''Words can't begin to express the sadness and tragedy of losing such a sweet, compassionate, vibrant, and phenomenally talented young woman,'' Lisa Weitz, Mitchell's manager, said in an e-mail. ''She just turned 19 two months ago, and was so excited about the future.''



    Rabid skunk in Derry bites dog    (back to top)
    Derry, MA October 23, 2009
    Eagle, North Andover MA [STORY]
    By Eric Parry

    DERRY MA Police are warning residents to keep an eye on family pets and young children after a dog was bitten by a rabid skunk earlier this week.  The skunk was killed by the dog's owner as he tried to stop the rabid animal from biting his dog, according to police. The dog only received minor injuries from the bite outside a Collette's Grove home Monday. The skunk is the only recent confirmed rabid animal in the area, according to the Derry Animal Control Department. Animal owners should supervise their pets while outside and keep their pets' rabies vaccinations up to date. Young children should be supervised while outdoors. Parents should remind their children that wild animals should not be approached. The most common animals infected with rabies are raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes and coyotes.  SClB Chasing pets and people and other symptoms typical of illness are indicators an animal could be infected with rabies. Time of day is not an accurate indicator of an animal infected with rabies, according to police.


    Beaver fever found in spring   (back to top)
    By Conor Berry
    North Adams Transcript [MA] -10/03/2009

    Pittsfield, MA - A Pittsfield woman is among those who unwittingly drank tainted water from a Stephentown, N.Y., spring along Route 22 near the Hancock town line.  The Rensselaer County Health Department last month ordered the spring to be closed after roughly a dozen people succumbed to "beaver fever" -- an parasite caused intestinal disorder formally known as Giardiasis. Charline Powell, 74, of Lenox Avenue, made just one fateful trip to the spring in late August. But she spent the better half of September keeled over in pain, she said, as gut-wrenching nausea and diarrhea wreaked havoc on her health. Powell, who waited 11 days before seeking medical attention, said it was the worst gastrointestinal pain she had ever experienced. "You think you're getting better, then it starts all over again," she said, noting that she weathered three cycles of the virulent illness before seeing a doctor.  "I would'nt wish this on my worst enemy," she said. Powell said she filled 15 empty gallon jugs at the Stephentown spring. She said she drank the water and used it to make coffee. "My friend and I both drank some at the well and took turns filling bottles with other people stopping there," she said. Powell said those who stopped to fill up bottles and jugs hailed from Massachusetts, New York and Vermont. Powell said her treatment included taking a course of antibiotics. "Now, Im totally over with it," she said. After she took ill, she said, she returned to the spring and noticed the well site had been fenced off. A sign from the Rensselaer County Health Department warned people not to drink from the spring, but no explanation was given, according to Powell.  "I then talked to a few locals and found they had been at the well and were not feeling well since," Powell said. "They did not connect their sickness with the water, so I explained what could be their problem and [urged them] to see a [doctor]."  Powell said she lost nearly seven pounds after being stricken by beaver fever. "That's the only good thing about it," she said. "I have never been so sick in my entire life, I tell you." The spring site, which was officially dismantled last month, is located about one-quarter mile north of the intersection of routes 22 and 43, according to Christopher J. Meyer, a public information officer for Rensselaer County.  Health officials are urging anyone who may have bottled water at the site to discard that water immediately. The site is popular with Berkshire County residents, Meyer said. The disorder is known as beaver fever because the animals feces entering the water can unleash the parasite. "Beavers are a contributing factor for giardiasis," said Malcolm Speicher, the president of the Massachusetts Trappers Association.  Speicher said beaver dams typically slow down the flow of water, particularly in rivers and streams, which causes pH and bacteria levels to rise. He said anyone who then drinks that water is susceptible to the intestinal illness, which is caused by a microscopic parasite called Giardia lamblia.


    Lawrence, 2 pesky beavers wage war - Dam near roadway at heart of battle  (back to top)
    By David Abel
    Boston Globe Article / September 29, 2009

    Lawrence MA - The beaver dam at Den Rock Park in Lawrence caused water to flood onto a section of nearby Route 114. The beaver dam at Den Rock Park in Lawrence caused water to flood onto a section of nearby Route 114.  Beavers have long battled humans over the flow of water, and they usually end up on the losing side. But a pair of the aquatic rodents plying a patch of wetlands in Lawrence were so crafty that they apparently outwitted state officials, at least briefly.  In the past few weeks, a dam built by the long-residing duo in the wetlands adjacent to Den Rock Park sent water flooding onto nearby Route 114.  Officials from the Massachusetts Highway Department moved in with backhoes and breached the dam to drain the flooded road, which was experiencing dangerous driving conditions.  But as often happens in such struggles with beavers, the numbers of which have increased dramatically in the past decade in Massachusetts, the animals quickly rebuilt their dam.  The smart-thinking officials decided to fight back by sticking a long, plastic pipe through the dam, which accomplished the same goal as before, again draining the road and lowering the water level in the surrounding pond.  But the indefatigable beavers weren't fooled. They ripped off some tree branches and used mud to clog the pipes small opening.  Its certainly not uncommon to have to breach a beaver dam multiple times, said Adam Hurtubise, a spokesman for the Highway Department.  But this time, they had to build a cage around the pipe to keep the beavers at bay and allow the water to flow through the culvert beneath Route 114 and into the Shawsheen River.  The frustration experienced by state officials isn't uncommon where nature meets development, and the aggravation is often intense for local officials such as Tennis Lilly, chairman of the Lawrence Conservation Commission.  He often finds himself trying to placate angry homeowners who may have had their basement or driveway flooded. He also has to ensure nature takes its course.  I have never taken as much grief over anything as I have with beavers, Lilly said. They are very unpopular animals.  Beavers have multiplied since the state banned leg-hold traps in 1997. There are now an estimated 60,000 to 90,000 beavers in Massachusetts, up from about 10,000 a decade ago, Lilly said.  The rise in their population has created more conflicts as they encroach on development. But Lilly has a responsibility to preserve the ecosystem and notes that the dams beavers build help attract more wildlife to the area.  He said Den Rock Park is now home to more swallows, herons, wood ducks, mallards, spotted salamanders, wood turtles, frogs, river otters, and mink, among other wildlife, than it had been in years.  Beavers have an impact well beyond their presence, he said. The key is we need to learn to coexist.


    Gloucester Man Links Water Woes To Broken Dam   (back to top)
    September 3, 2009


    Gloucester, MA - Gregg Smith of Citizens for Public safety thinks a partially destroyed beaver dam may be the reason for the Gloucester's contaminated drinking water.  After two weeks, there's no end in sight to the Gloucester water ban. Residents are still under an order to boil their drinking water because of the presence of coliform bacteria.  One resident has a theory on what's causing the problem -- just a simple theory, but a pretty good one. We went first to Babson Reservoir, main source for the city's' drinking water.  Then, another walk, to the possible source of the problem: a broken beaver dam. Someone partially destroyed the dam sometime over the summer. As a result, mucky water rushed downstream and eventually made it into the reservoir.  "Thirty to 50 acres, three feet deep," Smith said.  "Since the city hasn't come up with their own ideas, I'm just putting this one out."  City officials say they are looking into it. "That information has been passed along to the  scientists and the chemists who are investigating this," Deputy Fire Chief Miles Schlichte said. "Along with a couple of other possibilities that citizens have phoned in."  As far as the crisis goes, the latest water test results are better, but not good enough to lift the boil order.  "It has been very frustrating," Mayor Carolyn Kirk said. "It's been frustrating for the citizens of Gloucester and very disruptive to the business  community."  Meanwhile, Gregg Smith is hoping his beaver-dam theory gets checked out. "It's just all the particles coming down at once, clogging the filtration system," he explained. "It's all pretty nasty."  Today the federal government got involved, sending people from the Environmental Protection Agency.  They have toured several sites. The mayor tells us they feel they have a working theory, but no answers yet.

    Also see these stories from the Gloucester Times:

    And then there was 1

    Boil order lifted - for most
    Coliform hits down to 1; city warns of fluctuation, boil order stays


    Coyotes terrorize Dartmouth neighborhood   (back to top)

    By Curt Brown
    September 03, 2009 12:00 AM

    Dartmouth, MA - Residents in a rural, wooded section of town say they're being terrorized by coyotes that have killed farm animals, menaced a woman from her front porch, attacked a family pet and brazenly snatched children's toys from a quiet backyard.  "I used to walk alone in the woods. I won't do that anymore," said Jeanne St. Jean of Collins Corner Road, located in the northwest corner of Dartmouth, near the Fall River line.  "I won't go. No way," St. Jean said. On Wednesday, a frustrated Frank Gwozdz [SEE VIDEO HERE], owner of Dream at Last Farm, 567 Collins Corner Road, stood near the remains of a goat that was killed Tuesday night and talked about his losses.  He said coyotes have killed 24 of his livestock in the past year four calves, two adult cows, 14 young goats, two lambs and two sheep.  In the past two weeks alone, coyotes have killed two goats and a sheep all within the confines of the animals' fenced pens.  Gwozdz, who raises the livestock for food and market, estimates the attacks have taken about $10,000 worth of animals from the farm, which he has owned for 35 years.  Laura Hajduk, a wildlife biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, acknowledged coyotes can be fearsome and won't hesitate to attack other animals. But she said humans shouldn't be intimidated by them.  "Don't let them get to you. Yell, wave your arms, let them know you're around," she said. "They have a natural fear of people."  Hajduk said part of the problem is that coyotes have grown increasingly accustomed to the sights and sounds of human activity such as car horns, people talking and automobiles starting.  "Harassment" is the key to getting rid of coyotes, combined with a concerted effort to eliminate things such as pet food or garbage that can attract them, she said.  "It's kind of a neighborhood effort," Hajduk said. "If one person and only one person does it, it won't be effective."  Jason Gwozdz, whose parents own Dream at Last Farm, has another solution. On Aug. 8, he shot a coyote that had attacked Nikki, his 9-year-old black Labrador retriever, and also shot another coyote that was acting menacingly around a cow on the farm.  Gwozdz, a hunter, said he won't hesitate to shoot again. "They're wiping out all the livestock," he said. "How much can one man take?"  He is also worried that, "if they are getting that crazy during the day, they will go after a kid next. ... Enough is enough."  Hajduk said while coyote attacks on humans have occurred, they are "very rare." There have been three attacks on humans in the 50 years coyotes have been documented in the state and two of them were by rabid coyotes, she said.  Residents of Collins Corner Road aren't about to take any chances. One person said she was trapped in her car by coyotes in her yard while another said they terrorized her from her porch.  Gwozdz's wife, Kristen, is reluctant to allow their two children to play outside after the coyote attacked their dog during a family barbecue on their 714 Collins Corner Road property.  Neighbors said coyotes have become "very comfortable" in that area. "I don't see that they're scared," said Gloria Bancroft, who lives at 748 Collins Corner Road.  Bancroft said their presence has stopped her from walking the hiking trails near her home and she won't allow her pet outside unless it is on a leash. The brazen animals have even stolen children's toys from her backyard.  Wendy Henderson, Dartmouth's health director, said officials are aware of the coyote attack on the Gwozdzes' dog but hadn't heard about the attacks on the livestock or the nuisance complaints of overly aggressive behavior by coyotes.  Collins Corner Road residents acknowledged they have not reported these incidents to Dartmouth's animal control officer because they don't think the town can do anything about the coyotes.  As for the Gwozdz family, everyone is grateful that Nikki is now recovering after three surgeries. "She looks really good.  Everything is healing," Kristen Gwozdz said. That said, the family is now grappling with nearly $7,000 in veterinary bills. Kristen said that, at one point during treatment, the family was asked whether they wanted to have the dog euthanized. Gwozdz was adamant. She did not even though it meant borrowing the money from her in-laws.  She believes the coyote might have attacked their children had Nikki not intercepted it about 150 feet from her house. "They were circling each other. She would not let that coyote in the yard," Gwozdz said. "If this dog did save my children, how can you not save the dog?" she asked.


    Foxes spotted off Highland Avenue   (back to top)
    The Salem News Online story
    By Tom Dalton, Staff writer

    September 01, 2009

    Salem, MA - The city may start setting traps for foxes after getting reports of a number of the wild animals near Highland Avenue.
    One fox, which has lost much of its fur, has sparked concern by residents who spotted it in that area. "He's been floating around quite a bit," Animal Control Officer Don Famico said. "We're going to maybe trap it. ... Once we get him, we'll have somebody look to see if he's suffering in any way."  Famico said he has spoken to officials from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and been told the animal may have mange, a skin condition, but most likely is not a threat to the public. He was told the hairless fox, however, may not make it through a cold winter.  "It's kind of sickly looking ... but Fisheries and Wildlife says it's ... not a major problem." Foxes have been spotted near the Fairweather Apartments, Collins Middle School, Gallows Hill and the police station, Famico said.  "Across from Salem Hospital, there were several families," he said. "There have been several complaints about the one without the hair running around."  This summer, fox attacks have been reported in Lawrence and Brockton. In both cities, captured foxes were found to be rabid. There have been no similar incidents here.  Famico said he plans to talk to the Animal Rescue League and state officials before setting any traps.


    Flooding raises health concerns   (back to top)
    By Jennifer Solis
    The Newburyport News

    August 26, 2009


    WEST NEWBURY, MA - Residents living near the old town dump off Georgetown Road fear flooding caused by beaver dams is dangerously close to contaminating their water supply.  But despite urging from the local health agent since June that the dams be breached immediately, state officials say they have yet to conclusively determine the severity of the problem.  Because the land is owned by the state's Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the town needs permission to go onto it to remove the dams.  The old landfill, which was clay-capped in 1986, has been plagued by flooding - likely due to beaver activity - since early last spring. Concerned that contaminants from the site might leach into their well water, residents alerted Health Agent Paul Sevigny, the Board of Selectmen and Mass Fisheries & Wildlife about the problem last April.  "As a lifelong resident who used to make weekly trips to the landfill before it was closed, I can confirm that there is all kinds of dangerous gunk buried there cars, chemicals and other hazardous waste," Kevin Mullen, 118 Georgetown Road, said when reached for comment on Monday.  Sevigny conducted four site visits in June, concluding that three major beaver dams located to the south of the landfill were causing excessive flooding in the vegetated wetlands nearby. The dams need to be removed to allow the natural flow of water to resume and recede away from the landfill.  "Based on the numerous site visits and data gathered, it is the Board of Health's opinion that the rising water level adjacent to the landfill is creating a public health threat," he wrote in a letter to Patricia Huckery, district manager for the Mass. Division of Fisheries & Wildlife dated June 29.  Sevigny, who also contacted the state Department of Health about the problem, also noted that elevated levels of standing water poised an increased risk for mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis.  When contacted yesterday for a comment for this story, Huckery said all questions should be directed to Sevigny or to the division's press department.  "As far as we are concerned, this is an emergency that requires immediate action, and we are dumbfounded as to why it isn't being treated as such. I mean, if someone from the Board of Health told you that your drinking water may become poisoned, wouldn't you expect it to be taken care of right away?" Mullen asked.  In July, the Mass Department of Environmental Protection sent out solid waste engineer Dave Adams to determine if flooding in the area caused by the dams was a threat to neighboring household wells. Adams was involved with the closure of the landfill in 1986.  In an e-mail to Sevigny dated Aug. 6, John Carrigan, the Solid Waste section chief at DEP, noted that Adams did not observe anything during his site visit that immediately suggested the higher water level threatens the integrity of the landfill cap. In addition, he noted that no data has been provided relative to the private wells or the groundwater conditions at the site regarding the potential for the groundwater flow from the landfill to be intercepted by the wells. A review of the aerial photographs suggests that the wells may be cross gradient and not down gradient of the landfill, Carrigan concluded.  Sevigny then requested a second site review with the engineer to highlight his concerns.  "Paul donned his waders to demonstrate that the protective landfill barrier is under 2-plus feet of water, and the test wells are similarly inundated. After about an hour of discussion in the swamp, Dave reluctantly, sort of, agreed that there is a potential health threat," said Mullen, who also attended the site walk.  However, when reached for comment yesterday, DEP's Ed Coletta said only that Adams is "currently reviewing the information and data that he has collected and has not reached any final conclusions to date."  But residents of Georgetown Road want less talk and more action. "We've already lost several months because of all the bureaucracy. Meanwhile the water level continues to rise and so does our level of concern," Mullen said. "The solution is simple: Once the beaver dams are breached, the natural flow of water will resume, and the health threat will go away."


    Lawrence police kill fox that bit man. Victim awaits results of rabies tests   (back to top)

    By Yadira Betances August 26, 2009 | The Eagle Tribune

    LAWRENCE, MA - Edin Tellez is anxiously awaiting test results to determine if a fox that attacked and bit him on his left arm yesterday had rabies. If so, Tellez, 39, would have to receive a series of rabies vaccinations.  Unchecked, the disease can be fatal.  "I was surprised to see it.  I've seen them in the wild and I never thought I'd be attacked by one, especially in the city," Tellez said yesterday.  Tellez and his brother Oscar were at 18 Towerhill St. to help clean the backyard of their cousin Rigoberto and his wife, Carmen. Carmen Tellez said she was sitting on the front stoop when she saw the fox walking on the back of the retaining wall. "I've never seen one before so I was excited," Carmen Tellez said.  Just a few feet away, Edin Tellez was sitting on the sidewalk cleaning a weed whacker, when the fox clung to his left arm. Tellez grabbed the animal by the neck, but not before it left four bloody teeth marks on his arm.  The fox then began to circle Tellez's younger brother, Oscar Tellez, who fell to the ground but was not bitten. When Lawrence police Officer John Tully arrived, Edin Tellez was bleeding from the left arm. He was treated by Patriot Ambulance workers and later went to Lawrence General Hospital, where he was treated and released. In his police report, Tully wrote the fox was hiding under a deck in the rear of 73 Oregon Ave., when it cornered him. "The fox came out from under the deck and started circling me, making low growling noises and showing its teeth," Tully wrote.  "The fox was blocking my only escape path as I had walls to my rear and left and the house in front of me." Tully said the animal charged him and he had to fire his service weapon twice striking the fox on the side and the spine before the ordeal ended. Sgt. Carleton Trombly, who also was at the scene, said animal control took the fox to the MSPCA to have it tested for rabies. "He believed it to be out of its mind," Trombly wrote in his report about Tully's description of the fox. Meanwhile, Edin Tellez received a tetanus shot and was prescribed antibiotics at the hospital. Michael Keiley, manager of the Noble Family Animal Care & Adoption Center at the MSPCA's Nevins Farm in Methuen was not surprised that a fox was roaming the city.  "It's not rare at all. What we are aware of is that as we expand human dwelling, their interaction with humans is much more common," Keiley said. "Wildlife is all around us and it's important for people to keep a good distance and not approach them."


    Dartmouth coyote attack brings attention to predator population   (back to top)

    August 17, 2009 12:00 AM


    DARTMOUTH, MA - One thing is known about coyotes: There are definitely plenty of them in Massachusetts. One thing is not known: just how many of them there actually are.  A coyote attack on a family dog in Dartmouth earlier this month refocused attention on these elusive predators who have adapted well to both urban and suburban environments. A 9-year-old black Labrador was bitten in North Dartmouth by a coyote, said Cheryl Jackson, Dartmouth's assistant animal control officer.  "It's uncertain whether the dog approached the coyote or the coyote attacked the dog first, since no one was in the yard at the time," she said. And fortunately, at 130 pounds, the Lab, which has recovered, had some layers of fat to protect it.  Nevertheless, the danger posed to family pets by coyotes is very real, particularly for smaller dogs and cats, Jackson said.  Laura Hajduk, a furbearer biologist with Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said that attacks on larger dogs generally result from coyotes attempting to protect their territory. "They would view a big dog as a territorial invader, and coyotes will actively defend their territory."  While coyotes are well-established in Massachusetts, populations are difficult to estimate, Hajduk said. "But they tend to be self-regulating. If food is scarce one year, they won't have as many pups." There are more sightings during the summer, since both coyotes and humans are more active, she said.  "Coyotes have their pups in the spring, so at this time of the year they are trying to feed an entire family as well as showing the pups how to hunt."  Once they establish a territory, coyotes will patrol it, constantly looking for food and intruders and travelling up to 7 miles a day, according to Hajduk. A territory in this region could encompass 6 to 10 square miles, she said.  "We have them in the city," New Bedford's animal control officer Manny Maciel said. "They come from Dartmouth and all over. They will travel a good distance at night. A lot of the calls we get are from the Route 140 and Hathaway Road area because they hang around the transfer station." However, they are usually not too common in more populated areas, he said.  "We tell people to keep their trash covered. If they can't get food they will move on. In fact, we have a saying: 'A fat coyote is a dead coyote,'" Maciel said, relating the story of a coyote that took up residence in Brooklawn Park in the city's North End about 10 years ago.  "People were feeding it. They meant well, but if you feed a wild animal it loses its fear of humans and the next thing that happens is it begins to approach people," he said. "Six months later, it was coming out at (a nearby) school and we had to get a guy from Fish and Wildlife to remove it."


     'Lucky' Jasper the cat survives coyote attack Family warns 'it can happen to anyone'   (back to top)

    By Bethany Bray Staff Writer
    The Andover Townsman - August 13, 2009

    ANDOVER, MA - Jasper the cat may have gone through a couple of his nine lives recently.  The 4-year-old domestic short hair cat of the Mintz family on Starwood Drive was attacked by a coyote last weekend. He managed to escape the coyote's grasp, and is on the mend after a few stitches and an evening at an animal hospital.  The Mintz family - Claudia, Howard and their children Isaac, 10, Jesse, 8 and Hannah, 6 - say they are very happy to have Jasper back, and are spreading the word that coyote attacks are a real danger in Andover.  "I was somewhat cavalier about coyotes because I had never seen one myself. Even though it was in the back of my mind, I didn't hesitate to let my cat out," said Claudia. "I realize now that it can happen to anyone. Just because I didn't see coyotes, it doesn't mean that they're not there. I assumed we were immune to it, but we weren't."  The Mintzes did not see Jasper's coyote attack, but Howard did notice a coyote in their backyard around 4 p.m. on Saturday Aug. 1, and later discovered Jasper's wounds. After the family had taken Jasper to the animal hospital, the coyote returned the next day, probably to finish the job and the meal that got away, said Claudia.  Starwood Crossing is a single street cul-de-sac off Greenwood Road. The Mintzes backyard abuts a wooded area. In July, Andover police issued a special warning to pet owners, after two dogs were attacked and carried away by coyotes in the span of two weeks. Coyote sightings and attacks have continued through the summer, say police, and residents are asked not to leave pets tied outside, unattended, or to feed pets outdoors.  Claudia says her family will keep Jasper inside from now on, and keep close supervision on their dog Sabrina, a lab mix, whenever she goes out. The Mintzes three children were upset by Jasper's attack, and understand that he needs to stay inside, even though he doesn't like it.  "I explained to the kids that he would be in danger again. They understand that Jasper was very lucky," said Claudia. "They now call him the mighty cat. He got away from the jaws of death." Staff at a North Andover animal hospital confirmed Jasper's injuries were coyote puncture wounds, said Claudia. Even though Jasper had just had a round of vaccinations, he will have to be quarantined at the Mintz home for 45 days, according to animal control protocol.  "The vet said it was very unusual that he survived. Somehow, Jasper was able to get away," said Claudia. "He fought and got away from that coyote, and boy he was very lucky." On Tuesday, July 21, a Stouffer Circle resident called police to report that his poodle was taken by a coyote from his yard in the early morning.  Earlier in July, a dog was plucked from a yard off Dascomb Road by a coyote when the owner let the dog out in the early morning. A second attack happened on the trails around Haggetts Pond, when a local woman let her dog off leash to run.



    Attacking fox is killed after 2 people bitten in Whitman   (back to top)


    By Jack Nicas, Globe Correspondent | August 11, 2009
    Boston Globe

    WHITMAN, MA - A fox crime spree in Whitman may have come to an end yesterday at the hands of a rake-wielding resident.
    I whacked him over the head with an iron rake, said John Watt, 42, who was checking on his pet rabbits when the fox came at him about 7 a.m. The blow with the rake was fatal.  The animal, possibly rabid, is believed to have triggered seven police calls in Whitman on Sunday, during a rampage that left two people bitten, police said.  I believe its probably the same one, but I'm not positive because there's a den of them out there, said Robert Hammond, the towns animal control officer.  The trouble began just before 2 p.m. Sunday on Brigham Street, where six toddlers were playing in a backyard. The homes owner, Tom Shannon, said a fox was lying in the shade of a pop-up camper.  I've seen [the fox] two or three times before, he said, but always at night and never this close. About 30 minutes later, a fox startled Cynthia Dorchester, 66, in her Franklin Street backyard. She threw a 5-pound bag of fertilizer at the canine, which it caught in its mouth, giving Dorchester time to get away.  He was aggressive. I saw his teeth and he was ready to attack, said Dorchester, who has never seen a fox in her 62 years in Whitman. If I hadn't had that bag in my hand, he would've gotten me.  Down the street less than an hour later, Jeannie Kenney was waxing her car when she was bitten in the buttocks, piercing her skin. She received seven shots for rabies yesterday as a precaution. I was bending down and next thing I know he was on my butt, she said. It was just a little nip; there was some blood on my shorts.  It is unclear whether the incidents stem from the same fox. Hammond said that, based on the animals actions, one of the towns foxes has gone bad. . . . All the symptoms say to me that its rabies.  Whitman police Officer Frank O'Rourke believes multiple foxes are menacing the area. There's probably more than one, he said. The way they were traveling [Sunday] night, this fox had to have his best Nike sneakers on to travel that fast.  Four more sightings, two on Winter Street, one on Hickey Hollow Lane, and one on Franklin Street, came between 4 and 9:30 p.m. on Sunday. In one Winter Street case, a fox attacked a mans foot, puncturing his sneaker but not his skin.  Later that night, Hammond, 68, shot at a fox. I may have hit it, but I'm not sure, he said, adding: It rolled over, then got up and ran off. The body of the fox killed yesterday did not have a bullet wound, according to Hammond. He said hell send the body to be tested for rabies, but because the carcass was left out in the sun all day - Watt killed it at 7 a.m. and reported it 11 hours later - the results may be inconclusive.  O'Rourke said that although foxes do inhabit the town, he has never heard of an attack during his 35 years of duty. But not even on my best days would I trust one, he said.


    Rabid Skunk attacks Norfolk man   (back to top)


    Wicked Local Norfolk

     Heather McCarron/Staff writer July 30, 2009


    NORFOLK, MA - A 70-year resident of Priscilla Avenue was attacked by a rabid skunk Sunday afternoon after he attempted to shoo the animal off his property, according to Animal Control Officer Hilary Cohen. The skunk went after the man, who had swatted at it with his crutches, around 2 p.m. Sunday, even pursuing him into his home, nestled in a wooded area near the former Norfolk Airport. The skunk bit the mans shoes, pant legs and crutches; it is unclear whether the skunk drew blood, since the man declined treatment, Cohen said. "Basically, he saw the skunk in his yard and went outside to shoo it away and it attacked him," said Cohen, who is not identifying the man. "He's somewhat disabled, so by the time he could get away from it the skunk chased him inside. He somehow managed to get the skunk back outside. He said he basically cornered it with his crutches and kept shooing it back out." Cohen arrived following a 911-call, and had two encounters with the creature before shooting it dead. First, as the skunk came at her, she grabbed a snow shovel that was on the lawn, scooped the advancing skunk up and flung it away. At that point, the animal scurried off into the undergrowth, but then came back as Cohen was looking for it. She ended up shooting it three times. Cohen said she hasn't often seen a manifestation of furious rabies, but this skunk clearly had been driven mad by the illness. "This animal had the classic foaming of the mouth, he was very aggressive and he was intent to chase people and hurt them," she said. The remains were sent to the state Department of Public Health in Jamaica Plain for confirmation of Cohen's visual diagnosis. The results came back July 27 positive for the rabies virus, she said. A second skunk was shot at the same property on Tuesday and sent in for testing; those results were not expected back until after the Gazettes press deadline. Cohen said authorities are also working on removing numerous feral cats from the area that were interacting with the first skunk and have clearly been exposed to the virus; they will be euthanized. As of Wednesday afternoon, nine cats had been removed; one cat carcass found in the yard Sunday was also removed, but the remains were in such poor condition that testing for rabies infection could not be undertaken, Cohen said. Cohen said animals suspected of rabies are not unheard of in the town, but Sundays attack on a person is the first she has encountered in Norfolk. She said there are a lot of skunks this year that have been showing strange behavior and, in fact, another skunk on the other side of town was also put down Sunday because it was suspected of having rabies. There was no human exposure in that case. Sunday was also the day another resident was bitten by a bat; she swatted the bat away, so there was no specimen to send in for rabies testing. As a precaution, the woman is undergoing treatment for rabies, Cohen said. The Priscilla Avenue resident may also have to undergo treatment for rabies exposure which, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, includes administration of rabies immune globulin and a series of five rabies vaccine shots over the course of a months (rabies shots are no longer given in the stomach). Cohen said the mans physician and the state Department of Public Health would determine the course of action in his case. The skunk attack is the second one by a rabid animal in the area in the past week and a half. Last Wednesday, a rabid cat attacked a man in Bellingham. In the aftermath of the attack, Cohen is advising residents especially those in the Leland Road and Priscilla Avenue area of town to avoid contact with any stray cats, dogs or wildlife.  The worry is that other animals on the mans property or in the neighborhood could have been exposed to the virus. "If you live in this area and have pets, please check them over for any possible bite marks if you have allowed your animal to roam without supervision in the past week," she noted in an advisory on the town Web site. "I cannot stress enough how absolutely imperative it is for your pet to be current on their rabies vaccinations as the rabies virus is fatal if contracted." According to the state DPH, rabies is a fatal disease of the brain and spinal cord caused by a virus. "Rabies in humans is very rare in the U.S., but rabies in certain animals especially wildlife is common in many parts of the country, including Massachusetts," the DPH fact sheet on rabies states.  The rabies virus lives in the saliva and nervous tissues of infected animals and is spread when they bite or scratch. The virus can also be spread if saliva from an infected animal touches broken skin, open wounds or the lining of the mouth, nose, or eyes. It may also be possible to inhale the virus in caves crowded with infected bats. Rabies can infect any mammal, but is most common in bats, skunks, foxes, woodchucks, and raccoons. Cats, dogs and livestock can contract rabies as well, and transfer it to their owners. A rabid animal often behaves strangely after the virus begins to take effect on their brains. According to the DPH, "Rabid animals may attack people or other animals for no reason, or they may lose their fear of people and seem to be unnaturally friendly."  "Not all rabid animals act in these ways, however, so you should avoid all wild animals especially bats, skunks, foxes, and raccoons," the DPH advises. "Also, you should not feed or touch stray cats and dogs." How can you prevent rabies?   Avoid wild animals, especially bats, skunks, foxes, and raccoons. Do not feed or pet strays. Avoid any animal wild, farm or pet that you do not know. Report any animal that behaves oddly to your local animal control official.  Teach your children to avoid wildlife, strays, and all other animals they do not know well. Do not handle dead, sick, or injured wild animals yourself; call the police or animal control officer. If you must handle the animal, use heavy gloves, sticks or other tools to avoid direct contact.  Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies and that their shots are up-to-date. By law, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies.  Feed pets indoors and keep them indoors at night If they are outside during the day, keep them on a leash or fenced in so they cannot wander. It is possible for vaccinated pets to get rabies. Pets allowed to roam freely are more likely to get rabies and possibly expose people and other pets in your home.  Fasten trash can lids tightly. Garbage attracts animals (like skunks, raccoons, and strays) looking for an easy meal.  It is against state law to keep wild animals such as skunks or raccoons as pets. There are no rabies vaccines for most wild species.  Cap your chimney with screens and block openings in attics, cellars, and porches to keep wild animals like bats and raccoons out of your home.  If you have bats in your house, talk to a professional about bat-proofing your home.  Animal control officers, veterinarians, their assistants, and others who have a lot of contact with strays or wildlife should get routine rabies vaccinations to protect themselves before they are exposed to the virus.


    Fox attack leaves Edgewood residents edgy   (back to top)

    By Rebecca Hyman

    Tue Jul 29, 2008, 05:31 PM EDT

     Wicked Local News - Bridgewater

    BRIDGEWATER, MA - The residents of High Pond Estates are on high alert since a rabid fox shattered the calm of their peaceful neighborhood.  The state Department of Public Health confirmed the fox that attacked 71-year-old Shirley Doyle tested positive for rabies.  Doyle, who is receiving a course of rabies shots, said she's still shaken by the incident.  When she went for a recent walk, her daughter insisted she take a gardening claw with her just in case.  And she's not alone. She saw a couple of neighbors in the manufactured home community carrying big sticks as they strolled along.  And someone posted a sign at the entrance to the development notifying people of the attack.  Doyle, of 4 Edgewood Drive, credits the bravery and quick thinking of her neighbor Norman Millikan, of 2 Edgewood Drive, with saving her life.  She recounts how she had just been out for a walk and was cutting across her trim front lawn on the evening of Saturday, July 12, when she thought she saw a silvery-gray cat trotting down her tranquil street, which is lined with woods on one side.  Suddenly, the animal charged toward her, lunged at her ankle, sunk its teeth in and pulled her down to the ground.  Its teeth felt like razor blades, she said.  The 71-year-old grandmother managed to push the fox off with her sandal, but he swung around and grabbed the back of her leg, and this time she couldn't shake him.  She lay on the ground struggling with the frenzied animal and screaming for help. But it was a hot night and her neighbors had their air conditioners on. She feared no one would hear her calls. Her blood was all over the lawn.  I thought I was going to die. The pain was so bad, I thought I was going to pass out, Doyle said.  One house down, Millikan was watching Dial M for Murder with his wife when he remembered he hadn't locked his truck, an unusual occurrence.  As he headed out to take care of it, Millikan heard Doyles screams. At first he thought it was just her grandchildren playing in the sprinkler.  Then he spotted Doyle lying on the ground.  God was there. He sent him to me, Doyle said.  He didn't hesitate.  Millikan grabbed the fox by the tail and threw it into the street. He expected the animal to run into the woods, but instead it came after him. It lunged at him three or four times, finally grabbing hold of his pant leg.  That's when the retired mental health worker made his move. As the fox's mouth was occupied, Millikan got his foot on the animals neck, grabbed its tail with his right hand and its hind legs with his left.  Millikan managed to hold the fox down until firefighters arrived and killed it with the blunt end of an ax.  I cant say enough about how wonderful the care has been, from the emergency personnel on the scene to the staff at Brockton Hospital, Doyle said.  All along the animal was making an eerie sound and fighting to get free.  He wasn't giving up, Doyle said.  But neither was Millikan.  Doyle says Millikan is her hero, but he shrugs it off.  She would have done the same for me. You don't stop to think, you just act, he said.  Doyle, who's lived on Edgewood Drive for two-and-a-half years, and Millikan, who's lived there for 19 years, said they've occasionally seen brown foxes before, but they were always shy and ran away, the opposite of the one that attacked her.  Millkan said he's a little more cautious outdoors since the incident.  This fox was rabid. It doesn't mean he was the only one, Millikan said.  Doyle had a nightmare a few days ago the fox was at the foot of her bed tearing at her legs, which are both bandaged and bruised.  She awoke to find shed been kicking at the covers as she struggled with the animal in her sleep.  Doyle will get a total of five shots, one per week.  Millikan said his doctors advised him he doesn't need the shots since the fox did not break his skin.  Despite the shots, Doyle said she's frightened shell contract rabies.  Health officials suspected from the start the fox was rabid, but finding out for sure still came as a shock, she said.  But Doyle reminds herself her doctors have assured her shell be fine.  I am going to by OK. I will put this behind me, she said.  But one thing she wont forget is Millikan's selfless act, she said.  He's a very easy-going, quiet guy. I don't think he wants all the attention. But he deserves it, Doyle said.


    Raynham family shocked after coyote attack leaves pet cat clinging to life   (back to top)

    By TIM FAULKNER, Staff Writer

    GateHouse News Service

    Posted Jul 27, 2009 @ 11:39 PM


    RAYNHAM, MA - Another instance of wildlife migration into a residential neighborhood occurred last week when a coyote attacked a cat belonging to a Cynthia Drive family.  At about 11 p.m. Thursday, Lynda and Rick Rose were searching outside their home for their 12-year-old house cat, Wren, when they heard the cat wailing as it was snatched up by a coyote.  Rick Rose yelled at the animal as he ran from the back deck with a golf club, causing the frightened animal to drop the white, 20-pound cat and run into an open area along a power line behind the house.  Wren was treated for severe bruises and several puncture wounds at an animal hospital in Bridgewater. Back home and feeding through an intravenous tube, the cats survival is very uncertain, Lynda Rose said.  Since the attack, her 12-year-old daughter locks the doors at night and has been afraid to leave the house. It's stressful, Rose said.  She has sighted the gray coyote several times this year, once at about 10 a.m. on nearby Pleasant Street. And she worried that other pets in the neighborhood are at risk. If it keeps getting animals its going to keep coming, Rose said. Marion Larson, a biologist with the state  Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, said the incident will become more common if coyotes find new sources of food such as garbage, small pets and even bird feed. They're going to take any meal wherever they possibly can, Larson said. Noting that there have only been three reported attacks since coyotes were first found roaming in Massachusetts, Larson stressed that coyotes are not known to harm humans. Despite several reported coyote sighting in Raynham this year and the mauling death of a small dog on Locust Street in February, Larson said the coyote population has not dramatically increased in recent years. Rather, she said, coyotes thrive in suburban landscapes that present new sources of food. Unless humans yell and attempt to scare off coyotes, she said, encounters with the animals will be more common.  Raynham Animal Control Officer Fred Sylvia said, so far, coyotes appear to be moving around town at will. They are just looking for food and they just have no fear of people right now.


    Fox attacks shake up Brockton neighborhood   (back to top)

    Globe Staff,  July 23, 2009 02:53 PM

    By Jazmine Ulloa,

    BROCKTON, MA - Animal control officers are hunting down two foxes involved in three attacks on people this week in a neighborhood on the city's north side, Supervisor Thomas DeChellis said today.  Officers believe they may be guarding a den of pups, and the department is investigating the gender of the animals and whether they are rabid, he said.  "I have been working for 15 years in animal control," DeChillis said. "But this type of incident has never happened."  Officers are searching for a silver fox involved in two attacks and a red one that bit a third person last night, DeChellis said. But many grey foxes also have a lot of red fur, and there may be only one fox involved, said Marion Larson, a biologist with the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.   A silver fox bit the lace of Isabella Robbins's in-ine skate Monday night just as she was reaching home with her mom and 3-year-old sister, she said. Her mother Jennifer Robbins, who was walking in front of Isabella, dragged her daughter as she screamed for help. A neighbor came out and scared the fox away before the girl was bitten.  "I am never wearing those skates again," said Isabella, 9, who remains afraid to play outside.  Mary Seaver had been spreading mulch in the corner of her front garden, when a silver fox jumped out of the bushes and latched on to her ankle. Seaver screamed as she grabbed it by the scruff of its neck and pried its mouth open, she said. The fox scampered off into the bushes.  "I looked down and copious amounts of blood were spilling from my sneakers," said Seaver, who immediately called 911. "I was up shivering in fevers all night."  That night, a few houses down the street, Mary Ellen Nutting, 47, had been in her backyard garden picking some vegetables for a friend, when she heard scratching on the other side of her wooden fence. Nutting, who had seen a red fox crouching around her yard earlier, and her friend took off running toward her house. The fox chased them and bit into Nutting's ankle, while her friend ran inside, she said. Nutting began beating it with the watering hose stick she had been holding, which was the size of a golf club, until it dashed away. The symptoms displayed by the foxes are unusual and could mean the animals are distempered or have an aggressive form of rabies, Larson said. A member from their department may pay a site visit to the city tonight or early tomorrow morning to help with the search, she said.  "It is very difficult to catch a wild animal even if the attacks are happening in the same neighborhood," she said.


    Coyotes strike again; cat killed in Georgetown   (back to top)
    The Daily New Online story

    By Katie Curley - Staff writer

    July 21,2009

    Georgetown, MA - For the second time in less than a week, a coyote has claimed the life of a local pet.
    Shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday, a Clark Street resident called police reporting a coyote had come onto his porch and taken his cat away in its mouth.  The coyote headed in the direction of Moulton Street, the resident said. "Officers checked the immediate area but were unable to locate the animal," Georgetown Detective Thomas DeJoy said.  The cat's owner could not be reached for comment yesterday. Sunday's incident comes within four days of when Abbey Road resident Lisa Burke's Jack Russell terrier named Lucy was attacked and killed as Burke walked her in the Georgetown/Rowley State Forest on Wednesday morning.  A second of Burke's dogs was also injured in the attack but is recovering at home. "The coyote scooped her up and tried to carry her away," Burke said. "The coyote came toward us and caught me off guard. Our friendliest dog (Lucy) ran toward it to play with the coyote."  In the aftermath of Wednesday's attack, Burke said she hoped to urge all local residents to be on the lookout as they walked their dogs. "It wasn't dark out, and I wasn't far from the parking lot," Burke said. "I've never seen a coyote so aggressive."  In June, a Groveland woman was surrounded and chased out of the woods by a pack of coyotes while she walked her four dogs. She had been walking her dogs near Carter's Ice Cream on Haverhill's Salem Street, which extends to the old Groveland sand pits and across some strawberry fields once used as soccer fields. The woman and her dogs were not hurt in the incident, but Groveland police issued alerts to residents.  Last week Laura Hajduk, a biologist with the Massachusetts Department of Wildlife, urged residents to keep dogs close to them on leashes when walking and make sure to keep other small pets indoors at all times.  "Coyotes are naturally fearful of people," Hajduk said after Wednesday's attack. "When the dog is close to the person, they are an extension instead of a food item or another canine in someone else's territory."  Another thing dog owners can do to prevent an attack like yesterday's is to make a lot of noise if they do spot a coyote nearing their pet. "Attacks on people are very rare," Hajduk said. "We have had three in Massachusetts in more than 50 years. It is very rare coyotes are aggressive toward people."  Hajduk said making a lot of noise by clapping or banging pots and pans will scare coyotes off and always remember to rid your backyard of garbage or bird feeders, which attract predators.  "If at all possible, please keep your pets inside," DeJoy said. "A roaming pet is a target for a hungry coyote or fox. Also, please refrain from leaving food outside to feed your pet. Outside feeding will also attract coyotes and other wild animals."


    MA: Coyotes stalk woman, kill dog at Georgetown/Rowley State Forest   (back to top)

    Posted Jul 20, 2009 @ 12:32 PM


    Georgetown MA -

    Coyotes attacked and killed a dog that was walking with her owner in the Georgetown/Rowley State Forest last Wednesday morning.  Georgetown resident Lisa Burke thinks the coyotes were stalking her and her four dogs during their entire walk.  My dogs were staying unusually close to me all morning, says Burke.  I did not even see the coyotes coming they came out on the trail right in front of me and were approaching me aggressively when my dogs saw them.  By then it was too late.  Like many Georgetown dog owners, Burke liked to walk her four dogs in the forest where they could run along unleashed. On July 15, she approached the parking lot after her walk and, with all the dogs right with her, prepared to put their leashes back on before crossing the parking lot entrance. Two coyotes suddenly charged her at trail marker number 15.  The two coyotes attacked Burkes little Boston terrier Stella, and that's when Jack Russell terrier Lucy came to the rescue.  Lucy died a hero she saved Stella by jumping into the fight and attacking the coyotes when they went for Stella, says Burke, who also sent a mass  e-mail to other local dog owners as a warning about the attack. One was holding Stella by the throat and the other had her back legs. When Lucy entered the fight the coyotes dropped Stella and picked up Lucy.  Maggie [the new family boxer] protected me, another hero in my eyes. Maggie, a boxer we have only had for one month, chased the coyotes when they picked up Lucy. I picked up Lucy off the path and ran carrying her as fast as I could because I knew she was in shock. The coyotes chased me to try to get at Lucy, but Maggie kept barking and they stayed back.   I got Lucy to the vet and she was alive but she went into cardiac arrest and they couldn't save her.  I feel so bad and sad I will miss her so much. She was such a terror, but that's what I loved about her.  Her motto, I think, was It's all in the attitude.  Stella was very badly injured but, thanks to Lucy's heroic actions, is expected to survive and be OK after a few weeks.  She has a lot of puncture wounds from the coyotes teeth, and bruises on her chest from when they were carrying her away and shaking her, says Burke. Stella had her current rabies shots and she was given a booster shot. She is in quarantine at home here at home for the next 42 days.  Georgetown Animal Inspector Holly Willard stopped by to check Stella out as well.  Burke says she cant thank the Bulger Animal Hospital in North Andover enough for the care they gave Lucy and Stella.  They did everything they could for Lucy you could'nt have asked for more, says Burke. Stella is still not herself. The vets said she might be mourning for Lucy for a while she keeps looking for her.  Burke is warning dog owners to be aware of this new danger to their pets in the forest.  The Georgetown Police Report on the incident notes the attack took place in an area behind the Penn Brook School section of the forest while all the dogs were close by their owner. Burke and her other two dogs were not injured in the attack.  Georgetown Police Lt. Don Cudmore says people need to be aware of what's out there.  Any person walking in the forest should be mindful that coyotes and other wild animals are always present, and should avoid them whenever possible, says Cudmore.  He encourages residents to learn more about coyotes and other wildlife by visiting the Mass. Wildlife Web site at


    South Hadley officials hope to resolve flooding problems at Ledges Golf Club without killing beavers   (back to top)

    by The Republican Newsroom - SANDRA E. CONSTANTINE
    Friday July 17, 2009, 9:00 PM

    SOUTH HADLEY - Town officials are looking into whether they can resolve flooding at the Ledges Golf Club created by busy beavers without having to destroy the rodents.
      Interim town administrator Jennifer L. Wolowicz said on Friday that officials are working with Dr. Katherine Lannon of 22 Valley View Drive to find alternatives to trapping and killing the beavers.  Lannon is the resident who complained to the Conservation Commission recently about golf course superintendent Michael Fontaine breaching a beaver dam that had flooded a cart path near a bridge over White Brook. Fontaine took that action the weekend of June 20 because of the effect the dam had on the cart path as well as the potential of flooding affecting utility and sewer lines under the bridge.  The Conservation Commission ordered the removal of invasive species near the site because Fontaine did not get its permission to do work in a wetland. Fontaine later got a permit from the Board of Health to trap and destroy the animals.  Wolowicz said she is uncertain if the animals' lives can be spared, but that Fontaine is working on the issue. Fontaine could not be reached for comment.


    Police warn of coyotes after small dog is killed  (back to top)
    By Katie Curley - Staff writer
    July 16, 2009

    Georgetown MA - Police are urging residents to keep their dogs on leashes after one woman's dog was killed by a coyote as she walked her dogs yesterday morning.  Yesterday shortly before 9 a.m., Georgetown police received a call from a resident who reported while his wife was walking their four dogs in the Georgetown/Rowley State Forest, one of the dogs, a Jack Russell terrier, was attacked by two coyotes and severely injured.  After the incident, Detective Thomas DeJoy stated the owners of the dog were too upset to speak about the incident publicly. DeJoy said the dogs were not on leashes but were close to their owner when the coyotes approached them. The owner was not injured in the attack. The Jack Russell terrier was taken to a local animal hospital, where it later died. A second dog was also injured but is expected to make a full recovery.  The attack took place in an area behind the Penn Brook School section of the forest; the  Massachusetts Environmental Police were also advised of the incident.  "This time of year, coyotes have their pups and they are out looking for food often," said Laura Hadjuk, a biologist with the Massachusetts Department of Wildlife. "Small dogs and cats are most vulnerable. Dogs should be kept on leashes very close to the person walking it. Cats should be kept indoors."  In June, a Groveland woman was surrounded and chased out of the woods by a pack of coyotes while she walked her four dogs. She had been walking her dogs near Carter's Ice Cream on Haverhill's Salem Street, which extends to the old Groveland sand pits and across some strawberry fields once used as soccer fields. The woman and her dogs were not hurt in the incident, but Groveland police issued alerts to residents.  Jajuk said when coyotes see a dog close to an owner on a leash, they register the animal as an extension of the person. "Coyotes are naturally fearful of people," Jajuk said. "When the dog is close to the person, they are an extension instead of a food item or another canine in someone else's territory."
    Another thing dog owners can do to prevent an attack like yesterday's is to make a lot of noise if they do spot a coyote nearing their pet. "Attacks on people are very rare," Jajuk said. "We have had three in Massachusetts in more than 50 years. It is very rare coyotes are aggressive toward people."  Jajuk said making a lot of noise by clapping or banging pots and pans will scare coyotes off and always remember to rid your backyard of garbage or bird feeders, which attract predators.  "You want to discourage them," Jajuk said. "They eat just about anything: mice, rabbits, chipmunks, vegetation and garbage."


    Busy beavers adding to soppiness of the season   (back to top)
    The Boston Globe - James OBrien
    July 9, 2009

    Statewide MA - More communities must deal with beaver management issues as the animals multiply and expand their range. More communities must deal with beaver management issues as the animals multiply and expand their range. (Diane Hargreaves)Roadways flooded by blocked culverts. Backyards sopping with overflowing brooks. Septic systems filled to the bursting point.  Conservation-minded officials in the suburbs west of Boston say they dont like to make enemies of the beavers that have taken to the brooks and streams in the woods around them, but the animals are making for an even more waterlogged spring and summer.  In communities such as Westborough, Maynard, Milford, and Holliston, residents and officials are having to deal more and more with beavers and the problems they pose, as the creatures numbers and range have expanded.  If a human did what beavers do, the human would be in jail, said Paul McNulty, public health director for Westborough. Theyre nice and cute and all, but they cause a lot of damage.  The beavers build their lodges across municipal waterways, McNulty said, creating an attractive mating spot and then, theres three, four, five of them in there.  And the dams are not just flooding roads, sewers, and lawns.This is causing great damage to our wetlands, too, he said. Its getting to be a real, real problem. The town has had to set up a separate line item in the budget for beaver control.The $5,000 line item is meant to allow Westborough officials to hire licensed trappers.  According to McNulty, three such permits have been issued so far, netting what McNulty estimated were 15 to 20 beavers. Each permit is valid for 10 days, allowing a trapper to remove as many beavers as they can find at a site.  Laura Hajduk, a biologist at the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said reports of beavers damming up the suburbs come as no surprise.  When you have a certain number in an area, they have to go somewhere, Hajduk said. They may be moving into an area in which they hadnt previously been prevalent.  Beavers are a Massachusetts comeback story, according to the state agency. They vanished entirely in the state in the late 1700s as a result of hunting and deforestation.  As woodlands recovered, and after the reintroduction of the beaver in the 1930s, the population rebounded. In 1952, a regulated hunting season was implemented. Then, in 1996, a state referendum banned the quick-kill traps commonly used by hunters and researchers.  Hajduk said the beaver count tripled between 1996 - when it hovered around 20,000 - and 2001, which was the last year in which the state issued a beaver-population estimate.  Hajduk said additional changes to beaver-trapping laws came in 2000, putting the authority for trapping licenses in the hands of local governments, and thus eliminating mandatory reporting to the state.  This took away our most effective tools for beaver management, Hajduk said.


    Earlier fox bite reported nearby Unclear if attack was same animal  (back to top)


    Published: July 2, 2009


    WORCESTER MA -  Barry Blomgren called his sister Melanie Lombardi Monday night and told her she would not believe what happened to him.  He told me a fox bit him, and he was on his way to the hospital, said Ms. Lombardi, of Boylston. What makes the story even more interesting, she said, was that two others in the same neighborhood were attacked by a potentially rabid fox Tuesday.  A local man is being hailed as a hero for helping rid a West Side neighborhood of a rabid fox that attacked a 76-year-old woman outside her Mount Hope Terrace apartment Tuesday morning. The fox also attacked the rescuer.  The woman, Wenyu Chen, remained hospitalized last night from injuries suffered in the daytime attack. Robert Ford, the man who came to her rescue, was treated at a city hospital for a bite to his leg. Mr. Ford began a series of rabies shots as a precaution.


    Mr. Blomgren was outside trimming his lawn at his home at 32 Westland St. about 7:30 p.m. Monday when a fox came up behind him and bit his ankle.  It was nothing compared to those other people,  Mr. Blomgren said yesterday morning. The fox, it might have been the same one, hit me from my blind side.  The fox then attacked the pile of grass clippings in a nearby paper bag. Mr. Blomgren said he threw his weed-whacking tool at the fox to try to scare him away.  Mr. Blomgren's front door was locked, so he went around to the back and made it in the back door. The fox followed him up the stairs.  The weird thing when it happened is there were some kids in the neighborhood, and I told them to go home, Mr. Blomgren said. He said he moved to the city about 18 months ago from Rutland where nothing like this ever happened to him. His wife, who is a nurse practitioner, drove him to UMass Memorial Medical Center Memorial Campus about 8:30 that night. He did not get out of the hospital until almost 2:30 a.m. because the rabies serum for recommended shots had to be transferred from another area hospital, he said.

    Mr. Blomgren said he tried to contact a Worcester animal control officer before leaving for the hospital but got a recording that said because of budget cuts, the department no longer responds to animal control issues. As of yesterday, the start of the fiscal year, animal control is handled by the Worcester Police Department. Mr. Blomgren said hospital officials recommended he report the incident to police Tuesday morning, which he did.  While Mr. Blomgren believes the fox that bit him was the same fox that bit the other two people, he said he decided to undergo the series of rabies shots just in case that fox did not prove to be rabid and it may have been another fox that bit him. He received seven rabies shots and a tetanus shot Monday night, and will have to go back four more times for more shots.  I'm not going to take a chance, Mr. Blomgren said. I just hope this does'nt happen to anyone else. I've never heard of a fox doing this.  Dr. Florina S. Tseng, director of the wildlife clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Grafton, said the most common occurrence of rabies in animals in Central Massachusetts is in raccoons.  Maybe it (the fox) was bitten by a raccoon, Dr. Tseng said.  People in the region should use common-sense precautions, Dr. Tseng said.  I would emphasize to do everything not to attract wildlife, Dr. Tseng said. She said keep lids on trash, don't put out cat food, and do not pick up baby wild animals.  Keep your distance, especially the babies. Babies can have rabies from their mother. Please don't pick them up. And don't feed wild animals, she said.  The fox that attacked the woman and man Tuesday was euthanized. The state lab in Jamaica Plain determined it had rabies.  Mrs. Chen was listed in fair condition yesterday, according to hospital officials.   


    Beaver Dams Cause Flood Problems In Mass. Towns   (back to top)
    Bill Shields - BOSTON (WBZ 38)

    June, 16, 2009


    Beaver traps were outlawed in 1996, and now the state's beaver population has skyrocketed from 20,000 to 70,000.
    "Following those changes we did see an expanding of the beaver population and with that an increase in complaints," says Laura Hadjuk of Mass. Wildlife. Now, beaver dams are flooding areas that have seldom been flooded. One backyard visited in Concord now floods whenever it rains heavily because of a new beaver dam nearby. "Well I believe that the beavers are happy, but the neighborhood here is not very happy," one resident said. "When it rains or gets backed up in that pit where the beaver dam is, the backyard over here fills with water."

    But one beaver dam in Westboro is equipped with what's called a 'beaver deceiver'. A pipe is inserted into the dam to allow water to flow, then it's caged off so the beavers don't build over it. "It allows the beavers and the homeowners to live harmoniously," explains Delia Kaye with Concord Natural Resources. "So the [upstream] water level is reduced, but still is deep enough so the beavers can live but not cause flooding or the impairment of structures or whatever is causing the health or safety concern."

    With beaver numbers steadily increasing, people and wildlife officials have to be resourceful. Is there a long-term solution or do we just have to learn to live with them?  Hadjuk's answer is co-existence and management. "Have regulated trapping go through, come through on a regular basis if you have continual problems." There is an upside to all of this though. The wetlands caused by the beavers do help to recharge the water tables.

    Haverhill woman says she was surrounded by coyotes   (back to top)
    June 11, 2009 05:03 PM
    By Stewart Bishop, Globe Correspondent

    Groveland, MA - A Haverhill woman says she had a harrowing brush with the wild, when she was surrounded by coyotes while walking her dogs in a wooded area.  Mary Burke, 47, was out walking her four Labrador retrievers at around 7 a.m. Monday in an area off Groveland Road in the town of Groveland, which is adjacent to Haverhill, when she looked up and saw a coyote staring her down.  "I was talking on the phone to a friend when all of a sudden there was one, then there was four, and they surrounded me," Burke said today. As I turned around, I started crying, I said to my friend, "Oh my God, I'm not going to make it out of here."  Burke called 911.   "We got a call that a woman was being aggressively followed by coyotes," said Groveland Police Chief Robert Kirmelewicz. "She had four good-sized dogs with her, but [the coyotes] weren't backing down."  The police were able to locate Burke's exact position using their enhanced 911 system, which pinpointed Burke's cell phone, said Kirmelewicz.  "The GPS feature proved to be a great tool in this instance," Kirmelewicz said. "If we hadn't been able to locate her, who knows what could have happened?"  The dispatcher was able to guide Burke out of the woods as officers rushed to help, but the coyotes kept pursuing.  "They followed me all the way out of the woods," Burke said. "All the while I was talking to my dogs, telling them to stay with me."  As Burke reached the edge of the wooded area, Groveland police cruisers arrived on scene, sirens blaring, and the coyotes fled.  "It was the most scary experience of my life, and I'm a cancer survivor twice over," Burke said.  "They were so close, I could've touched them with a pool cue."  Chief Kirmelewicz said the officers didn't see the coyotes when they arrived.  Burke said this experience has made her think that more should be done to control the coyote population.  "We used to do controlled hunts for coyotes," she said. "But that's not the case anymore, and the population is out of control."  Kirmelewicz said that while coyote sightings are not uncommon, it's unusual for them to act this way, and he urged people to take certain precautions when out in rural, wooded areas.  "I would suggest the best thing to do, if you're approached by coyotes, is to make a lot of noise to try and scare them off," he said. "And always carry a cell phone."


       (back to top) The New York Times - Published June 8, 2009


    CONCORD, Mass. The dozens of public works officials, municipal engineers, conservation agents and others who crowded into a meeting room here one recent morning needed help. Property in their towns was flooding, they said. Culverts were clogged. Septic tanks were being overwhelmed.  Once wiped out in Massachusetts, beavers were repopulated in the 1930s.  "We have a huge problem", said David Pavlik, an engineer for the town of Lexington, where dams built by beavers have sent water flooding into the towns sanitary sewers. We trapped them, he said. We breached their dam. Nothing works. We are looking for long-term solutions.  Mary Hansen, a conservation agent from Maynard, said it starkly: There are beavers everywhere.  Laura Hajduk, a biologist with the states Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, had little to offer them. When beavers are trapped, others move in to replace them. And, she said, you can breach a beaver dam, but I guarantee you that within 24 hours if the beavers are still there it will be repaired. Beavers are the ultimate ecosystem engineers.  That was not what Mr. Pavlik was hoping to hear.  He is not alone in his dismay, and it is not just beavers. Around the nation, decades of environmental regulation, conservation efforts and changing land use have brought many species, like beavers, so far back from the brink that they are viewed as nuisances. As Stuart Pimm, a conservation ecologist at Duke University, put it, We are finding they are inconvenient.  In Florida,  alligators were once nearly wiped out by hunters; today the state maintains a roster of trappers who remove thousands of nuisance gators each year. The pesticide DDT once left the Pelican State, Louisiana, bereft of the birds; today wildlife organizations say fishermen must guard their bait and catches from the birds. In California, warnings about marauding mountain lions are posted on hiking trails.  There were tens and maybe hundreds of millions of beavers in North America before it was settled by Europeans, whose craze for beaver hats is often cited as motivating much of the exploration of the continent. But by 1900 their numbers had been reduced to about 100,000, almost all of them in Canada. As farming faded and the forests reclaimed much of their lost ground, Castor canadensis made a spectacular comeback. Today there are believed to be 10 million to 15 million of the animals in North America, and they are regarded as pests in much of their range.  In 1999, for example, a colony moved into the Tidal Basin in Washington, where they cut down a number of cherry trees before being trapped and removed. According to the Department of Agriculture, states like Mississippi, North Carolina and Wisconsin lose tens of millions of dollars each year from beaver damage to buildings, roads, timber, crops and trout streams.  In Massachusetts, beavers had vanished by the early 19th century, killed by trappers and dispossessed by farmers who turned woods into pastures. But they have had a particularly strong comeback here as farmland has returned to woodland. The change has also brought an unwelcome abundance of coyotes, black bears, moose and other species. Wild turkeys, once extirpated, now go one-on-one with suburban pedestrians in what biologists call misguided efforts to establish their dominance in a pecking order.  The advice from the experts on beavers is to find a way to live with them and reduce the damage. As Ms. Hajduk said during the Concord meeting, chicken-wire fencing can keep beavers out of culverts or away from prized trees. Companies market water flow devices called beaver deceivers or beaver bafflers that can be installed in dams to lower the water level of beaver ponds. Some people even coat prized trees with paint and sand in the hope that the grit will discourage gnawing beavers. If people want to live in a more natural environment, they must adjust to animals, even inconvenient animals, Dr. Pimm said in a telephone interview. You have to accept Mother Nature as she is, he said.  John Livsey, Mr. Pavliks boss and the town engineer in Lexington, has firsthand experience with the beaver problem. The animals are building dams in wooded areas traversed by the towns sewer lines, he said, and as water rises, it seeps through manholes into the sewer pipes.  The town must pay for the treatment of this extra inflow.  Though Mr. Livsey said he could not put a dollar figure on it, its a lot of money.  The town periodically obtains permits to breach dams and trap and kill the animals, but destroying a beaver dam can have unintended consequences downstream, from flooding a neighbors property to destroying habitat crucial for rare amphibians or silting up streams where endangered Atlantic salmon spawn. Some people date the beavers return to Massachusetts to 1928, when beavers were observed in West Stockbridge and greeted with enthusiasm, according to the Web site of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. By 1946, there were an estimated 300 beavers, all west of the Connecticut River.   If a beaver dam is breached, it will be repaired within 24 hours.  Today, Ms. Hajduk said, there are at least 30,000 beavers [ERROR should be 70,000], all over the state.  In her presentation in Concord, Ms. Hajduk said that beavers, which can reach 60 pounds and are the largest rodents in North America, are monogamous animals that mate for life and like to eat plants that grow underwater. They look for places to build a dam and create a pond. Their webbed feet are adapted for life in the water, and their front teeth, four giant incisors, are useful for cutting the trees they use as raw materials for their dams and lodges. (They also eat the bark, particularly in the winter.)  Typically, she said, they work at night, building a stick-and-mud lodge in the pond or at its edge, with its entrance underwater for safety. A pair of beavers typically live 10 years, producing a litter of two or more kits each spring. The kits stay with their parents until they are 2 years old, then disperse in search of their own territories.  Though the people at the meeting found it hard to believe or irrelevant the beavers have produced many benefits for the states environment, Ms. Hajduk said. She pointed to some of them after the meeting, when she and Mary B. Griffin, the states commissioner of fish and game, met at the Boxborough Station Wildlife Management Area, a state reserve northwest of here.  At first glance it hardly seemed like an ideal spot for beavers. Route 2, a major east-west highway, runs along one edge; a much-used rail line runs along another. You are really surrounded by a lot of suburbia and roadways, Ms. Hajduk said.  But trees had reclaimed the land between the ancient stone walls. Beavers have taken full advantage of the site, damming a small stream with mud and branches to impound a 45-acre pond perhaps five or six feet deep, with a lodge in the middle.  As she and Dr. Griffin neared the pond, a group of wood ducks, alarmed by their approach, went squawking into the air. It was good to see them, Dr. Griffin said they are among the species favored by hunters that the state is trying to encourage. She pointed to an osprey sitting on a dead tree. Ospreys were almost wiped out by DDT but are now back in Massachusetts, and this one was taking advantage of beaver-created habitat. Just then, a great blue heron glided to a landing in the pond, another guest of the beavers.  Impoundments like this one absorb water, especially in the spring, when streams swell with rain and snow runoff, Dr. Griffin said. And when the impoundment eventually silts up and the beavers move on, their dam will decay and the pond will drain, leaving unusually rich soil behind.  These beaver meadows stand out like rich little oases, Ms. Hajduk said.  Dr. Griffin said she and her colleagues emphasized these advantages in urging people to adopt tolerance and coexistence as a first line of defense.  Mr. Livsey can embrace this concept, up to a point, perhaps because he admires the animals engineering ability.  They're amazingly skilled creatures, actually, he said. They seem to be able to put things where they want them. I wish they worked for us.


    Rise in beaver population after trapping ban leads to flooded property   (back to top)
    MetroWest Daily News
    Ken McGagh/Daily News staff
    By Aaron Wasserman/Daily News staff
    Posted Jun 07, 2009 @ 12:16 AM

    HOLLISTON, MA - Last month, a breached beaver dam flooded Bob Szymanski's property in Milford. Several months before, it was a very intact one in Holliston that swelled the Hopping Brook so it nearly washed over a small bridge.  Beaver habitats routinely clash with those of humans in metro Boston. Other recent reports come from Westborough, Concord, Bolton and Andover, where a hasty dam breaching flooded a charity golf event.  The issue of beaver management isn't purely academic. Untimely dams can flood houses, or muck up sewer systems and roads - costly problems to repair. In Westborough, the town set aside $5,000 in this year's budget just to deal with beavers.  Beavers' ecological benefits are also substantial, as beavers, North America's largest native rodents, create wetlands that nurture other wildlife, control flooding and purify water.  "When a lot of people think of beavers now, it's not as the animal that creates wetlands or was responsible for the earlier colonial fur trade. In a lot of eyes, it's now the pest species that flooded my septic system," said Laura Hajduk, furbearer biologist with the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, who highlighted the mammal's unheralded talents.  "Beavers, by the nature of their activities, are ecosystem engineers. Aside from man, they're really the only mammal that can alter their ecosystem to meet their survival needs," she said.  Massachusetts' beaver population grew dramatically following a 1996 ballot referendum that banned most types of traps, such as legholds and snares. As the number of trappings plummeted, the number of beavers went from 24,000 in 1996 to about 70,000 five years later, according to state figures. (The state hasn't officially tracked the population size since then.)  But attributing the population growth only to the ballot referendum is probably too simplistic, said Peter Busher, a Boston University professor of natural sciences who studies beavers. The beaver population was naturally accelerating at the time, and the number of trappers beforehand wasn't enough to control beavers alone, he said.  In fact, at the state level, Busher said he believes the population has stabilized or slightly declined, but in specific spots may still be growing.  "With beavers, it's not so much that we have 60,000 animals or 200,000 animals, it's more where they are and what impact they're having on the human population," Busher said.  Beavers and humans are also attracted to similar habitats - low-lying wet areas - which compounds the problem, said Linda Huebner, deputy director of advocacy for Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which was a lead backer of the 1996 ballot question.  "The issue with beavers is not that we have too many of them, but that beavers and humans are coming into conflict in particular places, and the good news is we can solve many of those problems non-lethally," she said.  Trapping is still allowed in Massachusetts, from November to mid-April, but only in box or cage traps. Other methods for dealing with beavers include fencing and water control devices that slyly lower dams' water levels so beavers don't notice. In emergencies, when public safety or health are threatened, local Boards of Health can issue a permit any time of year to use a snare trap to catch a beaver.  But Hajduk said beavers are spreading into "sub-prime beaver habitats" because of their numbers - places that aren't ideal for them, "but given that some of the best habitats are already occupied, beavers are forced into habitats that they could occupy but aren't preferred."  Westborough's public health director, Paul McNulty, said beavers only appeared in town about 10 years ago. "Now it's every year and we have them in every part of town," he said.  In Holliston, during a recent brief hike along Hopping Brook, the town's conservation agent, Patricia Brennan, described how the town manages its beaver dams. Trained as an environmental scientist, Brennan said she studied beavers before coming to town, but is now very well versed.  "When I started, I was informed we'd have beavers once in a while, maybe once a year, and it's been nearly constant since we had the issue with the well," she said referring to a 2007 incident when a dam threatened one of the town's drinking wells.  "The problems with beavers aren't the beavers themselves, but the flooding from their engineering," Brennan said. "The beavers themselves are like muskrats, and you don't hear people complaining about muskrats."
    Aaron Wasserman can be reached at 508-626-4424 or


    Milford beaver dam breaks causing flash floods   (back to top)

    By Danielle Ameden/Daily News staff
    Milford Daily News story
    Posted Jun 02, 2009 @ 10:49 PM


    MILFORD, MA - Trying to tackle the beaver problem on Ivy Brook, the Conservation Commission took a firsthand look yesterday at the problems dam breaks are causing in north Milford.  On a visit to 10 Clarridge Circle, commissioners met with homeowner Bob Szymanski who worries his property will keep getting flooded if, as he suspects, people continue breaking beaver dams upstream from him.  "I have lost somewhere over three feet of rock that has slid down," Szymanski said of the retaining walls on his property that Ivy Brook flows through. Szymanski brought the problem to the commission's attention last month after he suspected someone broke a big dam the beavers had built. He said the destruction caused a huge rush of water "like Niagara Falls."  The morning after the board's meeting, which he attended, someone apparently tampered with the dam the beavers had rebuilt because another, albeit smaller, rush of water occurred, Szymanski told the commissioners.  "Somebody did something up there," he said. Commission Chairman Robert Buckley told Szymanski the commission will investigate the problem, but it may be difficult to resolve.  "Beavers are tough - there are cases where, really, they win," Buckley said, standing on a little bridge over the brook on Szymanski's property.  Commissioners need to get in touch with the owner of the landlocked piece of property where the beavers have built their dams and habitat on Ivy Brook. When they have permission, they will tour that area, Buckley told Szymanski.  He said the commission will also speak to its consultant and involve the Board of Health, which has some jurisdiction when it comes to beavers.  Commissioners could issue a "cease and desist" order against the property owner, even though he's seemingly unaware of the beaver problem, Buckley said.  "The Conservation Commission has to take some action and usually it's the land owner. They have have to post no trespass signs, do something," he said.  Also along on the site visit were Town Engineer Mike Santora and Conservation Commission members Joe Zacchilli and Michael Giampietro.  Szymanski showed photos of when water had rushed downstream. He recounted how there have been five apparent dam breaks since the end of last year, including the "bad one" on April 25.  "That's a very odd situation to have basically a flash flood," Buckley said. Prior to last year and since 1986, Szymanski said, there had only been three incidents. One was during Hurricane Bob and two others were probably during rainstorms, he said.  Buckley said the commission will talk about the beaver problem when it meets June 18.
    Danielle Ameden can be reached at 508-634-7521 or

    Beavers at issue in Northampton marsh again    (back to top)

    The Daily Hampshire Gazette - CHAD CAIN Staff Writer 

    Published: May 16, 2009


    NORTHAMPTON, MA - The presence of a 100-foot beaver dam in the Barrett Street Marsh has renewed fears that backed-up stormwater may soon spill over onto neighboring streets, causing hazardous conditions for motorists and homeowners. Residents in the area have expressed fears that their homes are at risk from the flooding if the water level behind the dam continues to rise. The water is nearly level with Barrett Street, said Bruce Young, land use and conservation planner in the Office of Planning and Development.  "The DPW is worried about Barrett Street itself, the culverts and basements," said Young.  The dam is located on the Barrett Street side of the marsh, a 22-acre swath of city-owned land located west of King Street and south of Barrett Street.  The Conservation Commission discussed the issue at its Thursday meeting and has scheduled a public hearing for June 11.  Beavers have been an issue in the Barrett Street marsh for years. For a time, the Conservation Commission allowed the Department of Public Works to trap and kill the animals, a source of controversy that led the commission to try installing a device called a "beaver deceiver" to reduce the risk of flooding and avoid killing the beavers.  To install the device, crews cut a hole in the middle of the dam and run a pipe through which water can flow. The pipe drains water to a certain level and funnels it 10 to 20 feet past the dam, said Young.  The flow device is designed to control the damming behavior of beavers nonlethally. It allows water to flow through the dam and fool beavers who respond instinctively to the flowing sound of water. The goal is to move enough of the water to control the vertical growth of the dam.  The commission has installed these devices on four occasions since December 2006.  "It works for a short period of time, but the beavers go and build on the other side of the dam," said Young. The Conservation Commission now must weigh whether to continue using the "beaver deceivers," or to allow the DPW to once again trap the animals. Young said the DPW has yet to make such a request.  "The commission's feeling was that we don't want to be in the business of putting in and maintaining deceivers," said Young. "If no outside group steps up to pay and manage it, the board may have to allow the DPW to trap."  The city spent $2,500 to install the deceivers the first two times. City crews installed the system two more times, in addition to funding other maintenance, Young said.  Chad Cain can be reached at



    Coyote Forces 2 Logan Runways To Briefly Close   (back to top)
    Coyote Killed By Truck
    BOSTON (WBZ) ― May 6, 2009 8:15 pm US/Eastern

    A coyote running free at Boston's Logan International Airport briefly forced the closing of two runways. The Boston Globe reports the animal was killed Wednesday when it was hit by workers who were using a truck to try to contain it.  The coyote was discovered by grounds crews on Wednesday morning, and the runways were shut down. Crews in trucks tried to keep the coyote away from the runways while they contacted animal control officers. But the animal bolted in front of one of the vehicles.  Massachusetts Port Authority spokesman Phil Orlandella says animals rarely get loose on the airport's runways, but it happens three or four times a year. He said the coyote didn't cause any major flight delays.


    Vicious attack of dog in Middleboro brings attention to seasonal suburban threat   (back to top)

    By Alice C. Elwell


    Posted May 04, 2009 @ 01:54 AM

    Last update May 04, 2009 @ 01:50 PM


    MIDDLEBORO, MA - A brown shadow swooped in and grabbed Hattie, a seven pound Yorkshire Terrier, by the neck just yards from where owner Wilfred J. Forcier stood watching.  It was 4 a.m. last Wednesday when Hattie pestered Forcier to go outside. Her timing was unusual, but Forcier a retired police officer stood at the backdoor of his Susan Lane home to keep watch.  But within seconds, something had Hattie in its jaws, and was speeding off into the darkness. Barefoot and in his underwear, Forcier gave chase, but the animal disappeared into the night with Hattie in its jaws.  It was prancing like a cat with a rat, Forcier said. All I could think of was getting her away from it.  Forcier resumed searching after getting dressed and putting on his glasses, but he never found Hatties limp and lifeless body until daylight.  While Forcier never clearly saw the attacker, Laura Hajduk, a biologist at the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, said it was most likely a coyote. This time of year is pup-rearing season, and the mother coyote requires more food than usual, she said.  The thing about coyotes, they'll feed on just about anything," Hajduk said. That includes small animals to insects and plant matter. A messy bird feeder, an uncovered compost pile or pet food dishes outside can all serve as a dinner call to wild animals.  Coyote populations have been on the rise in recent years, and Marion Larson, information and education biologist with Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said that's due largely to the greater availability of food including pets.  Coyotes are omnivores. Their primary food is fruit, berries, and small rodents. In suburban areas, they will go after unprotected pets, said Larson. Also, people should not leave garbage out at night. It provides an all-you-can-eat buffet for coyotes, rats, and foxes. They should put garbage out in the morning.  For coyote hunter Richard J. Bowen of Bridgewater, Hattie's attacker has all the earmarks of a coyote.  Its got to be a coyote. A coyote can kill a Yorkshire terrier in one bite, he said.  The chances of one hurting a human are slim, but could happen, he said. While coyotes are still skittish around humans, Bowen said they are losing their fear of humans because of carelessness and complacency.  Its only a matter of time before someone gets attacked around here, he predicts.  Bowen said coyotes are powerful opportunist hunters, and while their primary food consists of small prey frogs, snakes, mice, rabbits, woodchucks, even grasshoppers homeowners are providing a veritable smorgasbord in their backyards. Bird feeders, open trash and garbage and house cats all draw a coyote to a backyard.  Although the high school is close to Wednesdays attack, Hajduk said it doesn't sound like a public safety concern, explaining there's only been three attacks on humans in the last 60 years.  Coyotes can hunt in a range of nearly 20 square miles, but they are a territorial creature, and that's where human intervention comes into play. Hajduk said if a coyote is found in a backyard, try and scare it off by banging pans, blowing whistles and air horns, even squirting them with a hose or throwing tennis balls to mark your territory.  Don't be intimidated, she said. Show it this is your territory. They are territorial animals, so they will understand.  But she said children should be kept away.  Teach them coyotes are not dogs and their pups are not puppies, they're wild animals. Educate kids.  She said the best thing a child can do if they come face to face with a coyote, open your jacket, put your arms above you head and slowly back away, maintaining eye contact.    If you start to run, the instinct to follow may kick in, she said.


     Beaver Damage on the Mend and More!   (back to top)
    Wachusett Greenway website 8/28/09


    WEST BOYLSTON, MA - Rebuilding of the trail in Oakdale is under way (8-28-09)  Wachusett Greenways Welcomes Donations to Accelerate Repair.  As you may know, the Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT) accessible from Thomas Street in West Boylston westward to the I-190 bridge has been temporarily closed since early May, when a 25-foot section of the trail washed away due to the efforts of some industrious beavers.  Wachusett Greenways, the Town of West Boylston and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) have jointly arrived at a plan to rebuild the damaged trail. This work will include improvement of the trail from Thomas Street to the washout. This section of trail has had problems with water collection since it was built in 1997.  We anticipate this work will be completed and the trail reopened in time for Family Fun Day and the Springdale Mill Celebration, scheduled for Sept. 26.  Though this section of the trail will remain closed until repairs are complete, all other sections of the trail are open, including the section west of I-190 to River Street in Holden and on to Manning Street and Route 31. The trail sections in Sterling and Rutland are also open.  And thanks to the tireless efforts of our volunteer trail crews, nearly all ice storm damage has been cleared from the trail. Some work remains to chip brush and to remove other debris along the trail shoulder. We welcome new volunteers to help return the rail trail to its former beauty.  Looking forward, work on a new section of the rail trail, west of Muddy Pond in Oakham to the Route 122 crossing, is well under way.  We regret the length of time it has taken to repair the washout, but this is a major undertaking, requiring careful planning to avoid similar problems in the future. Wachusett Greenways welcomes donations to help defer the cost of repairs. Contributions can be made directly to Wachusett Greenways online or by mail, Box 121, Holden 01520. We must raise $12,000 in donor contributions in addition to the funds which Wachusett Greenways and the Town of West Boylston have set aside. Please send your generous gift today.

    A Weymouth neighborhood is on edge after a family dog in one
    neighborhood barely survived a coyote attack.
        (back to top)

    Pet Cat Killed By Predator

    The Boston

    Published: April 20, 2009


    Weymouth, MA - The coyote snatched "Rusty" right off his leash while he was tied to a mailbox.  The shih tzu's owner said she saw the coyote running down the street with the dog in its mouth.  "I opened the front door and saw the dog was gone. I looked up and saw a coyote with my dog in its mouth. I started yelling, and two houses down, saw the dog with blood in middle of street. I must have scared him away, "said Elyse Quinlan.  Rusty survived and was treated for deep teeth wounds to the stomach, back and neck.  The coyote's first victim on the block wasn't so lucky. Residents think a pet cat was killed by the animal.  "The neighbors cat, too. They were telling me they found his fur in the other yard," Quinlan said.  Weymouth police said unless a coyote is reported as sick, there's nothing they can do. The public was advised to stay alert and be careful.


    Raynham coyote attacks finally prompt recourse   (back to top) By Tim Faulkner,

    Published: Feb 27, 2009, 10:42 AM EST

    Raynham, MA - After a gang of coyotes attacked and killed a family dog, Terry Den Besten, owner of Den Besten Farm on Locust Street, is taking action.  "They've started a war and I'll finish it," he said.  Over the past two years, coyotes have been terrorizing his 30-acre animal farm, eating cats, young goats, chickens and frightening other animals.  In recent months, the coyotes have become more aggressive, jumping four-foot fences into animal pens and entering barns in search of prey.  "They are very bold," said the burly former construction company owner. Wednesday night, about a dozen coyotes ran through the stable area and the backyard of his three-story brick house, howling and looking for a meal.  Several family dogs were roaming the backyard when a coyote snatched away a 9-year-old miniature Doberman pinscher. Den Besten's wife, Donna, gave chase, yelling in an attempt to scare off the coyotes.  But a few minutes later the 20-pound dog was found lifeless about 100 yards from the house lying on a dirt road.  "It's kind of scary with a pack of them," Terry Den Besten said.  "It was like an attack of the wild."  In recent years he has installed sturdier fences and brought in a donkey, horses and llamas to frighten the coyotes.  When that failed his only recourse, until now, has been to lock the animals in barns and sheds at night. But with two young grandchildren living in his home, Den Besten doesn't want the next victim to be a human. Armed with night-vision goggles, a .22-caliber hunting rifle and a battery-powered coyote caller, the retired Marine intends to make the hunters the hunted. "They are going to be dealt with, that's for sure," he said.  After notifying neighbors - many of them living in recently built houses on land that was once coyote habitat - and the police officials, Den Besten intends to stalk the predators over the next few nights. Biologist Dick Turner, of the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said shooting one of the coyotes may be enough to scare the rest of the pack from going near humans again. Coyote encounters, he said, are more frequent this time of year. "This is the breeding season and when they're the most vocal." And the sightings are likely to increase. Over the last 50 years, the coyote population has spread to every community across the Commonwealth.  Raynham Police Chief Joseph Pacheco said coyotes weren't in Raynham 20 years ago. And the attack Wednesday night, he said, was the first time a coyote had entereda building the shed where the goats were kept. Pacheco condoned Den Besten's plan to kill the coyotes, saying farmers have the right to kill predators that attack livestock. As a precaution, Pacheco warned school officials about the aggressive coyotes. At least two coyotes sighting have been reported at the three Raynham public schools since September.  Although Den Besten's farm and the schools sit on opposite sides of the heavily traveled Route 24, Pacheco noted that both properties are part of a wooded area that extends north to Interstate 495. "I concerned for family pets as well as kids, especially when the weather gets warmer," Pacheco said. Fisheries and Wildlife Biologist Laura Hajduk said coyotes are more of a nuisance than a threat to humans.  Only three reports of coyote bites on humans have been reported in the state, she said, and a single fatality occurred in California in the 1980s.  "Its very very rare they ever attack people."  Her advice is to avoid coyotes and never feed them. But if the dog-like animals get too close she suggest banging pots and pans and making loud noises to remind them of the consequences of intruding on humans.


    Saving Charro from coyotes Attack on 65-pound Essex greyhound stuns owners   (back to top)

    Glouster Daily Times online (

    By Robert Cann, Staff Writer

    February 17, 2009


    Essex, MA - Because of this, she's always kept a close eye on her 10-year-old greyhound, Charro, when the dog is allowed to roam alone in her grassy backyard, enclosed by honeysuckle bushes. "Otherwise," said Morser, 86, "I don't think we'd have her today."  This past Saturday around 3 p.m., while Charro was sniffing the grass about 50 yards behind Morser's home, she saw what she thought were two police dogs moving toward the dog. She said, since Charro likes other dogs, the greyhound went toward the animals.  When the pair attacked Charro, Morser instantly recognized that they were coyotes and hollered for her 89-year-old husband Calvin.  Morser said she then "grabbed a pot with a lid and tore out into the backward," clanging the top against the pot. She had read that doing such a thing would scare away coyotes.  She said that, by the time she got outside, Charro and the coyotes had moved into one of the bushes and that she could no longer see them.  She's not sure if it was her banging the pot and lid together that scared the coyotes away, but moments after she left her house Charro began to limp towards her. When Morser and her husband got Charro inside they discovered their pet had serious cuts and bite marks on its hind legs, back and abdomen. They called the Gloucester-based Cape Ann Veterinary Hospital, and the owners, Dr. Jeffrey French and his wife Dr. Barbara Reid, had not gone home yet. The veterinarians told Morser to bring Charro in immediately. Morser and her husband wrapped Charro's wounds with a towel and, with a great deal of effort, lifted the 65-pound dog into the back of their vehicle. At the hospital, Charro was in surgery for two hours and required between 15 and 20 sutures in three different areas, French said yesterday. Yesterday, Charro was doing well, but was being held in quarantine and being monitored for rabies, French said. Charro was up-to-date on rabies vaccinations at the time of the attack, and was treated once more when first admitted to the animal hospital. Massachusetts Fish and Game representatives were unavailable for comment yesterday because of the holiday. Lt. John Wimsatt, a conservation officer at New Hampshire Fish and Game, said that rabies isn't as common in coyotes as in raccoons and foxes, but it can still occur. French also noted that "people often think that large dogs are not targets for coyotes," but that's not the case. Wimsatt said that attacks by coyotes on domestic animals are uncommon, though it's not rare for them to attack prey as large a 65-pound greyhound; they often hunt whitetail deer. Wimsatt said that such an attack was unusual and that it likely wouldn't happen again. "The public doesn't need to be overly alarmed," said Wimsatt. "Take normal precautions with your pets and keep your eyes on them when they're outside." Wimsatt added, however, that animal control officers should be notified in case of an attack. French, who said that "people are getting used to seeing them all the time," added that he planned to contact Gloucester's Animal Control Department when it opened today.  In that vein, a Rockport man had one of his golden retrievers tackled by a coyote in December after the wild animal chased his second golden retriever from the edge of the woods where it was sniffing, unleashed. The man and his wife yelled at the coyote and it ran away. That dog was not brought to the vet, and French noted that there have not been any animals brought
    in recently as a result of coyote attacks. Another Rockport couple, however, lost their cat to coyotes last July. "Animals like this do present circumstances that can alarm residents," said Wimsatt. "Just use good common sense when taking care of your pets."

    Robert Cann can be reached at


    Coyotes reportedly kill small dog in Milford [MA]   (back to top)  
    Written by Jill K. Dion   
    Sunday, February 08, 2009
    Milford, MA - The Milford Police Department is warning residents to keep an eye on their small pets in light of a recent attack by what was believed to be coyotes.  A resident of Todd Drive reported to police on Sunday that their family pet, a beagle terrier, had been attacked in their yard late Saturday night. The homeowner told police they heard a commotion and a dog yelping and, upon looking outside, they observed what they believed to be coyotes attacking their dog. The dog was taken to Shoreline Animal Clinic for treatment of injuries sustained during the attack, and after bringing the dog home, it died this morning.  Police conducted a neighborhood survey and learned that coyotes have been seen in the area over the past two weeks. Police have contacted the Milford Animal Control Division and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding the incident. Police advise that residents do not leave their pets outside unattended and refrain from feeding wild animals, including spreading bird seed.  If residents spot a coyote they should contact the DEP, Wild Life Division at (860) 424-3011. For tips about coyotes, refer to the DEP Web site  In the event a coyote is acting aggressively, call your local police department immediately, police said in a prepared statement.  Police can be reached at 878-6551.




    Rabid fox attacks man   (back to top)

    Milford Daily News - January 29, 2009

    Danielle Ameden can be reached at 508-634-7521 or


    MILFORD, MA - Steve Lemoine never wants to see a fox again. Ever. He's lost his love for the wild animal after having to stomp a rabid red fox to death on Monday when it attacked him outside his Milford office. The 50-year-old Rhode Island man said he fell prey while taking a cigarette break at Birchwood Business Park, where he works for the environmental engineering company Norfolk Ram.  He counts himself lucky to be OK."A fox just came running out of nowhere and bit me in the leg," he said. "I kicked it away and it came back and bit me in the leg again and wouldn't let go. It was pretty scary."  The incident led his co-workers to carry around sticks and ski poles yesterday, fearing another attack.  Public Health Director Paul Mazzuchelli yesterday said rabies is not unusual in town, but it's uncommon for a person to be attacked. The best preventative advice, he said, is for people to assume that any wild animal is rabid.  "Even though they may look cute or cuddly, stay away," he advised.  In Lemoine's case, the ferocious young fox bit through his jeans, and left tooth and claw marks on the front of his left leg.  After Lemoine kicked the fox away and it latched back onto his leg, he said he used his Boy Scout skills and reacted, suspecting it was rabid.  "I said, you're dead buddy - you're dead," he recalled.  He stomped on the animal's throat with steel-toed work shoes, and stayed put for about 20 minutes, he recalled, while waiting for co-workers to help.  When a couple of colleagues drove by in a truck, they got him a sledgehammer that he used to hit the fox on the head to make sure it was dead.  After Lemoine killed the animal, he said he put the carcass in a cooler, which the Animal Control Department later picked up.  Tests came back positive yesterday from the state's rabies testing lab in Jamaica Plain, confirming the fox had rabies, Mazzuchelli said.  Lemoine, who lives in Cumberland, R.I., said he drove himself to Milford Regional Medical Center on Monday to get seven rabies shots and a tetanus booster.  He still needs four more booster shots on a specified schedule.  Knowing the disease is fatal, he wanted to get treatment even though his wounds seemed superficial.  "Rabies is a serious thing - you've got to watch out," he said.  Mazzuchelli said Lemoine reacted the right way by seeking prompt medical attention.  For residents who are concerned about rabid animals, Mazzuchelli noted it's important that people not leave food outside their homes.  And as a first line of defense, he said people also need to keep their pets vaccinated. The Board of Health offers a rabies clinic every April.  Lemoine, who enjoys hunting for ducks and deer, said he doesn't regret killing the fox - but at around 20 pounds, it was "big enough."  "I wouldn't want to tangle with one that was bigger."  During the attack, Lemoine remained calm, said co-worker Nate Gardner, a geologist at Norfolk Ram who came across it.  "I wouldn't have known what to do, and he knew right what to do."  As for the attack, "It's an act of nature," Lemoine said, but it had a real impact on him. "I used to like foxes," he said. "I don't like them now."



    Beaver dam flood woes hard to ignore   (back to top)

    By Connie Paige

    Globe Correspondent / January 25, 2009

    LEXINGTON, MA - A brook flooded an area in north Lexington off Bedford Street during recent torrential rains, threatening to gush into the sewer system and cause overflows of raw sewage. The problem: An enterprising beaver was constructing a dam. The solution: The beaver was trapped and killed.  Beavers like the 50-pound male trapped last month are the stuff of suburban legend, as the furry rodents migrate into congested neighborhoods and dam up brooks and streams.  "I think one of the things people need to remember is we don't really have predators that control beaver any more, such as wolves, so they're not being killed naturally," said Patricia Huckery, northeast district manager for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. "The only option is management."  Wildlife management can mean extermination, but there are other options under the law that have been used in the western suburbs. State officials recommend relieving flooding caused by beavers by breaching their dams. One technique includes fencing that impedes reentry to the area and rerouting water flow underground or through pipes so the beaver cannot hear the tinkling, running-water sound that attracts them to a site to build a dam. Or residents can take the wetlands attitude to leave it to beaver. Along with Lexington, Concord and Bedford have had enterprising beaver populations in recent months. Sometimes the animals are welcomed, but other times not, as they cause flooding that can become a public health problem or inflict property damage.  Stanley J. Sosnicki, Concord's environmental health inspector, said while beavers can be a nuisance, many residents have learned to live with them.  "I'd say they're a net plus," Sosnicki said.  "Most people around here are used to wildlife, and they tend to respect them."  On the plus side, beavers create wetlands by damming streams and forming shallow ponds.  The wetlands provide a habitat for diverse plants and animals, such as deer, bats, otter, herons, waterfowl, songbirds, salamanders, turtles, frogs, and fish.  The wetlands also control downstream flooding by storing and slowly releasing storm water. They also remove excess nutrients, toxic chemicals, and sediment, and can recharge groundwater.  This is no solace to the homeowner with a flooded basement or the school child trying to navigate a street flowing with raw sewage.  The problem in Lexington occurred off busy Bedford Street between Ivan Street and Hadley Road.  The beaver dam on Simonds Brook had caused water to run to the tops of sewer manholes.  John Livsey, the town engineer, said while the flooding did not overwhelm the sewer system, it could have if action had not been taken. The town hired a licensed trapper, who snagged the beaver on Dec. 24.  Bedford did the same, issuing a permit earlier this month to a trapper to catch a beaver on Veterans Administration property, according to Bedford's health agent and inspector, Joseph W. Knotts, who said he issued seven such permits in 2008.   In Concord, a beaver dam flooded the area last summer where the Police and Fire Departments are located, as well as the neighborhood across the street. In that case, the beavers were trapped and killed, and the dam removed, Sosnicki said. But neighbors living on Spencer Brook Road have decided to leave alone the beavers that periodically build dams on Spencer Brook and flood the area, he said.  Sosnicki said he issued three or four permits last year, and believes the beaver population is growing. "We're seeing more and more of them," he said. "The area's just conducive to beavers. We have a lot of wet areas."  No one knows for sure how many beavers there are across the state or whether their numbers are growing or shrinking, according to Laura Hajduk, the state wildlife agency's furbearer biologist.  Because of overzealous hunting, beavers were absent from Massachusetts from the late 1700s to the early 1900s, when they started making a comeback after farmers abandoned their fields for city jobs or moved to more fertile ground in the Midwest, according to the state wildlife agency's website.  By the early 1990s, the beaver population statewide was estimated at a little more than 22,000.  In 1996, voters passed a ballot question banning leghold traps, deemed to cause pain to snared animals, and the beaver population soared to an estimated 70,000.  And then, in 2001, another law went into effect that gave local health boards - and not the state wildlife agency - jurisdiction over emergency licenses to trap animals  considered a public health threat or cause of severe property damage. While hunters had been reporting their harvests to the state wildlife agency, now there is no way to keep track of how many are killed, Hajduk said.  Still, beavers are likely to continue to venture into suburban living until the habitat becomes too developed.  For instance, Christine Connolly Sharkey, director of Health and Human Services in Arlington, said she has heard no reports of beavers in town since she started working there in 2000.  Donna Moultrop, Belmont's health director, said the only beaver report there in recent memory turned out to be an unfounded rumor.

    Connie Paige can be reached at

    Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.


    Emergency permit targets beavers in Holliston   (back to top)

    By David Rielly/TAB staff MetroWest Daily News

    Fri. Dec 26, 2008 10:45 EST


     HOLLISTON, MA - The Board of Health has issued an emergency permit for a Cross Street company to use lethal traps to remove beavers whose dam may threaten the building's fire suppression system.  The permit gives Avery Dennison Co. 10 days from last Thursday to trap the beavers, said Board of Health Chairwoman Anita Ballesteros.  The board gave the office product distributor a previous permit to remove the animals in October. The company did so, but the beavers returned, and so did the problems, Ballesteros said.  Last fall, a company representative told the board a dam had raised the level of Chicken Brook within an inch of a bridge used to access the facility. Behind the dam, stagnant water backed up, full of debris that could clog a sprinkler system that pumps water directly from the brook in the case of a fire, the company said in October.  Holliston Fire Chief Michael Cassidy called the problem a safety hazard. While the board would prefer different traps be used, worries about the fire system spurred its members to issue the permit, Ballesteros said. "We are concerned because this relates to the fire suppression system," she said. "If there were, God forbid, a fire, and anyone was hurt or killed in the fire, it was left on our heads."Regardless of what traps are used, beavers that are caught are killed. With beaver problems all over Massachusetts, the Bay State does not generally allow the animals to be moved elsewhere. Under the first permit, traps would catch beavers and they would later be euthanized. The new permit allows traps that actually kill the animals. Ballesteros was unsure how exactly the traps work.  Board member Richard Maccagnano had opposed lethal traps because he said other animals could be caught in them. Ballesteros said it is sometimes difficult to set aside personal convictions, but the Board of Health's charge is to safeguard public health and safety.  This is not the first time Holliston has grappled with beaver problems. In summer 2007, after attempts to find alternatives, the Conservation Commission gave the go-ahead to trap and kill beavers in Bogastow Brook.  The animals had caused flooding near one of the town's drinking water wells. State officials warned the town that the potential for parasites to get into the water posed an immediate threat.  The state has a regulated beaver trapping season. Avery Dennison needed a first permit in October because that season had not yet begun. The season started Nov. 1, but a permit is required any time a lethal trap is used.  A contractor hired by Avery Dennison only uses lethal traps, Ballesteros said. With the holidays approaching, it seemed unlikely Avery Dennison could find another contractor right away, so the board acted to make sure the company could address the potential safety problem.  If the emergency permit expires before beavers have been killed, Ballesteros said she will ask the company to consider other trapping methods."Nobody really wants to use those traps," she said.


    (David Riley can be reached at 508-626-3919 or


    Officer says he thwarted coyote's attack on woman   (back to top)

    The Salem News online

    November 27, 2008

    By Paul Leighton Staff writer


    BEVERLY, MA -  A Beverly police officer said he gunned his cruiser between a woman and a rapidly charging coyote to prevent the animal from attacking her in St. Mary's Cemetery two weeks ago.

    Patrolman Gene Bettencourt said he grabbed the woman and got her safely into her van as the coyote ran off into the woods. "If I wasn't there, who knows what that thing would've done to that lady," he said.


    Police say the city's animal services department trapped an 80-pound coyote in the cemetery last Friday and had the animal euthanized by a veterinarian. Patrolman John McCarthy, the department spokesman, said police can't be certain it was the same coyote, but there have been no reports of coyotes in the area since then.  "If somebody does see one, call us at the station," McCarthy said.  Bettencourt said he was on routine patrol in St. Mary's Cemetery on Nov. 15 when a man walking his dog told him he saw a "huge animal" on the hill at the back of the Brimbal Avenue cemetery. When Bettencourt drove up the hill, "I couldn't believe my eyes," he said.  "It almost looked like a wolf," he said.  As Bettencourt called the police station to report the coyote sighting, a woman got out of a green van and walked toward a gravestone. The coyote then took off and started running toward the woman, he said.  "I said to the dispatcher, 'I gotta go. The coyote's charging a lady.' I drove my Charger to cut it off. I jumped out and grabbed the lady and got her back in her van. She took off, and the coyote bolted into the wooded area."  Bettencourt said the coyote stopped about 40 to 50 feet away when he pulled his cruiser in front of the woman.  After the incident, the city's animal services department planted a trap that is designed to pull a leash around an animal's neck as it is feeding. Last Friday, Bettencourt found a coyote caught in the trap in the cemetery, unhurt. McCarthy said the coyote was taken to a veterinarian and euthanized. Beverly Animal Services Officer James Lindley said coyotes are known to attack cats and small dogs but rarely pose a threat to humans.  "The way it charged that woman is not ordinary," he said.  Lindley said he doubted the coyote had rabies because a rabid animal would stand its ground and fight instead of fleeing.  Lindley said he and police have fielded many calls regarding coyote sightings in recent weeks. He said there has been a group of seven coyotes in the Sohier Road area and two or three more around St. Mary's Cemetery, but it's difficult to know exactly how many are in the city.  "It's really hard to put a count on them," he said. "They cover so much territory."  According to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Web site, the eastern coyote moved into the central and western regions of Massachusetts in the 1950s and now lives in every town in Massachusetts, except on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.  Coyotes can reach weights of 50 to 60 pounds, but their weight can be easily overestimated because of their thick fur, according to the Web site. Dogs, red foxes and gray foxes  are often mistaken for coyotes.  The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Massachusetts Environmental Police Department are assisting Lindley in monitoring the situation, he said. Anyone who spots a coyote should call police at 978-922-1212.


    Increase in beaver population linked to loosestrife spread    (back to top)
    Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA) Ellie Oleson
    September 18, 2008

    Massachusetts statewide issue - The proliferation of beavers in Massachusetts since many commonly used traps were banned in 1997 not only has led to flooded roadways, fields and yards, but has also helped an alarming spread of a foreign weed, which is choking out native plants and destroying wildlife habitat, according to a wetlands specialist.  Glenn E. Krevosky, owner of EBT Environmental Consultants Inc. of Oxford, said that in six years of research, he has found a strong correlation between beavers and the spread of purple loosestrife, an invasive, nonnative plant. "As the beaver builds its dam and floods a meadow or wetland, native plants are killed. When the beavers move out, the dam disintegrates, and there is a virgin area. Purple loosestrife loves a virgin area. It quickly fills the entire area, which becomes a monoculture, a field of nothing but purple loosestrife," he said.  Even where there are no beavers, an ever-increasing quantity of the tall pinkish-purple flower spikes can be seen growing in or near wetlands across the state. "It's taking over. It excludes native plants. Entire valleys in Pennsylvania are taken over by it. It's a true scourge, the biggest invasive plant we have," he said.  Uxbridge High School science teacher David S. Worden, who has been using a nonnative beetle to fight the weed in his community, said that Mr. Krevosky's theory about the connection between beavers and purple loosestrife sounded correct. "Purple loosestrife will start to grow in a wetland area. It has thick stems that take a lot of time to deteriorate. The stems stand tall and catch silt, which piles up and eventually becomes land, changing wetland to land. This plant can change an ecosystem and destroy biodiversity," he said.  Mr. Krevosky, who specializes in wetlands replication, said he tries to promote "shrub swamp" replication as often as possible, since shrubs or trees "shade out purple loosestrife."


    Wild Animal Frightens Neighborhood    (back to top)


    By Justine Judge
    A potentially rabid fox is causing concern in a West Springfield neighborhood. The animal has bitten or scratched at least three people and is still on the loose.

    CBS 3 Springfield 

    Story Published: Nov 16, 2008 at 5:49 PM EST

    Story Updated: Nov 17, 2008 at 12:12 PM EST




    Gray Fox


    There's not a soul in sight in the neighborhood surrounding the John Ashley School in West Springfield.  Most are staying inside for fear of an encounter with what many are saying is a rabid gray fox whose sunk its teeth into at least four people. Robert Pettengill is one of them. He told us "It felt like something just hit me in the back of the leg because it came from behind me and then I looked at it and was startled by it and then took off running and kicking it off me."  Pettengill was the animal's third victim on Friday. Just a few minutes earlier, it attacked two kindergarten students on the Ashley school playground.  Avory MacGrath was on the swing set when the animal came running out of the woods, ripped her shoe off and then ran away. But, it came back.  Avory said "It bit another girl", who didn't fair as well as Avory. Witnesses say the animal latched onto the other girl's thigh.  Pettengill didn't escape unscathed either. The animal clawed into his leg and sent him to the hospital Pettengill said "I had six shots Friday night and I'm still kind of sore from those but I have to go back Monday and get another set and then I have three more after that."  The animal also jumped onto the porch of a home on Althea Street where it attacked someone else. Environmental Police say the animal is still on the loose. So for now, everyone is looking over their shoulders for an animal most believe to be a gray fox.  MacGrath said "It looked like a husky but smaller with a long tail."  Pettengill said "It looked like a fox more than a fisher cat because detectives came and showed me pictures of both and I saw it as a fox."  Officials do want to point out that if in fact the animal is rabid, chances are it will die within a few days if it's not found before then.  But neighbors should still keep their children and pets inside.



    Numbers (and more) show fishers climbing   (back to top)

    Photographer Daniel Keefe captured this fisher outside a Durham, N.H., home in 2003. It was attracted to a suet cage.
    Photographer Daniel Keefe captured this fisher outside a Durham, N.H., home in 2003. It was attracted to a suet cage. (Daniel M. Keefe)
    By James O'Brien Globe Correspondent / October 16, 2008

    The fishers are coming - or so they say.

    Earlier this year, an increase in sightings of the elusive animal in this area - including at least two reported attacks in Lexington - prompted wildlife officials to urge pet owners not to let their dogs and cats run free.  That advice still stands, and now officials at the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife say they are anticipating a record-setting number of captured fishers next month during trapping season for the carnivorous relative of the weasel.  Last year's was the second-highest fisher harvest on record, with 486 animals captured between Nov. 1 and Nov. 22. The year before, trappers nabbed 582. The state has kept such numbers since 1973, officials say, and has seen a steady increase in the number of animals caught.  "Clearly, the population seems to be growing," said Lisa Capone, spokeswoman for the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.  Researchers at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or MassWildlife, say it appears the fisher, like a number of other wild animals such as bear and coyote, has also become more comfortable in urban settings.  "From studying reports and trappings, we can say that they have greatly expanded their range," said MassWildlife furbearer biologist Laura Hajduk. "In areas closer to Boston, they haven't been found there for very long."  While the fisher normally eats rodents and small game like rabbits, Hajduk, whose agency receives one to two calls per week for fisher sightings statewide, said kitchen garbage and outdoor pets represent an attractive alternative.  "The way we have suburban areas set up - we like private areas, little wooded areas - we provide cover for animals, and then we create a nice artificial food source," she said.  Marj Rines, a Living With Wildlife hotline naturalist with the Massachusetts Audubon Society, said she has had more calls about fishers in Eastern Massachusetts over the past two years.  Residents in Medford and Woburn have reported run-ins with the fisher, according to the organization. The animal has also been spotted in Billerica, Chelmsford, and Wilmington, as well as Derry and Hollis in New Hampshire, said New Hampshire wildlife photographer Daniel M. Keefe, who has captured close-up images of the animal. Chelmsford animal control officer Erik Merrill said he received 15 to 20 fisher complaints in his area this spring.  In March, a Lexington woman reported that a fisher dragged off her dog shortly after a neighbor spotted the animal and another neighbor reported that fishers had killed her cats.  "Usually when we have one attack, we have many," said Krista M. Vernaleken, a senior veterinary associate at the Bulger Animal Hospital in North Andover. "Owners who keep their pets indoors are very well aware of fishers - that's why they keep them indoors. Those who let them out don't understand the risk."  Vernaleken said outdoor cats are the most likely among domesticated animals to tangle with the fisher, and the results are usually ugly. "They're typically pretty aggressive attacks," she said. "Large wounds, tearing of the skin. They are much more aggressive attacks than another animal would be."  Long and low, the adult fisher typically weighs 16 pounds, according to MassWildlife, and can grow up to 3 feet, tip to tail. It hunts with retractable claws and a mouth lined with razor-sharp teeth, and its high-pitched screech is its hallmark. They are prized by some for their soft brown pelts.  The creature faced extermination in the Northeast in the 1800s, according to Mass Audubon, as unregulated logging deforested its natural habitat. Its comeback, starting in the 1950s, is also due to logging companies, who used fishers to control porcupines that eat tree seedlings.  Negative rumors about fishers abound, according to Hajduk, despite its role in helping to control rodents in the wild. "A lot of people think it's out there to attack everything," she said. "That they're vicious, voracious predators."  Merrill said he understands the fisher's nasty reputation. "They're pretty ferocious," he said. "They've gone into chicken coops and killed five or six of them. They kind of get into a frenzy. We had one that tore into a rabbit hut. It was sitting there, eating the rabbit. I wouldn't want to corner one and try to get it out."  Hajduk said keeping family pets safe from fishers requires only common sense. "We advocate people should keep pets supervised and, when not, keep them indoors," she said. "Don't let your pet roam free."  MassWildlife Central District manager William J. Davis offered additional advice: "Common sense dictates the proper course of action, including not putting trash out until the morning of pickup, not providing artificial food sources like bird feeders."  Keefe uses just such a feeder - a suet cage - to capture his close-up shots of fishers. On his website are dozens of stories about the fisher - some warnings and some defending the animal.  "Last December, we had one here running in the field," Keefe said from his home in Durham, N.H. "We had our dog out at night, and we yelled at [the fisher], but it would come closer instead of running away. It made an ungodly screeching noise. It made your hair stand up."  In Lexington, resident Beth J. Masterman, who lives on wooded Philbrook Terrace abutting conservation land, said she lost her Yorkshire terrier puppy, Ziggy, in March to a fisher that dragged him into the foliage.  She said better information could prevent similar tragedies.  "We need to know more, sooner," she said. "Maybe animal control officers ought to be used a month before the danger begins, not after."  Hajduk said information about fishers and how to minimize contact with the animal is always available.  "We have a lot of this information on our website, and it is easily accessible to the public," she said. "And we invite people to call us."


    Leave it to Beavers   (back to top)

    By Nan Shnitzler / Correspondent/

    Mon Oct 13, 2008, 10:48 AM EDT


    Bolton MA - Beavers are skilled dam builders; their lives depend on it. They spend 80 percent of their time in their ponds, from which they access their lodges. But it is not unprecedented for an active beaver dam to fail. Even beavers cant anticipate a 25 or 50-year storm.  There are situations where beaver dams have let go apparently without human intervention and have caused significant damage, said Bill Davis, central district manager for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.  Beavers are excellent engineers but not 100 percent foolproof. Town officials are convinced a failed beaver dam on private property caused a washout on Forbush Mill Road about a month ago and twice previously over the last few years.  Public Works Director Harold Brown and Conservation Administrator Carol Gumbart disagree with resident Patricia Huckery, who is MassWildlife northeast district manager, that sand and gravel removal from a nearby hillside somehow weakened the dams underpinnings, because the dam is upstream and behind the hill. So after spending nearly $10,000 to fix Forbush Mill Road and watching Hurricane Hanna dump five inches of rainfall on the estimated eight-acre, 8- to 10-year-old beaver pond in the Hansen conservation area, it was not a stretch for Brown and Gumbart to think there was an imminent downstream threat to Green Road. Gumbart ordered a small emergency breach at the side of the dam to relieve the water pressure.  Unfortunately, its against state law to tamper with a beaver dam in an emergency without a permit from the local Board of Health.  Emergency permits allow three options: breach the dam, install a flow device and/or trap the beavers. Gumbart admitted she should have gotten the permit first. But since the Conservation Commission has to authorize actions that affect the wetlands, she was half right. Paperwork to obtain an after-the-fact breach permit is now in process, Gumbart said. Technically, consent is also required from an abutting private landowner, the Bundys on Vaughn Hill Road. Jeanette Bundy was unaware of the dam drama, but said that she does'nt want the beavers messed with. Gumbart said the paperwork is in their hands. Board of Health Chairman Mark Sprague is aware of the dam breach and is not inclined to be punitive because he understands it was well intended. But next time, those responsible will get their hands slapped, he said. He is considering writing a reprimand for the record. You have to draw a line on what's a reasonable level of hazard, Sprague said. Normally, when an emergency permit comes in, we would hold a hearing on it. And everyone involved could chime in with opinions. There is a legal beaver-trapping season from Nov. 1 to April 15 when licensed trappers may use permissible box or cage-style live traps. Leg-hold and body-grabbing conibear traps were outlawed by Massachusetts voters in 1996 because they can cause slow, painful deaths. Since then, the 18,000 beaver census is estimated to have tripled, according to the MassWildlife Web site.  Its against state law to trap and relocate beavers and other wild animals. The Board of Health usually presides over out-of-season emergency permits when applicants want to trap and eliminate the animals because upstream flooding is encroaching on basements, drinking wells and septic systems on private property. That's what happened on Corn Road and Main Street, near the Historical Society, in 2005. A potential downstream threat is less common. In the last few weeks, the lack of regulatory process seems to have created a free-for-all at the Hansen dam. Locals who feared for the beavers when the breach lowered the water level patched up the gap.  How are we to know if the beavers are taking care of the dam if people are doing it for them? Gumbart said. Sprague said it appeared that well-meaning people were working at cross-purposes. Ironically, the Conservation Commission alone has the authority to install a water flow device in a beaver pond to maintain the integrity of a wetland or protect habitat in town-owned conservation land when there is no threat to public health or safety, according to Davis at MassWildlife.   To that end, Gumbart brought in Michael Callahan of Southampton-based Beaver Solutions Sept. 18 to assess the Hansen dam. In a Sept. 28 letter, he wrote that older dams and larger ponds, like Hansen, are more likely to fail catastrophically, but its rare. He saw that the beavers are actively maintaining the dam and there was no evidence that a catastrophic breach was imminent. His consultation cost $125. If the beavers stay, Callahan recommended reducing the pond impoundment one foot with a water flow device and/or replacing the nearby 12-inch Green Road culvert with a larger pipe to handle unexpected water events. He also recommended quarterly dam inspections. His solution would cost $1,620 including one year of maintenance. Brown said the engineering to accommodate a 24-inch pipe would mean raising Green Road drastically or building a cement box culvert. In ether case, there should be at least a foot of clearance between the road and culvert to prevent frost heaves, he said, potentially a $60,000 to $70,000 job. Gumbart said that water flow devices had been used successfully at the Bower Springs and Fyfeshire conservation areas. She will continue to monitor both the Forbush Mill and Hansen beaver dam situations while keeping stakeholders apprised.  Brown said he is keeping an eye on the Forbush Mill Road dam but leaving the Hansen dam to the Conservation Commission. He does not have a lot of confidence in mud and stick dams.

    Green Road for me is off limits, Brown said. It will blow out; I know it will.



    6-foot-tall beaver dams breaks, sends 'wave of mud downstream'   (back to top)

     Monday, September 15, 2008


    COLRAIN, MA - A surge of possibly contaminated water rushed down the Green River, raising the water level by about 3 feet and causing road damage and closures after a beaver dam in Colrain broke Saturday morning, said Fire Chief David V. Celino.


    The 6-foot-tall dam that broke held back 3 or 4 acres of heavily silted water, he said, which could have harmfully high bacteria levels. 'It was a solid wave of mud,' said Celino. Apart from light-to-moderate road damage to West Leyden Road, Cromack Lane and Fort Lucas Road, the major concern, he said 'is what kind of bacteria was in that water.'  The torrent nearly washed out a road culvert and eroded the shoulders of affected roadways.  The Department of Public Works was unavailable for comment on the safety of the Green River. The filter beds in the river, a water source for Greenfield, were shut down, firefighters said.  Paul Moyer III, who owns agricultural land on West Leyden Road in Colrain, said his fields were inundated with water, which rose to over three feet in places, before receding.

    Firefighters stationed at Camp Kee-Wanee in Greenfield at the Wormtown Music Festival on Saturday noticed a darkening of the river's color, but no noticeable surge.   As of Saturday evening, there were closures on Fort Lucas Road, firefighters said.



    Charlton, MA resident asks for help with beaver damage   (back to top)
    By Debbie LaPlaca, Correspondent

    Worchester Telegram & Gazette September 10, 2008

    CHARLTON, MA - George Butz of 23 Gillespie Road went before selectmen last night for an answer to a problem that began for him about six years ago beavers. I have water in my backyard constantly. I have water in my basement. I spent over $8,000 out of my pocket to increase the height of my backyard. We are seeking the towns help with these creatures, he said.   When beavers first caused a problem on this property, Mr. Butz hired a trapper, which helped for a few years. But now they are back.


    Selectman Kathleen W. Walker and highway foreman Gerry Foskett joined Wildlife Committee members yesterday to inspect the affected area. Beavers blocked a culvert behind McDonalds on Route 20 and built a dam about 100 yards upstream. Although the rising water affects Mr. Butz, the dam is located on someone else's private property.  The owner of that land was not established before the meeting.  The dams are not on my property; the water is.  "Its not a town problem but we don't know what else to do with it, Mr. Butz said. Karen Ogden of the Wildlife Committee recommended the installation of flow devices in the dam and culvert, noting the process has been successful in other problem areas. 


    Who will assume the cost remains a question.  Mr. Foskett told the board the highway department cannot expend town funds to assist Mr. Butz unless there is a negative impact on the public roadway, which there is not. We are required by law not to spend town funds on private property unless there is imminent danger, Selectman Peter J. Boria said. Mr. Boria recommended the Wildlife Committee seek to establish a nonprofit organization to build and manage funds to help residents mitigate beaver issues in the future.  


    For now, the board asked Ms. Ogden to obtain an estimate to install the flow devices.   The plan and associated costs for the dam will be presented to the landowner, when identified.  If the landowner does not agree to install a flow device, the issue will return to the board to consider intervention.


    Coyotes kill five cats    (back to top)

    By Staff reports News

    Wed Aug 13, 2008, 12:26 PM EDT

    Weymouth, MA - Carol Roberts tried to keep her five-year-old male tiger cat Rainbow indoors after hearing reports about coyotes snatching felines from her Whitmans Pond neighbors, but he managed to slip outside late Saturday night.

    Roberts hoped for Rainbow to come home until a neighbor found his dismembered remains in a vacant lot on Lakeshore Drive.  We now have five confirmed cat deaths, Roberts said in her Intervale Road living room on Monday. There are two other neighborhood cats that are missing.   Lakeshore Drive resident Theresa Prevost suspects her black and brown colored cat Puzz-Puzz was captured by a coyote six weeks ago after it failed to come home.  My cat is the second cat to disappear, Prevost said.  Neighbors believe coyotes are responsible for the five cat deaths and disappearances of two felines near Whitmans during the past six weeks.  We've seen coyotes, said Leighann Zemp while she took a stroll with her pet chihuahua on Lakeshore Drive. Weve had heard people say they have seen coyotes walking down the middle of the street.  Prevost said a neighbor noticed a coyote outside Zemps home several nights ago and that it seemed unfazed by the residents presence.  When the coyote spotted the person, it did not even move. she said. State wildlife officials report coyotes tend to avoid humans but it will visit neighborhoods if it locates food sources such as unsecured garbage or unattended pets.  Experts advise residents to not leave any food or pets unattended in their yards.  Coyotes are usually active between dusk and dawn.  The animal generally has gray-black fur and resembles a medium-size dog.  Webb Street resident Michael Wallace said he saw a coyote cross the street in his neighborhood at 9:30 p.m. on July 31.  We have two missing cat signs posted on Webb Street, Wallace said while he listened to music in his car near Whitmans Pond on Monday. Im not sure if coyotes got the cats, but they are missing.  Prevost said a neighbor tried to prevent a coyote from snatching a cat by firing a BB rifle at the animal.  It had no effect, she said.  Lakeshore Drive resident Margaret Ehlel said she plans to keep her newly adopted kitten Cuddles, an orange and white tabby, indoors to keep it safe.  I just adopted her a week ago, Ehlel said.  She said neighbors have tried contacting David Curtin, a part-time animal control officer without success.   I know there have been budget cutbacks, Ehlel said. But this should take a priority. We need to do something about this it is not right.  Curtin said state law prohibits police from destroying nuisance coyotes unless the animal has attacked a human or is in the act of snatching a pet or has rabies.  If you have a problem with a skunk or raccoon, you can hire a trapper, he said on Tuesday. But you cant do that with a coyote which is a bigger headache.  Curtin said he receives complaints about coyotes regularly from residents.  I've received calls about coyotes from people who live up near Fairlawn Cemetery, he said. I think there might be a den of coyotes that live up near there. Coyotes have been seen all over the town.  Wildlife officials credit the animals scavenger appetite for its ability to thrive in urban towns.  A News reporter has seen coyotes on three occasions near the South Shore Plaza during the past few years.  The feral cat population is being reduced by coyotes, Curtin said.   State authorities don't consider coyote attacks on pets as legal reasons to destroy the animal because the creature is a protected furbearer species.  The state allows only one month out of the year to hunt coyotes, Curtin said.  He said pet owners should keep their cat or dog indoors two hours before dawn and dusk because coyotes tend to be more active at night while searching for prey.  People will get mad when I tell them to keep their cat indoors, he said. But they would not let their cat outside in a blizzard.  Prevost said she fears that the coyotes will become bolder and eventually attack a small child.  We have a lot of small kids in the neighborhood, Prevost said. We don't know if the coyotes felt threatened that they would attack a child.  Curtin said residents can discourage coyotes from visiting their neighborhood by keeping garbage secured and removing food scraps from barbecue grills.  Coyotes are attracted to peoples backyards when they don't clean their grill or leave food on the ground, he said.  Coyotes tend to be afraid of human contact, and wildlife officials say people can frighten the animal from their neighborhood by yelling or aiming water from a garden hose in its direction.  I've seen coyotes in my backyard, Curtin said. When I see one, I use an air horn to scare it away.

    Coyotes Attack Expensive Animals in Westfield   (back to top)

    By Matthew Campbell

    Story Published: Jul 21, 2008 at 11:37 PM EST

    Story Updated: Jul 21, 2008 at 11:37 PM EST

    The Maple Brook Alpaca Farm on East Mountain road is the only one of it's kind in the Bay State. And it's home to a very expensive animal.

    WESTFIELD, MA - "He's got one that's almost one million dollars," says Westfield's animal control officer, Ken Frazier.
    The lovable llama looking creatures are under a severe threat. The abundance of coyotes are taking its toll on all parts of  Western Mass, but have recently honed in on one Westfield alpaca farm. "The only thing that was left on two of those animals was the fur. The other one, the only thing left was the ear," Frazier says. Frazier says the coyote population is so high because the eating is so good. "The rabbits have come back, the squirrel population have come back, so a lot of that has to do with the coyote population," he says. While coyotes often travel in packs and usually stay up near the woods, everyone, even city residents, need to be on guard. "I've seen them walking down the middle of Maple Street. If they're hungry, they'll take down a pet. It has happened, and it will happen again," Frazier promises.  Frazier can't really say exactly how many coyotes are in our area, but officials do know there are many, and that's why hunting  season on the animals has been extended.



    Rabid raccoon goes down with fight   (back to top)

    The Telegram & Gazette, (Worcester) July 31st, 2008

    Byline: Susan Nest


    SHREWSBURY, MA - While Leona Pease has had her hands full this past week dealing with loose dogs (see police log, page 2), a recent animal incident resulted in the first positive rabies report since she became Shrewsbury's animal control officer six years ago.  No domestic animal has ever tested positive for rabies in Shrewsbury, though raccoons, bats, skunks, though not many in recent years, and a red fox and a feral kitten, in the early 1990s - have all tested positive, according to Animal Inspector Bob Moore.  On June 20, a raccoon attacked a dog near Lake Quinsigamond.  The dog, which received a minor scratch from the raccoon, was up-to-date on its rabies shots, but was given a booster shot, according to Moore.  "With any inoculation, there's always the slightest chance of failure," Pease said. "It's always a good idea to get an animal checked after any altercation with a wild or domestic animal and get the vet's opinion if it should be re-inoculated."  After the incident with the dog, the raccoon swam across the cove and went after a toy poodle.  The owner was attempting to keep the raccoon away from the dog with a shovel when a neighbor told him the raccoon was not exhibiting normal behavior and might be rabid.  At that point, the man killed the raccoon with the shovel.  While there was no contact between the animals, "we treated it as if there was contact," Pease said. "The owner brought (the dog) to the vet and it was re-inoculated."  Both dogs were placed on a 45-day quarantine to make sure they are healthy. The in-house quarantine with minimal exposure to people will end on Aug. 4, said Moore, who added that it can take up to 45 days to ensure an animal doesn't have rabies.  The raccoon was also brought to a vet's office where its head was cut off and then sent to the State Laboratory Institute in Jamaica Plain for testing.  "The Health Department is responsible for getting (the specimen) to the state lab," said Board of Health Director Nancy Allen. "If it involves a human, or domestic animal or pet, we put all our efforts into getting that animal and getting it tested."  The criteria for having an animal suspected of having rabies, tested at the state lab, is if it has had contact with a human or domestic animal.  If there has been contact and the police kill the animal, they must be careful not to damage its head.  Rabies is a "fairly fragile virus that only appears in brain tissue," Allen said.  The animal would be sent either to the Northboro Animal Hospital, or Tufts, where the head would be packed in ice or dry ice and then sent by courier to the state lab.  If there has been no contact, the police would kill the animal and then advise that the animal be buried.  One of the signs an animal has rabies is it will fall down and appear to be sick, according to Allen, who said either she or Moore has to be notified when rabies are suspected.  Once the animal is tested, the report is sent to the Board of Health, which in turn shares the information with the animal control officer.  The raccoon tested positive for rabies, according to Pease.  "Since then, we have sent in two or three other animals," to be tested for rabies, but none were positive, Pease said.  In one of the incidents, a stray cat attacked an 84-year-old woman on Janet Circle approximately two weeks ago.  The woman chased the "steel-gray cat" out of her garage with a broom, but the cat returned and wrapped its paws around the woman, who then received 16 puncture wounds from cat bites.  Pease said she set a trap in the woman's yard to catch the animal.  "After trapping and releasing her cat four times, I finally caught the (gray) cat," she said. "I came in twice a day on the weekends on my own time to check the trap."  The cat, which was exhibiting unusual behavior, was euthanized at a vet's office and sent for testing at the state lab. It came back negative for rabies.  The woman eventually was sent to the hospital and received intravenous antibiotics.  "She did not have to go through the rabies series," Pease said.  The exposed person, if tests show that the animal had rabies, must be treated to prevent rabies, according to the Mass. Executive Office of Health and Human Services Web site. "Treatment consists of five shots of vaccine plus one shot of immune globulin over the course of a month."  Pease said two to six rabies specimens in Shrewsbury are sent for testing each year.  "Our biggest safety net is getting our domestic animals their rabies shots," she said. 


    Rabies 101

    The rabies virus can infect any mammal, but is more common among certain ones like bats, skunks, foxes and raccoons.  Cats, dogs and livestock also get rabies - and spread it to their owners - if they do not have special shots to protect them, but it is very rare among small rodents like squirrels, rats, mice and chipmunks.  The rabies virus is spread when an infected animal bites or scratches, but can also be spread if saliva from an infected animal touches broken skin, open wounds or the lining of the mouth, nose or eyes. In caves crowded with bats, it may be possible to inhale the virus floating on bat saliva in the air.  Rabid animals often behave strangely after the virus attacks their brains. They may attack people or other animals for no reason, or they may lose their fear of people and seem unnaturally friendly. Not all rabid animals act in these ways, so you should avoid all wild animals, especially bats, skunks, foxes and raccoons and not feed or touch stray cats or dogs.  If you have been bitten or scratched by a stray or wild animal, or by a pet or farm animal that has been behaving oddly, wash the wound with soap and water right away for at least 10 minutes; call your health care provider and the local Board of Health as soon as you finish washing; contact the animal control officer to catch or find the animal; and if your pet has been bitten or scratched by an animal you think may be rabid, put on gloves before touching your pet, follow the steps above, but call the pet's veterinarian instead of your own doctor.

    For more information, call the Mass. Department of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Immunization at 1-888-658-2850, or visit



    Rabid fox bites 10-year-old girl   (back to top)
    Boston Globe
    July 16, 2008

    PITTSFIELD, MA - Three residents of the Berkshires, including a 10-year-old girl, received medical treatment after an encounter with a rabid fox. The fox was smothered and killed shortly after Sunday's incident by the girl's father and a visiting friend. The fox's body was transported to the state Department of Public Health laboratory in Boston, where testing confirmed it had rabies. Jeff Moxon of Pittsfield tells the Berkshire Eagle that the fox bit his daughter, Deborah, on the right foot. The Moxons, as well as family friend Pasquale Arace, who was visiting the family, were all given rabies shots at Berkshire Medical Center.  Deborah says the fox bit her after she stuck out her leg to protect her 2-year-old sister.
    Information from: The Berkshire Eagle,

    Health board tackles beaver dam issues   (back to top)

    By Christian Schiavone - Wicked Local News
    April 30, 2008 5:13 PM EDT


    Acton, MA - Acton's human residents aren't the only ones who have been more active in the warm, dry weather the past few weeks has brought.  The Board of Health this week issued three emergency permits allowing the town to hire a local trapper to capture and kill beavers whose dams are creating a public health risk by threatening septic systems and flooding a driveway at three spots in town.  Once the beavers are gone, the town can breach the dams and prevent further flooding.  Unfortunately, the drier the spring, the busier the beavers get because they want to retain water, Doug Halley, the towns health agent, said during the boards April 28 meeting. The concern we have is that the flooding could potentially affect septic systems.  Halley said there are likely about 15 to 20 beavers causing the problems.  In 2000, the state Legislature gave local Boards of Health the power to grant such 10-day emergency permits to capture and dispose of beavers and muskrats that can cause dramatic impacts on their surroundings by damming rivers and streams.  Only licensed trappers are permitted to trap beavers.  Halley said the trapper will use restriction or conibear traps intended to capture the animals alive and above water. The beavers are then killed, usually by being shot and the trapper is permitted to keep the pelts.  State law prohibits capturing beavers and releasing them elsewhere.  Board member Joanne Bissetta said the beavers need to be removed because they can cause serious damage to septic systems causing both environmental damage and costing the property owner thousands of dollars.  If a septic system floods it doesn't function and it backs up into peoples homes and businesses and creates a public health risk, she said.


    Shock, awe at coyotes in the city   (back to top)

    Boston Globe story - Eric Moskowitz

    April 20, 2008


    Medford, MA - With its chain-link fences and tidy patches of lawn, Gibson Street in Medford isn't the first place Animal Planet is likely to set up its cameras. So, Joyce Pantone Rodrigues, understandably, was surprised when she looked out her kitchen window on a recent morning and saw a coyote staring back

    .  "At first I thought it was a fox or a wolf. I didn't know what it was," said Rodrigues, who identified the furry, sleek-snouted creature with the help of her husband and quickly notified several neighbors, as well as the state. "I never in a million years expected to see a coyote in my backyard."  Most have had the same reaction to the coyotes spotted regularly of late in this section of the city, roughly a half-mile east of Interstate 93 and the Mystic River, although opinions about the presence of the animals vary widely. The children, and some of the adults, are enthralled; others are indifferent, while still others want the coyotes eradicated by almost any means necessary. At a recent meeting, city councilors expressed concern for public safety and demanded immediate coyote relocation or action. Councilor Robert M. Penta suggested the use of a "stun gun."  That's not going to happen, because coyotes are protected, local and state wildlife officials said. Relocating them is illegal and could endanger the animals and pose a threat to people. The alternative, euthanasia, is reserved for the rare cases when coyotes become aggressive......


    Coyotes on the prowl in Medford   (back to top)
    By Rob
    Barry/ - Wicked Local Medford
    April 11, 2008

    Medford, MA - Karen Dudley is scared to leave her shih tzu, Morgan, in her Myrtle Street back yard unsupervised. For nearly two months a pair of coyotes has been rummaging for food in the easement behind her yard and city officials say they don't have cause to remove the offending critters.  A group of coyotes are living in an area behind her yard, said City Councilor Fred Dello Russo at an April 8 council meeting. Through a system of burrows they've managed to get through the fences.  Dello Russo said rabies has been a problem in wild animals lately and he doesn't like to think of what could happen if a coyote were infected. Dudley's main concern, however, is her dog.  I have a small dog and if I cant let my dog out in my own back yard Dudley trailed off. I have to stand outside and watch and I cant leave and do an errand because they're allowing coyotes in the area.  Dudley said she would like to see the animals removed from her neighborhood. Karen Rose, Medford's director of public health, says its not so easy. The problem is, we cant remove coyotes, said Rose. We cant catch and release unless we can prove they're ill or they're dangerous.  There are a host of reasons why wildlife experts say wildlife should not be relocated. For starters, moving wildlife is against state law. According to Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife documentation, moving animals to another area hurts the ecosystem by throwing it out of balance. Moreover, it just takes problem animals and places them in someone else's backyard.  If you do remove them, all you do is open up that territory, said Rose. Then you have other coyotes coming in and possibly fighting for the territory. Rose says there are at least 10 known coyote dens in Medford, the residents of which are all tracked closely. There are even coyotes in the North End of Boston. In recent years there have not been any incidents of coyotes acting violently toward Medford residents or their canine companions, Rose said.  Until there is an incident, concerned citizens will probably just have to deal with the yipping and yowling of the scraggly, grayish animals. After dealing with Animal Control, the City Council and police, Dudley is not satisfied. She said she has been told if she claps loudly, the animals will disperse.  We've tried that and they don't move, said Dudley. They just look at us. The police offered to send a squad car over and blow the siren but, Dudley said, she found waving a flashlight worked best.  There is perhaps one positive note to the dilemMA - We have not seen skunks or raccoons in two months, said Dudley. Is that their dinner? The two coyotes live by the Anheuser Busch building on Riverside Avenue in Medford, Rose said. They use the easement left by old train tracks to get through town. But until they become a threat there is nothing officials can do.  We have coyotes living among us, said Rose, and we just have to try to live with them.


    Scotland Road resident warns pet owners after coyote attack  (back to top)
    Charles Frost - The Daily News
    April 03, 2008

    Newbury, MA - Last week, Laura Hanlon's husband put their two dogs, Riley and Eddie, outside at 6:30 a.m., just like they had been doing for years at their property on Scotland Road.  Minutes later, Laura, her husband and her visiting brother found themselves running outside to ward off a coyote who had crept into their yard and begun to chase Eddie, their Australian cattle dog mix.  Hanlon, equipped with an air horn and her husband's golf club, called for Riley to come inside and he immediately ran back into the house. Hanlon continued into the woods searching for Eddie, who she said is more protective and who might have been chasing the coyote off the property.  After 20 minutes in the woods, Hanlon found Eddie, but didn't realize until later when she saw blood seeping through Eddie's fur that he had been attacked.
    "When I retrieved him, I was very concerned," Hanlon said. "I know one coyote was seen by my husband and they blend in very well with the woods. I felt like it was probably still there. Had I known it had attacked my dog, I would have been even more fearful (that it might attack me)."  Eddie survived after being brought to the Amesbury Animal Hospital, where they shaved his hair off, revealing at least five wounds, including what Hanlon called "two pretty large" ones and "one very large" gash, which was larger than a half dollar.  Eddie was placed on anesthesia, and draining tubes were put into the wounds for several days before he was placed on antibiotics and painkillers. Newbury animal control officer Carol Larocque said coyotes are virtually never a threat to humans but thinks the attack on the dog may have been a territorial issue, citing the fact that coyotes may have their young now and would want to protect them.  "People don't realize how much wildlife is out there; there are an awful lot of coyotes," Larocque said.  "They are running out of environment, so now they have to live amongst us. I know that right down the street from me there is a pack of like 14 coyotes, and there's quite a few up by Scotland Road. They're just all over."
    Larocque said a coyote looks like a cross between a fox and a wolf, and they have a variety of different colors. The coyote attack was not the first sighting that Hanlon and her husband have had on their property. Having lived there for the past 12 years, Hanlon said they have seen two coyotes, with one sighting occurring last March in the woods behind their house.  "It stood there and stared at our dogs," Hanlon said. "We were concerned." Following the sighting, Hanlon contacted the animal control officer, who told her that coyotes are prevalent in the area and they likely had dens in the woods around their house.  The officer also told them that this time of year is mating season, and coyotes can be more aggressive when protecting a pregnant coyote or a litter of pups.  Hanlon said she still didn't ever expect to see one in her yard. "I understand the area we are in is difficult," Hanlon said. "Not only is there a healthy population in our surrounding area, but they also like the area because it is rural. I'd be very concerned owning a cat.  I didn't know we had to be concerned with two big dogs. We know now."  Hanlon said her two dogs are both medium-sized, with Riley, a black Lab, weighing 80 pounds and Eddie weighing 60 pounds. She was alarmed that a coyote would attack animals that are the same size as it or larger.   "It seems to me that I read about (pets being attacked) more and more often in towns even far less rural than Newbury," Hanlon said. "They are even attacking dogs on leashes; it indicates coyotes are losing any significant fear of humans."  Larocque said it is out of the ordinary for a coyote to attack a dog because they normally go for smaller prey like rodents. However, if they have to feed a whole family of young, then they are constantly out looking for a food supply and could even take down a newborn calf, according to Larocque.  Hanlon said since the attack last Tuesday, her dogs haven't been allowed to roam freely like they were before and have only been allowed to go outside while being walked on a leash. She also said Riley, who was fearless before, now searches the woods beyond the perimeter of their backyard and cowers down in fear.  Larocque said this was the first coyote attack reported this year, but she would like to have people call her if they witness another one. "I like to know where attacks are taking place because if they are concentrated in a certain area, the Environmental Police can be made aware of the problem in the certain area," Larocque said. "Then we could kind of notify neighbors and let the people know there is a problem in the area."  Larocque suggested that owners never let their pets loose outside unsupervised to protect them from attacks from other animals. If need be, Larocque said coyotes can be scared off by making a lot of noise.  Since last Tuesday, Hanlon said she has had fencing contractors at her property with ideas for fencing the yard off due to "extremely high levels of anxiety for (the dogs') safety." "I am concerned much more about our dogs' safety than (I was) before last Tuesday," Hanlon said.  "The dogs are 7 and 8 and have never had a life-threatening incident. We enjoyed feeling safe about their existence. We no longer feel that way.  "We will take some action. We will do what we need to do to prevent this from happening again."

    Trapped!   (back to top)
    Towns losing the war against beavers

    By Aaron Nicodemus TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
    Monday, March 31, 2008

    WESTBORO, MA - With their penchant for damming up running water and chewing down tree after tree, American beavers can create headaches galore for property owners, water department managers and highway superintendents. They're also admired for their ingenuity, work ethic and engineering skills. Their thick winter pelts can fetch as much as $23. Beavers have caused so many problems in Westboro, in so many different places, that the towns Department of Public Works has requested $5,000 in next years budget just for beaver-related problems. They're everywhere. Its amazing the destruction they can cause in a short period of time, said Edward I. Wagner Jr., assistant manager of the Westboro Department of Public Works. The town recently paid to have five beavers trapped and killed because they were blocking up a culvert under Nourse Street that nearly flooded the basement of a house and could have flooded the street. Once completely wiped out in Massachusetts, beavers have made an amazing come back, aided by a 1996 statewide ballot question that banned many kinds of traps. The law was modified in 2000 to allow for a trapping season and emergency trapping permits, but by then the population had tripled, from 20,000 statewide to more than 70,000. There are no current accurate counts of beavers, state wildlife officials say, because there are no uniform reporting requirements for counting trapped beavers. The trapper hired by Westboro used a conibear trap, which catches the entire animals body. Trappers say it immediately kills the animal by dislocating its spine. Animal rights advocates say many animals survive until the trapper returns. Trap and release is not an option. It is illegal in Massachusetts to catch a wild animal in one location and release it somewhere else, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. It is also illegal to break down a beaver dam without a permit. Mr. Wagner estimated that his department spends six to eight hours a week on beaver problems, mostly clearing away beaver dams from culverts and checking known beaver areas for new problems. Beavers regularly block culverts near the Westboro Tennis & Swim Club on Lake Chauncy, and on Whittemore Pond off Flanders Road. In Suasco Reservoir on Arch Street, Mr. Wagner said the town has paid for about 20 beavers to be removed in the past three or four years.  As soon as we trap them, others move right in, he said.  The town pays to remove beavers because they build dam after dam in front of the culvert there, which has flooded out the section of Arch Street by the railroad bridge. Every time, the beavers adapt after a dam is removed.  The beavers are smart. I have a lot of respect for them, he said. If you remove the dam, the next time, they start to dam up inside the pipe first, so we cant get to it.  Paul McNulty, Westboro's director of public health, said the town issues only one or two emergency trapping permits a year, although the department is aware of residents hiring trappers during the trapping season, which lasts from Nov. 1 to April 15.  The beaver population has just exploded, he said. Communities throughout Massachusetts have battled with beavers, whose dams flood out roads, basements, wells and septic systems. They can also chew down a wooded lot in a short time, leaving areas open to erosion. But simply trapping and killing the animals is a short-term solution, since beavers tend to reappear in areas where there is running water and plenty of food. Beavers are beavers, they're wildlife, and we've got to balance the human and the wild, said Ginny Scarlet, wetlands and soil specialist for the town of Spencer. She said that while plenty of private landowners in town have called trappers to remove beavers causing problems, the town has tried to co-exist with them. In three different spots in Spencer along the Cranberry River, on private property off McCormick Road and on land at Buck Hill Pond beaver pipes have been installed to allow water to flow through beaver dams. It becomes a maintenance issue at that point, she said. You've still got to clear it out regularly; the beavers will try to clog it up. In 2006, an emergency beaver trapping permit issued by the West Boylston Board of Health sparked an outcry from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. But Board of Health chairman Robert J. Barrell Jr. said the board has issued only two such permits in the nine years he has been a member. We've got to learn to live with beavers, he said. Removing them is'nt a long-term solution. It's only a matter of time before a family re-habitats the area. In several locations in town, private landowners have installed water diverters, usually pipes which help mask the sound of running water, which attracts beavers. The town of Templeton has had success keeping beavers away from culverts with six beaver deterrent fences. The beavers still try to plug them, but with a few modifications, we've kept them clear, said Templeton Highway Superintendent Francis Chase. But the beavers don't give up. All they do is go upstream, and they flood other peoples properties. He said each fence cost about $1,500 to install, and requires regular maintenance. Mr. Chase said the beaver population is out of control. People in the cities, they think they're beautiful when they drive down the country roads and see them working away, he said. But they're causing a lot of trouble for somebody.

    After Homo sapiens, no mammal in North America can alter a landscape faster than the Castor canadensis.


    Testing reveals rabid raccoon   

    (back to top)
    By Anna Kivlan/Daily News staff
    Dedham Transcript [STORY]
    Posted Mar 21, 2008 @ 12:24 AM


    WALPOLE, MA - The Walpole animal control officer has confirmed a case of rabies in that town, and he thinks it won't be the last one this year. John Spillane said a rabid raccoon on March 9 lunged at two Akitas tied up outside a Washington Street home, biting one of them on the lower leg before the dog killed it. The woman who owns the dogs phoned Spillane, who took the dead raccoon, decapitated it and delivered the head to the state laboratory. He learned last week that the raccoon tested positive for rabies. Because the dog was up to date with its vaccinations, it was given a booster shot and placed in quarantine at home, where it will remain for 45 days to make sure it doesn't come down with the disease. If the Akita hadn't been vaccinated, the owner's choice would have been a six-month quarantine or euthanasia. Spillane said the case in Walpole leads him to believe there's going to be a high incidence of rabies in wild animals this year, perhaps as many as 20 to 30 in town. "It's hard to say because if I get a call for a sick (wild) animal, I just put it down," he said. "We've had a quiet last two years, and rabies rises and falls in cycles." "It's not a normal thing for a raccoon to come out of the woods and go after big dogs," he said. With the arrival of spring, the possibility of running into a rabid animal increases, though rabies in domestic animals is rare and it is even rarer in humans. Rabies is fatal if left untreated. The chances of human infection are rising with the coming of spring. "Obviously, the spring and summer are more active (for rabies) because more people are outside," said Dr. John D'Esopo, a veterinarian at Dr. Wolf's Medical Center in Dedham and the town's animal inspector. So far this year, one animal - a squirrel - has been tested for rabies in Dedham, said Health Director Catherine Cardinale. The test came back negative. Last year, nine animals were tested for rabies and two raccoons came back positive, she said. In Norwood, two cats with "wounds of unknown origin" were quarantined last year but did not come down with the disease, said Michael Cahill, rabies program coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. And there were no rabies cases in Westwood last year, although three animals were submitted for testing, said Health Director Linda Shea. But residents shouldn't become lax about vaccinating pets just because there were no rabies cases in town last year. "Although you may not see a positive in several years, it's just a matter of time until we have another. The best thing to do to protect you and your family is to vaccinate," said Cahill. Vaccination and licensing clinics for cats and dogs will be held in Dedham from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 19 at the Animal Rescue League at 55 Anna's Place, and from 9 a.m. to noon on April 5 at the Carby Street Municipal Office Building at 50 Carby St. in Westwood. The cost of the vaccine, required for dogs and cats by state law, is $10 in Westwood, and $8 in Dedham. Microchip implants - for animal identification - will also be offered at the Dedham clinic for $15. For residents of Norwood and Walpole, towns that won't be offering clinics this year, vaccines are administered for $14 at the Norwood and Dedham Petco locations year-round. The stores are located on Providence Highway. LuvMyPet - an organization that provides vaccinations by licensed veterinarians in 23 states - offers the shots every other Sunday in Norwood from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and one Saturday a month between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the Dedham location. This month's Dedham clinic is March 29. Ferrets can also be vaccinated at the Petco clinics. While the facts about rabies are well-publicized, Cahill estimates that only 70 to 80 percent of dogs and 30 to 40 percent of cats are vaccinated statewide. Because cats are a lot less likely to be vaccinated, the incidence of rabies among them is much higher, he said. Rabies lives in saliva and nerve tissue, according to a Massachusetts Department of Public Health fact sheet. It is spread when an infected animal bites or scratches another animal or human, or if the saliva comes into contact with broken skin, open wounds, eyes, noses and mouths. For adult animals, the vaccination is good for three years, said Cahill. Pets that come into contact with wildlife - whether they are bitten or merely exposed to another animal's saliva - must be tested for rabies. Any mammal can get rabies, he said. Although rare, rabies can show up in rodents, like squirrels and woodchucks. "I had the first woodchuck in the state that came down rabid," said Spillane. "They said rodents couldn't get it. ... It climbed a six-foot high chain-link fence to go after a hound dog," he said. "The dog killed it."


    Beaver problems continue to plague Miles River    (back to top)

    Salem News

    By Steve Landwehr - Staff writer

    February 20, 2008 02:05 pm   

    Ipswich, MA - It's a little hard to tell if Wenham's culverts on the Miles River are performing up to expectations after being replaced last year. Due to heavy rains and melting snow the past two weeks, there's an unusually high amount of water in the river, but don't blame the culverts.  "There's not a lot of flow out there because of all the beaver dams downstream," Tyack said. No Wenham residents have complained of flooding so far, he said.  The news is not so good in Hamilton, however, where water levels threaten to submerge some septic systems.  State Rep. Brad Hill is pointing his finger directly at officials in his own hometown, Ipswich. Wenham, Hamilton and Beverly, the other three communities through which the river runs, have all done trapping and dam breaching to alleviate beaver problems, and even the MBTA has helped out by clearing one of the culverts under its tracks.  "The town of Ipswich hasn't done anything," Hill said.  Flooding during the Mother's Day storm in 1986 destroyed three culverts in Wenham. The cost to replace them was $1.8 million. Homes in Beverly, Wenham and Hamilton were also flooded.  Ipswich is part of the Miles River Task Force that formed to tackle perennial problems with the river. Besides the beaver population, the river is heavily infested with purple loosestrife, an invasive plant that is choking the river and inhibiting its ability to act as sponge during rain storms.  Hill said he hopes to be on the Ipswich selectmen's agenda soon so coalition members can plead their case for more action.  "It's puzzling to me why one town is unwilling to do anything when the other three have spent money, and a good deal of money, so the water can get through," Hill said. "It's useless if the water has no place to go.  "Ipswich Conservation Commission Chairman David Standley has publicly expressed skepticism about beaver trapping. The commission would have to grant permission for any dams to be breached.  Standley says he doesn't doubt trapping and breaching would be successful in the short run, but beavers are bound to return. The rodents are here because this has become good beaver habitat, he said.  Hill said the river coalition is waiting for Sen. Ted Kennedy or Congressman John Tierney to place an "earmark" in the federal budget that would provide money for the Army Corps of Engineers to look into dredging the river, but there's no guarantee that will come to pass.  In the meantime, Hill hopes he can just get some quick decisions on beaver dams.  "I'm very disappointed in the actions of Ipswich," he said.


    State orders breach to avert dam failure
    Published: Friday, February 08, 2008 The Republican Newsroom

    SPRINGFIELD - The state issued an emergency order on Friday to breach an Indian Orchard dam in order to prevent it from failing and releasing 30 million gallons of water downstream toward a mobile home park.  Crews with heavy construction equipment began tearing a hole in the large earthen dam at Bircham Bend Pond off Worcester Street on Friday afternoon. The property is owned by Solutia and the Postal Service, said Robert J. Hassett, the city's director of emergency preparedness.  A beaver dam blocked a culvert downstream, causing rainwater to flood a ravine between the culvert and the earthen dam. Officials said they feared the culvert could open suddenly, causing the pooled water to drain quickly.
    This could weaken the earthen dam and cause it to fail, releasing about 30 million gallons of water downstream toward the Bircham Bend Mobile Home Park off Grochmal Avenue.  Large pumps were being hauled in from Chicopee to assist with the draining, said Hassett. Before the pumps were brought in, the plugged 30-inch culvert was draining at a rate of about 2 inches an hour, he said.  The state Division of Conservation and Recreation's Division of Dam Safety issued an emergency order on Friday for the dam to be breached, Hassett said.  Fire Department spokesman Dennis G. Leger said that emergency plans were put into place to evacuate residents of the trailer park on Thursday if necessary. Emergency officials went from door to door to notify about 200 residents of the potential danger.  The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority was ready to dispatch four buses to transport people, and the nearby John F. Kennedy Middle School was ready to be converted into an emergency shelter, said Leger.  The warning was a precaution, and not because the dam was in immediate danger of giving way, he said. "We were just leaning forward in the saddle because we wanted to be prepared for any eventuality," he said.  By breaching the dam on Friday, officials sought to balance the level of water in the pond and in the flooded ravine, and then allow it to drain.  The emergency unearthed a dispute between Solutia and the city's Conservation Commission. The state Division of Dam Safety inspected the dam last July, and noted several concerns. It recommended that the dam be breached, said Jay Nesbitt, Solutia plant manager.  The company had a contractor prepared to breach the dam, he said, "but when we told the city, they said no." Christopher Collins, chairman of the Conservation Commission, said his panel balked at permitting the work because Solutia tried to tear down the dam without city approval.  He said the state gave Solutia the option of repairing the dam, but the commission was not notified of the project until November. The commission has to approve all projects that involve work in and around a wetland.  Solutia officials did not appear before the commission until January, and when they did, they had no specific plans about the project, Collins said. Also, by that time, the special permit issued by the state had expired, he said.  "For Solutia to say the Conservation Commission is responsible for blocking it is not accurate," he said. He said that Solutia did not receive permission from the Postal Service for the dam project until Friday morning.


    Earthen dam poses risk to development   (back to top)


    By Michael Morton/Daily News staff

    Mon Jan 21, 2008, 12:05 AM EST


    FRANKLIN, MA - A dam at the DelCarte conservation area is at risk of collapsing, according to a report released last week, a development that could threaten downstream homes.  Town engineering consultants did not give a time frame for the possible failure during a presentation at the Conservation Commission Thursday, but they did categorize the dam as a "significant" hazard, not a "high" one.  "We felt there would definitely be significant impact to the surrounding area," said engineer Matthew Bellisle, the president of Pare Corp.  While only one of the seven earthen dams - No. 3, in the middle of the 130-acre property - poses a threat, the others could collapse, too, Bellisle said.  Over the years, trees have sprouted on the structures, tearing the dams apart with their roots, he said, and water flow has changed paths because of beaver activity and is now eroding the man-made structures.  "The beavers are causing a tremendous amount of damage to the area," said Bellisle. The current dam configuration holds back the Mill River and was made by longtime landowner Ernest DelCarte, who took an old cranberry growing operation and turned it into a fishing and boating spot. After his death, his daughter donated the $3 million property to the town, according to his wishes.  While Bellisle cautioned that his team has more work to do, he suggested repairing three of the dams, including the problematic No. 3.  The rest might be removable, he said. "It might be more cost-effective to remove those structures," he said, referring to the need to maintain any dams that are left.
    Several Conservation Commission members noted that removing dams could make the remaining ponds bigger, increasing recreational opportunities.  While the engineering team still needs to assess the impact of different options and make a final recommendation, Conservation Commission Chairman Raymond Willis said after the meeting that the removal of four dams could range anywhere from several hundred thousand dollars to a couple of million.  The current study costs $25,000 and is being funded by fees and fines collected by the commission. Any further spending would have to come from other sources, Willis has said.  During Thursday's meeting, Bellisle pointed out that there are more than 3,000 dams in Massachusetts, with Franklin's structures unlikely to qualify for the limited state repair grants available.  Commission member Paul Boncek agreed. "This isn't a very threatening situation," he said.  Michael Morton can be reached at or 508-634-7582.


    City howling over coyotes   (back to top)

    Two dozen in six weeks; some venture downtown

    By Thomas Caywood TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF - Jan. 16, 2008

    WORCESTER, MA - City health officials have issued a “coyote alert” in response to roughly two dozen sightings of the animals here during the last six weeks, including some near the heart of downtown. “We’ve had sightings from every part of the city, not just on the outskirts. They’re coming down into the core of the city,” said Derek S. Brindisi, the city’s director of public health.


    Red tape may seal beavers' fate   (back to top)

    By Joyce Kelly/MetroDaily West News staff
    Posted Nov 09, 2007 @ 01:13 AM


    HOLLISTON, MA - Chances of evading a death trap look slim for the Bogastow Brook beavers.
    Water commissioners Wednesday night agreed to try saving the beavers, which the state deemed a public health threat in
    September, by seeking help from the Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Animal Rescue League. The state Department of Environmental Protection is advising the town to immediately remove the beavers, which commonly carry two life-threatening parasites, giardia lamblia and cryptosporidium, and their dam. The animals' proximity to a public  drinking water source, Well No. 5, off Central Street, poses an immediate threat to the water supply and public health.  But using lethal traps appears to be the only way to remove the beavers, said Water Department Superintendent Ron Sharpin, since transporting them is illegal. To legally move a wild animal such as a beaver, a permit must be obtained from the state Division of Wildlife & Fisheries, which has a policy to not issue permits to transport beavers, said division spokeswoman Lisa Capone. Yesterday, the Daily News contacted Mass Audubon and the Animal Rescue League of Boston to see whether either group would consider taking the Bogastow Brook beavers and save their lives. "No, we can't take them. You can't move them. No, you definitely can't do that," said Stacy Miller at Mass Audubon in Natick. "That would not work out - we have enough beavers of our own," she said, laughing. The Animal Rescue League also indicated it cannot help the beavers. "If there's healthy wildlife, the state prevents organizations such as ours from picking up a wild animal and moving it to another location," said Christopher Smalley, the league's director of media relations. He suggested the town contact the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which does have a program to manage wildlife.  Even if an organization such as Mass Audubon agreed to "adopt" the beavers and give them a new home, the Division of Wildlife & Fisheries will not allow them to be transported, Capone said. Beavers are creating problems "all over" the state, so Wildlife & Fisheries officials view their relocation as simply moving the problem from one place to another, she said. "The Division of Fisheries & Wildlife does not allow relocation of beavers for any reason," Capone said yesterday. Sharpin, who has been in emergency preparedness classes with other town officials all week, said he has not yet contacted the Animal Rescue League or Mass Audubon. Since the state passed the law prohibiting the use of lethal traps without a permit from the local board of health, beavers have caused problems all over the state, Sharpin said.  During wetter weather, the overflow of Bogastow Brook created by the beaver dam backed up into neighbors' septic systems. Even after August's record low rainfall, when the pond was down to the lowest level it can go, Sharpin said, it didn't recede from the well. "It's really ridiculous what the law's resulted in. It seemed to be innocent at first ... but it's evolved into a real environmental impact and human impact. "It's a problem we don't know any other solution for, and I guess the state doesn't either," Sharpin said.

    (Joyce Kelly can be reached at 508-626-4423 or


    Officials: Beavers a threat to water supply    (back to top)

    By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

    October 18, 2007

    HOLLISTON The Water Department is seeking approval to trap and kill beavers after concluding they are creating a threat to the public water supply, according to Superintendent Ron Sharpin.  Following Sharpin's application to the state to use banned traps to remove the beavers to protect drinking water Well 5 on Central Street, the Department of Environmental Protection conducted a site inspection.  In her Sept. 27 letter, Marielle Stone, chief of the DEP's Drinking Water Program/Bureau of Resource Protection, concluded the presence of beavers there "poses an immediate threat to your public water supply and public health."  The Water Department will soon present its concerns about the beaver threat in seeking the Conservation Commission's approval to trap and kill the beavers, Sharpin said.  Water Department officials will attempt to convince the Conservation Commission the "only way to protect the water supply is to use the traps and remove the beavers," as the town has used nonlethal methods, which have been unsuccessful, Sharpin said.  The use of traps to remove beavers is permitted without an emergency permit during the Nov. 1 - April 15 trapping season, according to Stone. If the town uses the traps, it will not do so until Nov. 1, Sharpin said.  After two residents on Pilgrim Road and Bullard Street complained of beaver-related flooding in their yards in March, the Board of Health hired Beaver Solutions, a Southampton consultant, to resolve the problem without lethal body-grip traps.  At the time, officials were worried about flooding that occurred within 400 feet of Well 5. "We wanted to use nonlethal methods," said Health Agent/Director Ann McCobb.  Beaver Solutions used "beaver deceivers," a piping system to lower the water levels at Bogastow Brook that beavers had raised.   
    The Water Department and Board of Health have been monitoring the situation since spring, Sharpin said, and observed that in late summer the beaver pond still had not receded from Well 5.  "We need a 400-foot radius around the well (to comply with the state's mandate) to control what is within that area, that there is no potential contamination or risk to the water supply," Sharpin said.  In July, the department conducted a microscopic particulate analysis test of the well, which indicated a moderate risk of groundwater under the influence of surface water, Sharpin said. Certain particles could be picked up if surface water is feeding groundwater, which creates a moderate risk of slight contamination, Sharpin said.


    Fox attach in Chelmsford   (back to top)

    Chelmsford, MA -  A woman is getting tested for rabies after she was attacked by a fox.

    Police say the aggressive fox bit her and cut her right leg. It even tried to get into her condo.

    Animal rescue is testing the fox for rabies and is waiting for results.

    Officers say they had to destroy the fox.


    Coyotes attacks 11-pound dog   (back to top)

    By Jeff Gilbride, Daily News staff

    Posted Sep 13, 2007


    Waltham, MA - Coyotes attacked and mauled an 11-pound dog in Waltham early yesterday morning.  Penny, the injured animal, was taken to the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center of New England, a 24-hour animal hospital on Bear Hill Road, where she was euthanized.  This is first recorded coyote attack in Waltham, according to police.  Lt. Joseph Brooks said yesterday around dawn, a resident of Lincoln Street let Penny, a mixed-breed, out the front door to run around the neighborhood near Smith Street, where she was attacked.  "He heard all this yelping," Brooks said.  "He went outside with a flashlight. His dog came back but it was all chewed up. They brought it to the vet."  Neighbors are warned to keep tabs on their pets.  "These things kind of create mass hysteria," he said. "Just make sure you keep your dogs on a leash or in a fenced-in yard. Coyotes are most active at dawn and dusk."  Brooks also recommended keeping cats inside.  "There have been reports, not here, but of coyotes who have been known to attack cats," he said.  According to Brooks, Penny, who had been with the family since she was a puppy, lived in a semi-wooded residential area in the 600 block of Lincoln Street, bordering Rte. 128 and Smith Street.  Amy Shroff, a veterinarian at the hospital, said the facility has treated about six pets for injuries received in coyote attacks.  "I've had coyote attacks in my neighborhood. I live in Wayland," she said. "Coyotes tend to be fairly quiet animals that are only looking for food for their young."  Shroff encouraged residents not to take violent action against coyotes.  "It's a situation no one should have to go through. It's really traumatic," she said. "I think the real issue is we're encroaching on their territory. The coyotes, like other animals, are only trying to survive and they need to eat. Unfortunately, smaller dogs and smaller cats, if they are out and not supervised, these things can happen."  Shroff also offered ways for Waltham residents to protect their pets.  "Cats should really be indoor animals. They should be in, in the early morning hours. Small dogs ... it's not just coyotes we worry about, there's other dogs that run in packs," she said. "The typical attack scenario is small or older dogs and cats that are out unattended."  Shroff said pet owners can reduce the chance for attacks by watching over their animals outside at dusk and dawn.  "The coyotes aren't going anywhere," she said. "I think we just need to have more common sense and understand these animals are only feeding. They are not necessarily violent animals."    Jeff Gilbride can be reached at 781-398-8005 or 


    Beavers, not humans, ruin Puffer's Pond    (back to top)

    The Amherst Bulletin -  August 17, 2007


    To the Bulletin:

    I found it interesting that the article concerning erosion and giardia contamination at Puffer's Pond avoided mentioning the resident beavers and instead focused attention on the human activity around and in the pond. Having visited the local swimming hole and conservation area for 20 years, I have sadly noticed much devastation, specifically around the pond itself, in the past five to eight years. Sad because not only is Puffer's Pond a wonderful, icy cold swimming spot that makes this area so special, but also because of the loss of important climax forest trees which have taken many years to grow to their mature sizes. What I have noticed in the past years is the construction of a beaver dam, and then subsequent destruction of many trees around the pond, including old beautiful beech and hemlock trees. I believe this has led to the erosion problems more than the human activity around and in the pond, which only occurs a few months out of the year. The beavers are at work for a much longer period. And one has to consider that the ultimate destiny of a beaver-inhabited area is meadow. The beavers will use up all the food available and then leave. It is easy to see the changes at Puffer's that have resulted from the beaver activity. A marsh is growing, and giardia counts are most likely rising. I am a naturalist and love nature, but I am not the type that doesn't believe in deer hunting or getting rid of beavers when they cause serious problems for humans or even the natural environment. Consider that Puffer's Pond is a much-loved man-made swimming hole, and many children enjoy this spot during the summer months. Giardia is a nasty parasite that causes chronic diarrhea, intestinal discomfort, fatigue and weight loss. It requires medication. Children are more likely to ingest the cysts from beaver feces by ingesting the pond water. Giardia cysts can last out of water on toys (perhaps rafts) for a long time. Also, the organism can be harbored by dogs. A beaver is a giant rodent, the largest North American rodent in fact. They feed on tree bark and cambium (the living layer of the tree, underneath the bark), living for up to 20 years. If one were to look up "beaver damage" online, one would find that not only is it a common problem, but one of the main aspects of the damage that beavers cause is erosion. Erosion was the main problem at Puffer's Pond cited in the article by Mary Carey. There seems to be a problem with beaver control in this area. Puffer's Pond is just another victim of the lack of policy for dealing with beaver damage. One has to wonder: Do I prefer a beautiful swimming hole, with lovely trees, or do I prefer beavers taking over, infesting the water with a parasite and turning the swimming hole into a meadow? Personally, I prefer beech trees to beavers. Especially in a conservation area, for the beavers will and have ruined the conservation of other important wildlife species. - Patricia Duffy, Leverett MA



    Officials: Beavers a threat to water supply

          (back to top)
    By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff - METROWEST DAILY NEWS
    Posted Oct 18, 2007 @ 06:11


    The Water Department is seeking approval to trap and kill beavers after concluding they are creating a threat to the public water supply, according to Superintendent Ron Sharpin.  Following Sharpin's application to the state to use banned traps to remove the beavers to protect drinking water Well 5 on Central Street, the Department of Environmental Protection conducted a site inspection.  In her Sept. 27 letter, Marielle Stone, chief of the DEP's Drinking Water Program/Bureau of Resource Protection, concluded the presence of beavers there "poses an immediate threat to your public water supply and public health."  The Water Department will soon present its concerns about the beaver threat in seeking the Conservation Commission's approval to trap and kill the beavers, Sharpin said.  Water Department officials will attempt to convince the Conservation Commission the "only way to protect the water supply is to use the traps and remove the beavers," as the town has used nonlethal methods, which have been unsuccessful, Sharpin said.  The use of traps to remove beavers is permitted without an emergency permit during the Nov. 1 - April 15 trapping season, according to Stone. If the town uses the traps, it will not do so until Nov. 1, Sharpin said.  After two residents on Pilgrim Road and Bullard Street complained of beaver-related flooding in their yards in March, the Board of Health hired Beaver Solutions, a Southampton consultant, to resolve the problem without lethal body-grip traps.  At the time, officials were worried about flooding that occurred within 400 feet of Well 5. "We wanted to use nonlethal methods," said Health Agent/Director Ann McCobb.  Beaver Solutions used "beaver deceivers," a piping system to lower the water levels at Bogastow Brook that beavers had raised.  The Water Department and Board of Health have been monitoring the situation since spring, Sharpin said, and observed that in late summer the beaver pond still had not receded from Well 5.  "We need a 400-foot radius around the well (to comply with the state's mandate) to control what is within that area, that there is no potential contamination or risk to the water supply," Sharpin said.  In July, the department conducted a microscopic particulate analysis test of the well, which indicated a moderate risk of groundwater under the influence of surface water, Sharpin said. Certain particles could be picked up if surface water is feeding groundwater, which creates a moderate risk of slight contamination, Sharpin said.


    Coyote attack: Wild canines kill small dog Keep close watch on pets if coyotes are nearby, experts say


    (back to top)

    The Patriot Ledger Quincy, MA - Karen Goulart
    September 8, 2007


    Hingham MA - It was a typical morning that would wind up tragic for a Hingham dog owner. Ken Cardillo and his family hope sharing what happened that day might spare other pet owners - or parents - from a similar experience.  Like countless other mornings, Matilda, an 8-year-old Boston terrier, woke Cardillo, wanting to be let outside. It was part of their daily routine; Matilda would do her business while Cardillo shaved for work.  The little dog never wandered far from the Beal Street house and would wait for Cardillo to return and let her inside, he said. But one morning last week, just a few minutes after she went outside, Cardillo said he heard a loud whimper.  He quickly dressed, grabbed a flashlight and ran outside, searching in brush and briars. His son joined him, they called police, but Matilda was nowhere to be found. Later, he said, a neighbor told him three coyotes had been behind Cardillo's house. "They must've come down and grabbed her," Cardillo said. Cardillo said he had never seen coyotes on his property. But he has seen them on his street.  In the full light of day, one of Cardillo's daughters, Alison, went into the woods and found Matilda's body. Cardillo said he didn't want to know the details, but heard enough.  "She was kinda ripped apart," he said. "I didn't ask my daughter for more." These days coyote sightings are not uncommon in suburbs like Hingham or even in cities. During the spring and summer, police and animal control receive several calls about the canines, but under state law, there is little that can be done about them.  Usually coyotes, while not shy, will not bother with larger pets or people. But, state wildlife experts and veterinarians who deal with attacked pets say it is never a good idea to leave small dogs or cats unattended when coyotes are known to be nearby.
    Coyotes have adapted to the suburbs because food and shelter is easy to come by. But a hungry coyote may see a small dog as prey and a big dog as competition. Hingham Animal Control Officer Al Currie said fatal attacks like the one on Matilda are rare. He believes the last one happened about 5 or 6 years ago. He said for the most part coyotes "do what they're supposed to do," but the more they lose remote places to live and hunt, the more careful people need to be.  "It's not just small dogs, if you've got an old dog, a sick dog, it's not so much the size," Currie said. "If you've got a coyote around, don't leave the dog unsupervised and definitely don't let it run by itself."  Cardillo's daughter, Karin, who grew up on Beal Street and now lives in Maine, said she is concerned for residents in the area with pets as well as small children. There are a lot more young families in the area than there used to be, she said.  "People probably know the coyotes are out there," she said. "But they may not know just how close the animals really are."  Karen Goulart may be reached at


    Town grapples with big hazard: beavers    (back to top)

    Telegram & Gazette July 19, 2007 - Shirley Barnes


    Templeton MA - The worst natural hazard facing local officials is one they share with many other rural communities - the beaver.  The Montachusett Regional Planning Commission met with local officials yesterday to help the town create a plan to mitigate the effects a natural disaster might have on a community.  Earthquakes, sinkholes, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, blizzards, lightning strikes, torrential rains, snow and ice, floods and drought - nothing compares to the concern officials have about the effects of beavers.  The meeting was a little more than two hours long and one hour was spent almost exclusively on beaver dams and the problems they have created on roads, for homeowners, and the light and water department and sewer departments. Beaver abound in the town, which is full of streams, brooks, ponds, bridges with culverts and a plentiful supply of trees.  Jason Stanton, an analyst for the planning commission, told town officials the time they spend on beaver problems is not unusual. "Typically, these meetings are about two hours long and in rural  communities, the first hour is usually spent on beaver problems," Mr. Stanton said.  Town officials said beaver activity near Route 202 in the King Philip Trail area could create a disaster if the dams were allowed to back water up into the closed, but unlined, former landfill. Other problems could be created if sewer lines were crushed or pump stations flooded. One pump station was flooded several years ago, when water from the Birchhill flood protection area backed up to surround the station. This was not related to anything beavers had done, officials said.  Beaver activity is a problem from the southern end of Templeton at Stone Bridge Road to the northern section near Baldwinville Center and Royalston Road. There have also been problems in East Templeton, at the Plant Road sewer pump station, where a broken line could send sewage into the swamps and wetlands in that area.  Beaver baffles have been placed in some problem culverts in town, and employees of various town departments spend several hours each week cleaning culverts and removing dams.  Beaver activity can also create erosion problems, which means more highway hours spent on repairs, according to Highway Superintendent Francis "Bud" Chase. A flood in Depot Pond, near Bridge Street, could wash out a lot of Baldwinville Center, Mr. Chase said.
    The town also needs to inspect dams, which could create major flood hazards if breached. Robert Biagi, project consultant for MRPC, reminded town officials that global warming floods could increase over the next 10 years. If there is not enough snow and slow snow melt to release into the earth, the area could face dry vegetation and other drought-related problems.
    The town should also prepare residents for disasters by providing a list of food and supplies that might be needed. "The town might not face a major disaster, but even a short time without access to staples can create problems," Mr. Biagi warned.  The town has faced hurricanes and minor tornadoes, but must prepare for any big wind event that might occur. Fire Chief Thomas Smith pinpointed several areas in which fires could spread and create a disaster, including in downtown Baldwinville. There, old houses are clustered close to churches and potential fire hazards. Furthermore, at the new DayMill Town House complex, fire apparatus access is limited.  The town is already working on storm water runoff and drainage correction plans. The regional planning commission is working with area towns to develop a Natural Hazard Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan to help reduce or eliminate loss of life or property from natural disasters. In the future, all communities must have a Hazard Mitigation Plan in place to qualify for federal Disaster Mitigation grants.


    Family dog kills rabid fox in his yard


    (back to top)

    By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff
    Posted Jul 03, 2007 @ 11:17 PM

    HOLLISTON, MA - On a recent Saturday morning, the Ahearn family was eating breakfast on the patio of their 68 Cheryl St. home when their German shepherd, Sam, started barking at a noise in the woods.  Suddenly, a snarling fox charged into their backyard toward Sam. "My wife had the kids run inside. My wife, at first tried to get the dog inside, but couldn't get between the dog and the fox - there was nothing she could do," William Ahearn said.  Sam reared up, "took him on, and took him to the ground," said Ahearn. The dog stood back, and the fox got up and attacked him a second time - and that's when Sam killed it, Ahearn said.  Initially, the family thought the black and tan fox, which Ahearn estimated was about half the size of Sam, who weighs 75 pounds, was a coyote. Ahearn grew up around alligators, and said he is not too shaken by the June 16 incident, which the Board of Health reported at its meeting Monday.  The family has seen many foxes in the area, and as many as seven coyotes, he said. "It certainly wasn't the smallest fox I've ever seen," Ahearn said. Holliston Animal Hospital later determined the animal was a red fox and tested positive for rabies, according to Animal Inspector Donald Kramer.  The fox bit Sam in the head, which left a mark but did not puncture the skin, he said. Since Sam had his rabies vaccination, the family was told to just quarantine him at home for 45 days, Board of Health Agent/Director Ann McCobb said.  Animals must be decapitated to test for rabies, which requires taking a brain tissue sample, McCobb said. Only a few cats and dogs - typically 1 percent or less - test positive for the virus, according to Michael Cahill, rabies program coordinator for the state Department of Agricultural Resources.  For that reason, Cahill strongly recommends owners quarantine their pets for 10 days rather than needlessly kill and test them, which also costs the state time and money. Last year, 400 dogs were killed to be tested for rabies, and not a single one was positive, according to the state Department of Public Health Web site.  "They are tested way more than they should be ... and they shouldn't be put down," he said. Rabies is most prevalent in raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats, Cahill said. Animals are not infectious during the incubation period, but pose a threat once the virus becomes active: when it reaches and swells the brain, much like encephalitis, and, three days later, saliva, he said.  The longest dogs and cats live when they're actively infected is eight days, but typically four or five, he said. The state averages one positively tested rabid animal a day, and the distribution of rabid animals is widespread, he said. Southern Worcester County is busy now, and in June, animals tested positive for rabies in the towns of Holliston (red fox), Framingham (raccoon), Wellesley (raccoon), Brookline (bat), and Sudbury (woodchuck), Cahill said.  Massachusetts was free of rabies until the early 1990s, when southern animals spread a virulent form of the virus up the East Coast, primarily through raccoons, according to Wayne F. MacCallum, director of MassWildlife.  Now rabies, which can infect any mammal, is endemic to Massachusetts and kills most of the raccoons and foxes here, he said. The population then rebuilds itself, and the virus takes aim again - about a four-year cycle, MacCallum said.  "There's no way to eliminate the virus unless you eliminated all the animals," MacCallum said. Signs to watch for: Erratic behavior: animals do not show wariness or fear of people, and some instances, attack people. Normally, MacCallum said, foxes are "quite leery" and keep their distance. When they are infected with rabies - they can exhibit a "passive friendliness" that can attract children. Foaming at the mouth occurs in only about 15 percent of rapid animals, MacCallum said.  If an animal starts acting strangely, call animal control, he advised. "The best way to protect your family and your pets from rabies is to make sure your cats and dogs are current with vaccinations, which are safe and effective," Cahill said.
    William Ahearn said he is pleased at how Sam reacted. "Having the dog out there was kind of an assurance (of protection). He certainly did his job - not that we got him to be an attack dog, but it's something German shepherds are good at," he said. "Certain instincts are bred in shepherds to protect, and he certainly was protecting his people."  (Joyce Kelly can be reached at 508-626-4423 or


    Beavers too eager for them   (back to top)

    Many in suburbs fretting as beavers build wildly

    By Javier C. Hernandez, Globe Correspondent | June 28, 2007


    ANDOVER, MA - In the midst of the Great Depression, beavers were so scarce in Massachusetts after years of unrestricted hunting that the state was forced to acquire three from New York to revive their presence. Now the number of buck-toothed, tree-chomping rodents is exploding across the state, with beavers causing flooded backyards and munching their way through local forests.  Wildlife specialists said the state's beaver population has tripled in the last decade to an estimated 70,000 to 80,000. The boom coincides with a record number of complaints about Castor canadensis.  As residential sprawl yet again pits human against animal, the large rodents have sparked territorial battles in cranberry bogs in the southeastern part of the state, near wetlands in Western Massachusetts, and in neighborhoods across the Merrimack Valley and the North Shore. While there have been scattered reports of beaver problems around the state over the past several years, Alan French, who heads the Andover-based Bay Circuit Alliance, a coalition of state and local landowners -- said the dams showing up in the Andover area this year are the biggest he has ever seen .  Several months ago, flooding from beaver dams closed an 18-mile stretch of the 200-mile Bay Circuit Trail, which rings Boston. French, 75, is working with local landowners to bypass the flooded areas of the trail, but he said the beaver issue has divided residents of Andover, impeding efforts to solve the problem. "If you had 10 neighbors, the other nine would be for nuking them," French said yesterday during a tour of Andover dams. "The polarization is just gigantic." On the tour, French walked past a bench built in memory of his late wife. Because of the handiwork of beavers, it now sits in mud, overlooking a drowning boardwalk near the Skug River. The growth of human and beaver populations, coupled with stronger restrictions on trapping, has led to tensions, especially in Northeastern Massachusetts suburbs, according to Stephen DeStefano, a US Geological Survey researcher at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who studies beavers for the state."In general, what we're seeing is there are more beavers trying to occupy more places," he said. While beavers have a reputation for troublemaking, conservationists point to the positive effect they can have on habitats. Indeed, on Andover's Salem Street, right across from a dam on the Skug River Reservation, Susan Reichter and her family have come to love the beavers' presence. They snap photos of the rare wood ducks, great blue herons, and mallards that dip in and out of the new pond in her backyard created by flooding from a nearby dam. While French pointed to nearby pines and explained beavers' techniques, Reichter bolted out of her house to question him. She said she watches over the dam to prevent other local residents from trying to tear it down."The fact that the beaver has done what he's done is great," said Reichter, a bookkeeper.  

    In 1996, Massachusetts voters passed a referendum that restricted the use of traps. To trap a beaver outside the sanctioned season, which runs from Nov. 1 to April 15, residents must obtain a special permit by convincing their local health board that the beaver's presence poses a safety risk. John Benedetto, 58, has served as a trapper in the Wakefield area for 40 years. He said he has noticed a dramatic increase recently in the number of residents who have called him for help. "Everybody likes the beaver until he moves into the backyard," he said with a chuckle. "Some of the messes people get into are unbelievable. People are suffering." Towns and cities use several different methods to deter beavers, ranging from simple trapping to "beaver deceivers," pipes that are installed beneath dams to stealthily drain ponds, so beavers won't be spurred by the sound of trickling water to instinctively repair their dams. Some residents take more drastic measures. In late spring, DeStefano said, when flooding is common but trapping is illegal without a special permit, more residents appear to be killing the animals outright.  "We're always concerned about the humane treatment of animals," he said. "It feels a little out of control."  Underneath the white pines surrounding the reservation named for his wife, French paused to point out where cattails used to grow. Only water and mud occupy the spot now. French said he hopes residents in Andover will begin to compromise to solve the beaver impasse. "I just want people to be able to walk the trail again," he said. "But you can see the emotions on each side," French said. "I don't think we are going to solve it in a hurry."

    Hernandez can be reached at


    Beavers back - and damming up city


    (back to top)

    Brian Messenger - staff writer [STORY], North Andover, MA -
    June 26, 2007


    HAVERHILL There was a time when it was all but impossible to find a beaver in Massachusetts. They had been hunted to near extinction in the Bay State.  Wildlife supporters may be happy to see the beaver population strong again, but some locals would like the critters to high-tail it out of the Merrimack Valley. Beaver dams are causing flooding from Haverhill to Andover to Newburyport. Conservation Officer Mark Sheehan said several spots in Haverhill are periodically flooded by the work of beavers.  There are pockets of colonies, such as the wetland area behind Regan Ford (car dealership) where they have been a nuisance for the last six to eight years, he said. The Wastewater Department visits weekly to monitor and maintain those blockages so the water flows as it should and doesn't back up. You could end up with flooding of a septic field, or it could get into your basement, Sheehan said. That's when the Health Department comes in as they have authority to issue beaver dam breach permits, which give you the power to gradually pull back the blockage to restore the water to its original height. In Andover, the bottoms of trees lining the east side of Route 125 near Prospect Road are now rotting under water because of beaver dams. Less than a mile away, bridges and boardwalks built for hikers have been submerged. At least four land reservations in the southeast portion of Andover have been affected by the dams. Its pretty much beaver central, said David Bunting, co-chairman of the Andover Trails Committee. The 200-mile Bay Circuit Trail, which runs through 34 towns, including Andover, North Andover and Newburyport, also has been blocked at certain points by flooding caused by beaver dams. Within the last two years they've basically infiltrated the entire Skug River area and built multiple dams that have flooded out many of our trails, said Bunting, also co-warden of the 37-acre Skug River Reservation in Andover. Once absent from the state for more than 150 years, beavers have proliferated here since the early 1900s. In 1996, Massachusetts voters passed a ballot referendum that restricted the use of many animal traps. As a result, the beaver population tripled in a five-year span, from 24,000 in 1996 to 70,000 in 2001, according to the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Theres more interaction between beavers and homeowners than theres ever been, said Andover Conservation Director Bob Douglas. But from an environmental standpoint its not completely negative. Because beavers create wetland areas, they help support numerous other species. Though flooding can happen where beavers build their dams and lodges, the wetlands they create also can prevent flooding elsewhere downstream. So while homeowners often curse the work of beavers, conservation agents try to accept it. The reality is we have to coexist with them, said Fred Snell, president of the Andover Village Improvement Society. Theyre a pain in the neck, and theyre also beneficial at the same time. The beaver population in Massachusetts has quadrupled over the last century, according to Douglas. Its kind of a constant battle of housing issues ... versus a species trying to adjust, said Chris Ward, superintendent of the 700-acre Ward Reservation in both Andover and North Andover. Theyre just doing what theyre meant to do. If they hear running water, they want to dam it up. In 2004, beavers flooded a portion of Ward Reservation, disturbing several miles of trails. In the next six months, Ward and volunteers plan to build a $2,000 boardwalk to restore the flooded trail. Though beavers can be killed by licensed trappers between November and April, the semiaquatic mammals with few natural predators receive an unparalleled level of protection, said Douglas. To trap beavers between April and November, the damage done by the animals must meet the criteria of a public health hazard, according to Andover Health Inspector Patty Crafts. Homeowners should really do their research before they purchase near a wetland that has running water, said Crafts. All of a sudden, come spring, theyll lose their trees. Such 10-day emergency trapping permits are granted by the town fewer than 10 times a year, Crafts said. The flooding of a road or disturbance of a septic system will warrant a permit, she said, as was the case on Gray Road and near High Plain Road. According to Mass. Wildlife, breaching or removing dams and the installation of water level control devices are alternatives to trapping and killing beavers. But despite the problems beavers can create, both Bunting and Ward expressed tolerance of the animals on the reservations they oversee. Our policy with Andover Trails and AVIS is of complete tolerance, said Bunting. Its a matter of relocating trails as needed. Its something that we have to deal with, said Ward. If beavers cant make it on conservation land, where the heck can they make it?


    Beaver dams causing problems   (back to top)

    By Joyce Kelly/Daily News Staff

    June 13, 2007 @ 1:02 am

    The MetroWest Daily News


    Perhaps they don't like the sound of water, or the movement of rushing water...


    Marlborough, MA - Whatever the reason, beavers have just one overwhelming drive: to stop flowing water, according to Robert Landry, Marlborough Board of Health administrator.  "That's what they live for: stopping the water," Landry said with a laugh.  That devotion to dam-building has led to a lot of headaches.  The dams redirect water from rivers and streams into MetroWest backyards. In some cases, the beavers' industry has dried up small ponds and at least one private well, area board of health officials say.  In towns like Holliston, Framingham, Natick, Hopkinton and Marlborough, an "explosion" of beavers is causing what animal-rights activists refer to as "human-beaver conflict," Landry said.  Since the Legislature passed a law in 1996 banning body-grip death traps commonly used to kill beavers, the beaver population has at least tripled, according to Wayne F. McCallum, director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.  "It's an issue particularly in the suburban areas, where you've got flooding of people's yards," McCallum said.  Responding to the damaged yards and wetlands, the Legislature in 2000 amended the law to allow local boards of health to take emergency measures, said Tom O'Shea, chief of wildlife for the state Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. A permit is granted to property owners who are allowed to use lethal traps in specific instances.  If beavers' water-plugging work compromises public health or safety, boards may grant permission to install devices to keep water flowing, catch beavers with lethal traps and breach dams with conservation commission approval, O'Shea said.  "A lot of local boards of health had to do this ... Framingham's had consistent beaver issues in some areas," O'Shea said.  As beaver populations grow and occupy more habitat, those water-flow devices (piping systems) will not remain functional over the areas beavers can occupy, McCallum said.  "As the population grows, it's doing nothing but moving into areas where it causes problems - in places like Ipswich, Hopkinton and Holliston. There's no question in my mind, more rural areas don't have the problems MetroWest areas do," McCallum said.  Worried about flooding near Central and Fiske streets in Holliston, the town's Board of Health, in conjunction with the Conservation Commission, is aiming to begin "beaver mitigation" by the end of this week, according to Board of Health Chairman Richard Maccagnano.  Beavers built a "substantial" dam and backed up the water for acres, threatening people's backyards, Maccagnano said.  "A lot of backyards were flooded, along with a town well in that area. ... The beaver population has been growing quite a bit, and it's grown to a point where it's hard to control the dams," he said. "There are so many beavers, you just can't keep up with them - they work really fast."  Beavers simply can't help themselves, Landry said. Studies show that even when beavers are put in a bathtub, they instinctively try to plug up the water.  Beaver Solutions of South Hampton was hired to create a plan for beaver controls in dams to regulate water levels, he said.  The first step is lowering the water level by six inches, which will have a "drastic effect," Maccagnano said.  Holliston will pay about $2,200 for its beaver-fighting efforts this year, Maccagnano said.  Marlborough also contends with regular flooding in areas like Bigalow Street, off Concord Avenue and Sudbury Road, according to Board of Health Administrator Robert Landry.  Most recently, the city issued an emergency permit to tackle flooding and wetlands problems caused by beavers in neighborhoods off Spoonhill Avenue, Landry said.  Since the trap ban went into effect, the beavers' handiwork has caused flooding at Assabet Valley High School's sports fields, Landry said.  Landry also worries that flooding will spawn more mosquitoes, which may in turn carry the West Nile virus. "It's a problem that seems like it doesn't go away - three (areas) are always on our radar screen," Landry said.  In Framingham, beavers flood myriad public and private areas, including the Massachusetts Turnpike, according to Framingham Director of Public Health Robert Cooper.  About every other year, beavers flood a swamp and brook behind used car depot Adesa, affecting Bates Road, Cooper said.  They also leave a mess near Florida Drive and off Brook Street, he said. "There's a stream they block up and it floods out to one of our pumping stations. It hasn't flooded it out, but it comes awful close," Cooper said.  In the past couple of years, Framingham has issued four emergency permits to deal with beaver problems, Coopers said. Mass. Pike officials have had to obtain permits to deal with an area along the Framingham portion of the highway, Cooper said.  "It's directly related to that Question 1 on ballot a few years ago that banned trapping. There's been an explosion of beavers since then, and a marked decrease in trapped beavers that's created an explosion in beaver population," Cooper said.  "It's frustrating in that the state foisted the whole beaver permit process on the Boards of Health of towns without asking towns about it," said Cooper.  In Hopkinton, beavers have flooded the Cold Spring Brook area, backed up water on Clinton Street near the bridge, and the Cranberry Cove area, according to Thomas Ryder, public health administrator.  "We've issued 10-day permits quite a few times ... We have a problem with them flooding people's backyards and drying up another area - one pond was totally dried up, and the flooding was very close to a private well," said Ryder. Town officials usually hear about beaver troubles in the fall, he said.  Officials haven't been tagging the beavers, but the population seems to have grown in the last several years, Ryder said.  "We've been hearing from one neighborhood group one year, and another neighborhood group the next year," he said.  Last year, seven beavers were killed in the Cranberry Cove area, he said.  Beavers dam up narrow streams and keep moving downstream, he said.  Even the traps are only a temporary solution, and "beaver deceivers" are not working in Hopkinton, Ryder said.  "The problem is, they just keep coming back. It's one of these things - it's all were going to be doing for a long time," Ryder said.  (Joyce Kelly can be reached at 508-626-4423 or

    Beaver damage could be pricey for Sherborn   (back to top)

    By Steve Bagley/Correspondent

    Tuesday June 12, 2007


    Sherborn, MA - They're back.

    Beavers have returned to Sherborn and are already causing damage, forcing the Board of Selectmen, at their May 31 meeting, to begin discussing what to do about the damage the animals cause, and how to pay for it. If left unchecked, the flood damage the dams cause may have to be paid for by Sherborns residents. At that meeting, Sherborn resident Eliot Taylor threw his finger into the air. Due to beavers destructive nature to septic systems, he said, The Massachusetts Audubon Society and the state should bear all costs and exterminate all the beavers. They spray for mosquitoes. Beavers do not belong in Sherborn.  Selectmen Chairman Chris Peck and the rest of the board are investigating non-lethal ways to solve the problem. But there was a sense of urgency in the board.  We have to deal with the beavers, said Vice Chairman Paul DeRensis. The board wants to deal with these seasonal trouble-makers nonlethally, and soon.  Jean Bednor, agent for the Sherborn Conservation Commission, said that the flooding started in April, after 4 inches of rain fell in two days. The fire road next to the Dunstable Dam was flooded, and remains under several inches of pond water. The access it provides to the Bailey Trail conservation land is all but cut off, and the surrounding private property is threatened by the flooding. The damming can cause significant damage, including flooding of basements, erosion of land under roadways and the ruining of private septic systems. If a Sherborn residents land is next to a body of water flooded by a beaver dam and their septic system is ruined, the resident, not the town, will have to repair the damage, said Gary Kelleher, of the Sherborn Community Maintenance and Development Department.  Kelleher said that he consulted with a company called Beaver Solutions who worked with Sherborn to deal with flooding two years ago. They have not been hired yet, said Bednor, and even with their help, repairs will not be easy. Repairs will have to occur in steps, because you don't get in there to do anything with the water as high as it is.  Mike Callahan, the owner of Beaver Solutions, said that he had submitted a proposal to Sherborn's Conservation Commission to solve the Washington Street flooding with something called a flexible pond leveler, a weighted tube resting on the bottom of a pond, whose opening is surrounded by a 40-foot-diameter fence cage, which keeps beavers from swimming close to the pipe to detect the flow of water.  The pipe allows water to flow uninhibited beneath beaver dams, and over the tops of man-made dams such as the one by Washington Street.  The main problem facing the Board of Selectmen with this issue is the matter of how to fund the restoration efforts. At the last Board of Selectmen meeting, DeRensis said that the beavers must be dealt with in a wildlife-friendly way, without killing them.  Bednor stressed that the beaver problem is an ongoing one. Twice in the past seven years, the Conservation Commission has had to issue emergency permits to breach beaver dams on the conservation land by Goulding Street, she said, but that's only a temporary fix. Beavers can rebuild a dam within 24 hours, she said.  The Conservation Commission and the State Division of the Fish and Wildlife Services view the removal of beavers only a temporary solution, and not a desirable one, she said. Beavers live in several places throughout the conservation lands surrounding Sherborn, she added.  The Conservation Commission, DeRensis said, doesnt have the money to hire anyone. The money would have to come either from the selectmen themselves or through the CM&D budget.  Dealing with the flood damage without killing the beavers would run a tab of around $3,000, said Kelleher, plus an additional fee for quarterly inspections, he said.  Peck believes that the board can split the funding between fiscal years. If we decide to fund a portion of the project in June, we could do that, and fund some in next years fiscal year which begins on July 1, he said. This is a situation we have to address quickly.  There are a number of places where there are problems, said Peck. We want to make sure we do this the right way.  The Board of Selectmen was slated to review the beaver problem again at their June 12 meeting after this writing.


    News 7, Boston, Monday, May 14, 2007


    WEYMOUTH, MA - A coyote is on the attack in Weymouth. Its target: a rottweiler.  Ralph Tarina put his pup on a lease, and a minute later one gutsy coyote attacked. Tarina's dog Daisy is far from dainty. She's a 100-pound rottweiler. The average coyote doesn't even weigh half that much. While the dog and coyote began to wrestle on the ground, Tarina grabbed the first weapon he could find.


    Beavers elude death again

        back to top)

    By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

    Wed Nov 07, 2007, 11:58 PM EST



    HOLLISTON, MA - Water Commissioners last night decided they are going to try and save the Bogastow Brook beavers one more time before bringing in the trappers.  "I just have to believe there's some way we can (remove the beavers without killing them)," said Water Commissioner Michael Nagle.  At Nagle's request, Water Superintendent Ron Sharpin will contact the Animal Rescue League and Mass. Audubon Society to see if they have a viable alternative to lethal traps - specifically, getting around the state's policy of not allowing transport of live beavers. On Sept. 21, the state inspected the public drinking water at the Well 5 site off Central Street and concluded beavers there pose an immediate threat to the public health.  Beavers commonly carry two life-threatening parasites, giardia lamblia and cryptosporidium, and their dam has created a massive pool of water within 200 feet of Well 5, the state Department of Environmental Protection wrote in a letter to the Water Department. The state requires a 400-foot buffer zone. The state advised the town to immediately remove the beavers and dismantle the dam.


    Beaver takes revenge on town

     - Felled tree causes outage  (back to top)

    By George Barnes – Telegram & Gazette Staff  June 29 '07


    Phillipston, MA - Beaver justice may have been behind a power outage that left the entire town in the dark for four hours yesterday. I'm calling it a revenge of the beaver. Police Chief Richard D. Valcourt said. Chief Valcourt said he was called out about 2:15 am for a report of a car crash on Route 2A that might have caused a power outage. The chief said he was aware of the outage because his own power was out. When he arrived, he learned it was not a car crash, but a case of beaver-caused damage. I found a beaver had cut down a large poplar tree in front of Athol Ford, he said. The chief, who also is a state forester, said the tree was about 60 feet tall and was laid neatly across the power lines. He said what made him suspect revenge as a motive was an accident a little more than eight hours before. At 6 p.m. Sunday, at the same spot where the tree was cut, a beaver crossing Route 2A was killed in a hit and run accident. The chief said the furry accident victim was likely from the same family as the tree cutter. He said the downed line could have been a simple logging accident, but he thinks otherwise. I think he lost his family member and that was his revenge, the chief said...


     Bradford woman warns her neighbors to keep pets inside   (back to top)
    The Eagle Tribune online, Jason Tait

    April 20, 2007

    Haverhill, MA - -  The sound outside his dark bedroom window was eerie, like a little girl screaming in distress, said 14-year-old Joey Greenwood.  His father, Richard, stepped outside to check the noise and found the familys dog, Buddy, being attacked by a coyote on the front lawn of their Bradford home. The wild canine was on top of the 27-pound cockapoo, chomping on its throat.  Buddy is being treated at an animal hospital for a damaged thorax and severe flesh loss, said Joeys mother, Barbara. The dog is not conscious and may not survive, she said.  Wednesday nights scary experience is spurring Barbara Greenwood to warn her Bradford neighbors to keep their pets inside to avoid Buddy's fate. I'm just concerned, she said. Her concerns are justified, based on what wildlife officials are reporting about coyotes in the area. Suburban sprawl has encroached on the coyote habitat, causing more sightings of coyotes as their forests and open space disappear.  Haverhill Conservation Officer Mark Sheehan said coyote numbers also have been growing over the decades, in part because the animals only predator human hunters are dwindling. Coyotes also are prolific breeders, and their numbers can multiply quickly.  Were taking away their only natural predator, Sheehan said of hunters, though he said motor vehicle collisions are helping. The population is there to grow if they are not culled out.  Coyotes also enjoy living around golf courses, which provide wooded cover to stalk prey in the open fairways, Sheehan said. Haverhill has five 18-hole golf courses.  The typical coyote is the size of a small dog but with longer, thicker fur. The largest can weigh 50 or 60 pounds. They primarily eat small rodents, rabbits, deer, birds, frogs and insects, but also will eat fruits, vegetables and pet food left outdoors. They are most often spotted at night or at dawn or dusk.  It is against the law to trap and relocate coyotes, so residents have to learn to live with the animals, said veterinarian Dr. Tumkur Narasimhan, owner of Main Street Animal Hospital of Bradford. He occasionally treats animals harmed by coyotes, he said.  The best way to limit coyote attacks is to properly dispose of food - do not throw food outside for wild animals to eat, and use trash cans with lids.  As long as we are good in our disposal habits, the attacks wont happen, Narasimhan said. Animal Control Officer Michelle Hamel said coyote sightings are commonplace in Haverhill, seen near Northern Essex Community College, the animal shelter off Primrose Street and the Bradford commuter train station.  She said coyotes look for easy meals, often from garbage or staking out bird feeders, where smaller animals stop to eat, she said.  Sometimes they cross paths with the family pet. They are very opportunistic animals, Hamel said. They will eat whenever food is available.  She said owners should always be aware that their pets can be attacked by wild animals anywhere in Haverhill. Im a firm believer that everyone should keep an eye on their pets, because you never know, Hamel said.  People can easily scare away coyotes with loud noises and bright lights, according to MassWildlife. A water hose also is effective.  The Greenwoods live on Chadwick Road, north of Chadwick Pond in Bradford, a semirural area near the Boxford line, and said Buddy often spent time outside at night.  The attack happened at about 10 p.m.  Wednesday. Joey said he was on the phone when he heard the screaming, looked outside and saw nothing.  I thought maybe it was down the street, like a little girl or something, Joey said of the yelping.  He heard the screams again so he warned his father, Richard, who ran outside and saw the wild animal on Buddy, a cross between a cocker spaniel and poodle.  He yelled at the coyote, which ran off. He carried the bloody and muddy dog into the house and then rushed it to Bulger Animal Hospital in North Andover.  It just seemed unreal to me, Barbara Greenwood said of the attack. Sheehan said that in his 20 years as a conservation professional, most coyote attacks involve cats, chickens and very small dogs, such as Chihuahuas.  That's not commonplace from what I've seen, Sheehan said of the attack on Buddy. Very seldom do we ever see a coyote get into an altercation with a large dog.  He said the coyote may have needed extra food for a litter of pups, or Buddy threatened it somehow.


    Coyotes maul, kill family pet
    By Christopher Loh/ The Daily News Tribune
    Posted Mar 28, 2007 @ 12:01 AM

    Newton, MA - Coyotes are being blamed for two separate attacks on dogs in the past week, one of which was fatal. The first attack took place near the Brae Burn Country Club in Waban. The second incident took place about four miles away near Hammond Pond Parkway.  On Thursday afternoon, a woman on Bonnybrook Road in Waban let her small Cairn terrier out for a break in the backyard. A few minutes later, she returned to find the dog in a coyote's mouth with another standing nearby, police said.  The pair of coyotes fled into the woods and was chased by a neighbor wielding a broom. The neighbor chased the coyotes until they dropped the dog, dead from the attack.  Newton Police were called and the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife was contacted, but nothing could be done.  Yesterday, a Beacon Street resident in the Hammond Pond Parkway area heard her yellow Labrador yelp and when it came into the house, the dog had a wound to its rear leg.  The owner went outside and was able to illuminate a pair of eyes in the woods with a flashlight; at approximately 3 a.m., she heard coyotes howling nearby.  Newton Animal Control Officer John O'Connell said the Bonnybrook Road incident is the only coyote attack to be confirmed, but that the Beacon Street report seems likely as well.  O'Connell said coyote attacks are rare in Newton, but have been known to happen."Last year, between Newton and Brookline, there were about five attacks," said O'Connell. "Bonnybrook is the first one to be confirmed this year."  O'Connell said coyotes are typically more aggressive during this time of year as it is breeding season."Coyotes are going to be more active," O'Connell said. "They're going to be more territorial and will potentially get into attacks with larger dogs."  What to do ...  Marion Larson of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife said she had heard of Thursday's attack, but that the division had no direct involvement."Statewide - I get an e-mail at least once a week (about an attack)," said Larson of the frequency of wild animal attacks on domesticated pets. " Probably, an animal is attacking someone's loose pet several times a week in Massachusetts."  And while Larson didn't want to alarm people, she did provide plenty of information regarding coyote safety."Coyotes are wild animals, and like other wild animals they generally try to avoid people," Larson said. "What I recommend is if you see a coyote spending a certain amount of time, or if you know of one that hangs around, go out and run and yell and scream and holler and run straight at them - the coyote is going to turn to leave."  While Larson said she understood this seems like "insane" behavior that it is "coyote language" for "you're not welcome to be here."Larson said the "little things" matter when trying to deter coyotes from an area.  "Our behavior is going to influence a coyote's behavior," Larson said.  So do you leave pet food outside? Do you take the trash out the night before or the morning of pickup?  It's the "little things" that a person can do like taking the trash to the curb the morning of pickup that helps in the long run.  Larson also warned that this time of year is breeding season so larger pets, such as golden retrievers or Labradors, can be seen by coyotes as threats to their territory.  "They will want to defend their area," Larson said.  Still, in the end, Larson stayed with her message of not over exaggerating a problem."There have been three documents of attacks on people by coyotes in the last 50 years," Larson said. "I'm sure there have been more dog bites in one year in the (city) of Newton. But I also understand people are anxious about what they don't understand."
    Christopher Loh can be reached at


    MassWildlife Advisory: Coyotes Incidents in Massachusetts (back to top)

    February 2, 2007 MDFW report


    This past week, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) received a number of calls from concerned citizens, municipal officials and the media regarding an incident over the past weekend involving a coyote attack on a small dog and subsequent shooting of coyotes by local officials in Framingham. Inquiries included concerns regarding the coyotes involved in the incident and the actions of the municipal officials. A number of questions about coyote behavior, pet and child safety and relevant laws about coyotes have also been fielded by MassWildlife biologists. As the state agency responsible for wildlife in Massachusetts, MassWildlife has been working with local officials on this incident and providing information to the public regarding coyote behavior.


    Towns tackle beaver problem, hope trapping will reduce flooding woes    (back to top)

    The Salem News - Steve Landwehr, staff writer

    February 1, 2007


    HAMILTON MA - The town Board of Health is issuing permits to trap beavers in Miles River to relieve flooding problems the board believes are endangering the public.  The state trapping season has already begun and will last until April. Trappers don't need a permit to capture beavers alive but do need one to catch them in a killing trap. Forty licenses, each valid for 10 days, will be sold. Health Board Chairman Steve Druschel said this week the rising waters behind beaver dams in Miles River, near Gardner Street, are causing damage to a culvert under the road. If it gets worse, the road will have to be closed to replace the culvert. That would create a public health risk because fire and other emergency personnel would be delayed by going around it, Druschel said. Homeowners' septic systems are also being threatened by the rising water. "We need to give the town a chance to get ahead of the problem, at least for a little while," Druschel said. Under state law, the board can issue successive 10-day permits. But even if it does, Druschel is under no illusion that a beaver population probably numbering in the many hundreds will be eradicated. "Beavers will be there until the food supply is exhausted," he said. In neighboring Wenham, Animal Control Officer Michael Kavanaugh will begin a 50-day trapping period April 1. David Standley, the Ipswich Conservation Commission chairman who formerly headed what is now the state Department of Environmental Protection, has long maintained that beaver trapping is, for the most part, a fool's errand.Even if trapping were "exhaustive," Standley said, relief would be only temporary. "For a year or so, you probably don't have problems," he said. "But you can count on repopulation." But Ipswich Town Manager Robert Markel said no one is talking about eliminating the rodents. "It's a population - like the deer population - that needs to be thinned," Markel said. 'A stupid idea' - Hamilton's Susanna Colloredo is a founder of the Essex County Trail Association, which maintains a network of equestrian and pedestrian trails in the region. Many sections of trails have been affected by beavers, but she is opposed to trapping them. That's not because she is an animal lover, but because trapping "seems like a stupid idea," Colloredo said. "You can't blame every problem in the Miles River on beavers," she said. She noted this has been a particularly wet year, making problems worse than during a year of normal precipitation. For years, Miles River was an important water storage area in heavy rains, carrying storm water out to the ocean. But an invasion of non-native purple loosestrife, fueled by fertilizer running off lawns into the river, is strangling it. The river is always full, and when it rains there is no place for the water to go. Flooding during the Mother's Day storm destroyed three culverts in Wenham. The cost to replace them was $1.8 million. Hamilton Conservation Commission Chairman John Hamilton said he is not opposed to trapping beavers "in troublesome areas," but doesn't agree with widespread trapping. "There's a hue and cry for trapping beavers wherever they are," Hamilton said. "But beavers are a very small part of the problem with the Miles River." Druschel does not want all the beavers to go away - "They're fabulous to watch" - but said human health trumps rodents in this case. "We've had people who in good faith put septic systems in where they should have been," he said, "and now the beavers are threatening them." Growing pains Why are beavers suddenly such a problem? They are native to the state but were driven out by both trapping and deforestation. As farming ceased to be the primary occupation, pastures slowly returned to forest. The beavers followed the trees, but were kept in check for many years by trapping. In 1975, the steel-jawed leg-hold trap was banned in Massachusetts, and in 1997 soft-jawed traps were also banned. The beaver population began to explode. In 2000, the state amended trapping laws to allow the use of Conibear, or body-gripping traps that break beavers' backs when they snap closed. The traps can be used only when beavers are a threat to health or safety. Beavers have litters of up to six kits every year. They stay with their parents for two years, then go out to establish their own territories. They can range quite far and will go wherever there is water. Adult beavers can be up to 4 feet long from nose to tail and weigh up to 80 pounds. Even coyotes, their only possible predators, think twice about tackling such a formidable foe, whose tail can do a lot of damage.


    City seeks to resume trapping - Beavers threaten new flood problem

    DAN CROWLEY - Staff WriterDaily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, MA)

    December 14, 2006


    NORTHAMPTON, MA - Nine months after they were the center of a wildlife controversy, beavers have returned to the sprawling Barrett Street Marsh in Northampton.  And once again, the Department of Public Works is seeking to trap and kill the semi-aquatic animals, citing a compromised storm-water drainage system and potential for flooding in neighborhoods surrounding the marsh.  The Conservation Commission will take up that request when it meets tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Puchalski Municipal Building.  "It's a delicate situation," said Ned Huntley, director of the DPW, who put the request in a Nov. 13 letter. "You have nature and man together, and sometimes they have trouble co-existing."  Earlier this year, the DPW reportedly trapped and killed eight beavers in the Barrett Street Marsh. The trapping drew protests from wildlife advocates but was a necessary move, DPW officials argued.  At the time, public works officials said the beavers had caused the water level in the marsh, located just north of downtown, to climb nearly four feet above acceptable levels.  A culvert and sedimentation basin near the bike path behind Stop & Shop Supermarket was barely functioning and the animals had created conditions that could have caused hazardous flooding on State and Stoddard streets during spring rains and flood season, public work officials had warned.  In fact, the DPW sought and obtained a 10-day emergency trapping permit from the Board of Health. The permit, which health officials extended, allowed the department to use Conibear traps, which are designed to kill beavers instantly.  The DPW had previously been restricted to using suitcase-like traps, which some argue are less humane because beavers trapped in them must later be drowned or shot on site.  Huntley said the DPW is not seeking to use Conibear traps at this time. He said at least one beaver dam and two or three adult beavers have been identified recently in the marsh.  "They're holding back all the water," Huntley said, this week. "It's a matter of what stage the beavers bring it to next."  Huntley said the DPW is requesting permission to trap the beavers in the approximately 22-acre marsh because public works officials have received no guidance from the Conservation Commission or Barrett Street Marsh Task Force.  The city owns the marsh, which is managed by the Conservation Commission. The DPW is responsible for maintaining the storm-water drainage system within its boundaries. The commission assembled the Barrett Street Task Force in the wake of the beaver conundrum earlier this year.  Paul Wetzel, chairman of the commission, said the task force has been preparing a report during the past several months that recommends several alternatives to trapping beavers, as well as management and engineering solutions for the Barrett Street Marsh.  The task force hired Skip Lisle, a wildlife biologist and owner of Beaver Deceivers International in Grafton, Vt., to help assess the problems and offer suggestions, according to Wetzel. The panel met Monday night at Forbes Library to review a draft of the report, but it was not finalized.  "We do say that a good management plan for the marsh will include or expect beavers to be there," Wetzel said, earlier this week.  Wetzel said he plans to give a presentation of the task force's preliminary findings and overview of the situation at tonight's Conservation Commission meeting. The commission also is expected to render a decision on whether to grant the DPW permission to trap beavers in the marsh, he said.  "It's not a very easy situation because the drainage is very bad," Wetzel said. "There's almost no flow."  Members of the city-based Wildlife Committee, a former subcommittee of the Conservation Commission, also are expected to attend tonight's session.




    Boston Globe - Boston, Mass.
    Author: Joyce Pellino Crane Globe Correspondent
    Date: Oct 27, 2005
    Section: Globe NorthWest


    (Abstract Only)
    Thirty years ago, the Heath Brook trickled along several hundred feet from the home of Leslie Bufano on Marie Street in Tewksbury. But the brook has grown steadily over the decades, and last week it was a pond lapping within 15 feet of the home. Water snakes had replaced garden snakes in Bufano's backyard. "You feel very uneasy when you're watching your property being slowly devoured by the pond," she said. The 12 inches of rain that fell in Greater Lowell Oct. 7 to 15 created a surge in water levels in rivers and streams around the region. But residents in Bufano's neighborhood and others around Tewksbury say the bigger culprit is the beaver population. Tewksbury officials say the town has at least 16 beaver dams. Some of them were damaged by the recent rains, and the rodents have set about repairing them, state wildlife officials say. And that has attracted the attention of homeowners with flooded yards. "I've seen the beavers, and I know that they're damming the water and it's making it worse," said Bufano, 47. Though the Heath Brook area has commanded local officials' attention lately, Bufano's section of town is not the only one facing flooding issues. In a phone interview Tuesday, highway supervisor Ernie Lightfoot rattled off the locations of other beaver dams. "I have sixteen dams that I inspect ... Pond Street, River Road, Serenity Drive, East Street," he said. "Colab Road, Livingston at Chandler, Route 38 behind the old police station, Clark Road, Frasca Field off North Street, Chandler behind the senior center, North Billerica Road, Beech Street, Wamesit Road on the dead-end side off Shawsheen, Foster Road at Heath Brook." Beavers dominated the news nine years ago, when state law prohibited the use of certain types of traps. Today, pending state legislation would introduce a pilot study to investigate reversing the measure. State Representative William G. Greene Jr., a Billerica Democrat, has filed a bill with the Legislature that would reintroduce a certain type of trap called the conibear, which snaps shut like a book, clamping the beaver underwater until it drowns.


    East Harwich couple mourns dog lost to coyote    (back to top)
    Cape Cod Today - Donna Tunney/

    May 24, 2006

    He was gone in an instant, snatched out of his own backyard while his owners were nearby with another family dog. Bear, a 13-year-old, 25-pound, miniature sheltie-Chihuahua mix, was recovered an hour later, after a panicked search through the woods near his East Harwich home, dead from a coyote attack...


    Dog Recovering After Coyote Attack   (back to top)
    Experts Urge Owners To Keep Pets On Leashes


    POSTED: 5:26 pm EST December 19, 2005


    BOSTON A dog is recovering Monday after being attacked by a coyote in Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood.  NewsCenter 5's Gail Huff reported that Butters the Corgi will recover.  On Sunday night Butters' owner, John Green, said the dog came face to face with four coyotes during a walk at the George Wright Golf Course. Butters was not on a leash.  "I believe one coyote attacked him because the other ones were just standing off to the side," Green said.  Massachusetts Society for the Protection of Animals wildlife experts said they are trying to get the word out that coyotes do live in the city and they will attack domestic animals.  "They eat all the time and they have their young that they are trying to teach how to hunt before they disperse. Mating season is coming up in January, February and March, and the young from this past year will be getting ready to move on and look for their own territory," MSPCA's Cheryl Jacobson said.  Jacobson urged pet owners to keep their animals on leashes because coyotes are afraid of humans.


    Hiker Describes Coyote Attack - Man Fights Off Animal With Mace    (back to top)

    WCVB TV                                                               
    POSTED: 6:20 pm EDT April 20, 2006

    Royalston, MA - A hiker spoke out Thursday about a coyote attack in Royalston. NewsCenter 5's David Boeri reported that John Melvin, of Gardner, is receiving rabies treatment after he was bitten by a coyote in the town Monday.  "I began making my dinner. At that time, I noticed coyotes coming down the ridge. They were across the river at that time. I didn't think much of it," Melvin said. When Melvin saw three coyotes, he said he thought they wouldn't cross the river. He was wrong. "That's when I looked up. I noticed the three in the corner. I had a stick -- a long stick -- near me. I slammed it down to scare them and that's when the one lunged on my arm and shook it like a rag doll," Melvin said.  He suffered eight puncture wounds before he sprayed the coyote with some bear mace. "We are saying that the coyote is very much a public threat," Royalston resident Chet Hall said.  The coyote that bit Melvin was presumed to be rabid. Signs have been posted to warn hikers. "We are suggesting that anyone in the town of Royalston that sees a coyote in the daytime that is acting abnormally, if they have the ability to do so, to shoot the coyote if they can," Hall said.  Since 1992, eight people have been bitten by coyotes known to be rabid, officials said.


    Coyote in attack was rabid, state says Northborough man, 76, was bitten multiple times   (back to top)

    By Kristen Green, Globe Correspondent

    Published October 8, 2005


    State health officials have determined that the coyote that attacked a 76-year-old Northborough grandfather on an afternoon walk with his grandson was rabid.  Arthur Cole, who was bitten multiple times, received a rabies vaccination yesterday. Cole said he was walking with his 4-year-old grandson, Nicholas, along a trail on the Assabet River near his home Wednesday afternoon when the coyote jumped out of nearby brush and bit him on the rear. ''I was trying to kick her away," he said. ''She was more agile than I was."


    Dog is killed by coyote in Boston yard   (back to top)


    By Heather Allen, Globe Correspondent | May 3, 2005

    Boston MA - In a quiet neighborhood atop a hill with groomed lawns and tulips in bloom, it was the last interruption anyone expected to the serene city setting.  Late last Thursday, minutes after he let his dog outside, David Sherris responded to chirping behind his house in Jamaica Plain. He was horrified to see his beloved West Highland terrier, Maggie, in the mouth of a coyote.  When Sherris approached the wild animal, it dropped the 18-pound dog and fled into the woods. The small bundle of white, shaggy hair, which Sherris described as part of the family, did not survive.  ''The fact of the matter is that this is a residential area; this should not be happening," said Sherris in the home on Neillian Crescent that he shares with his wife and 14-month-old son. ''Additionally shocking is that it could have been my baby. It happened in less than five minutes."  Dismayed that Maggie, his companion for 12 years, was dead, Sherris called police to see if they could kill or trap the coyote. He was told that under state law, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, and other wild animals are protected.  The city's Animal Control officers searched for the coyote Thursday and Friday, but failed to locate it or a den. Had they found it, they would have had to release it back into its habitat, which could have been a few miles away, said James Cahill, director of animal control in Boston.  Cahill said the number of coyote sightings in the city has increased in the past year, especially in West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and Mattapan, which he attributed to construction in suburban areas that is forcing coyotes to go elsewhere for food.  ''Someone's going to get hurt; it's inevitable," Cahill said. ''It's out of our control.  I hope it doesn't happen.  Some little tyke is going to get bit some day. Something could happen. I hope it never does on my watch. Your hands are tied a little bit."  Because of the pet's death, Councilor John M. Tobin Jr. announced plans last night to go before the City Council tomorrow to seek a hearing on the issue. Tobin said he would like representatives from animal control and from the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to testify at the hearing, which he hopes will happen soon.  ''Clearly, those laws weren't written for what's going on these days," said Tobin, who lives in West Roxbury and came across a coyote in his backyard three months ago. ''With all due respect to coyotes, the law seems to favor coyotes over people's pets or their kids. I can almost see it in a country setting, but for a city like Boston, that's not acceptable."  To counter state law, the City Council may be forced to file a home rule petition to change the way the law is enforced in Boston. The Legislature would then have to vote for such a change.  Reached last night for comment, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, which oversees fisheries and wildlife, said the agency is willing to work with lawmakers.  ''A proper balance always needs to be struck between public safety and concern for protected species," said Joe O'Keefe. ''We would always be willing to work with the Legislature on a responsible response to concerns of Boston residents." Sherris, a consultant who works from his house, said Maggie was sweet, curious, and loved children. She often perched in the window and stared outside. Now, Maggie is buried in the backyard, Sherris said, and reminders of the pet are everywhere. His daily routine, he said, has become difficult. His wife is afraid to go outside.  Sherris said he is waiting to see what happens with the City Council before he takes action.  ''The loss of this dog is just really gut-wrenching," he said. ''It's just not been easy."


    Coyote attacks off-duty Police officer and daughter    (back to top)

    April 2005 Wilmington Massachusetts - Reported in the 'The Lowell Sun' Newspaper


    Wilmington, MA - There are some things in life that not even 17 years as a prison guard and police officer can prepare you for. Wilmington Police Officer and former Concord prison guard Louis Martignetti found that out the hard way Saturday when a coyote attacked his daughter and then him while his family did yard-work at their home off Burlington Avenue. Martignetti, his wife, 7-year-old son, Gino, and 4-year-old daughter, Tia, were outside when the animal ran up and bit his daughter in the leg about 10 a.m. Martignetti, who was in his shed at the time, heard his wife's screams, but at first did not know what was going on. "She started screaming something like, ‘Pick up the baby, pick up the baby,' but it happened so quick I didn't understand what she wanted me to do," he said.  That's when he turned and saw a coyote lunge at his daughter, who only weighs about 28 pounds, and bite her in the leg. Full Story Here


    Rabid coyote attacks Cape Cod woman


    (back to top)


    It's only the second such recorded attack in Massachusetts; no such attacks are on record in R.I.

    04:10 PM EST on Friday, February 18, 2005

    The Associated Press


    BARNSTABLE, MA - A Cape Cod woman who was bitten on her left hand is believed to be the first person ever attacked by a rabid coyote in Massachusetts, according to state wildlife officials.   Cindy Parker-Kelley was attacked by a 45-pound female coyote in the back yard of her Marstons Mills home yesterday when she went to check on her Norwegian elkhound, Dakota. Her husband, David Kelley, beat the coyote with a piece of lumber, and police later killed it.


    Saugus residents howl about town's coyote sightings 

     (back to top)

    By Cristina Silva, Boston Globe Correspondent

    Published July 14, 2005


    SAUGUS, MA - Kathy Sullivan returned home last week to find a coyote chasing a neighbor's dog on her driveway. She beeped at the creature, but it just stopped and looked at her. Sullivan tried to continue driving, but the coyote wouldn't budge.  Afraid that she was trapped in the car with her 2-year-old niece and 8-year-old daughter, Sullivan kept honking at the coyote until it finally crossed the street and ran up a nearby grassy hill, giving her enough time to run into the house with the children.  ''I'm telling you, that thing was not afraid of me," Sullivan said yesterday. ''Somebody is going to end up getting hurt if they don't do something about this."


    Coyote bites country club security guard in Mashpee   (back to top)

    Portsmouth Herald -, July, 12 2005


    MASHPEE, MA - - A security guard at a Mashpee country club was treated for rabies as a precaution after being bitten by a coyote last week. A guard patrolling the grounds of Willowbend Country Club was bitten on Thursday night after apparently disturbing the coyote as it was rooting through some bags of illegally dumped household trash for food, Mashpee's animal control officer said. "It was over food apparently," Officer June Daley told the Cape Cod Times. "It did break the skin on his leg, so he was treated for rabies as a precaution." Daley did not disclose the guard's name. Earlier this year, a Barnstable woman was bitten by a rabid coyote in what state officials said was just the second reported coyote attack on a human in the state. Several small dogs have disappeared in Mashpee this summer, and coyotes are suspected. Daley cautioned dog owners to not let their dogs out without a leash, even if the dog never leaves the yard. "Unless your back yard is enclosed with a 6-foot fence, it's fair game for wild animals," she said. Information from: Cape Cod Times,


    Beaver dams contaminating water By Mark E. Ellis – Telegram & Gazette Staff


    Sterling, MA - Contamination of town drinking water caused by an overflowing beaver pond may be a preview of more widespread water-quality problems. Unless the trapping restrictions are eased, state and local officials said yesterday.   “We have a growing concern about the burgeoning beaver populations, given the lack of natural predators and the prohibition imposed on trapping opportunities,” said Joseph M. McGinn, director of watershed management for the Metropolitan District Commission.  “The population is certainly expanding by leaps and bounds.”  Because of the proliferation of beaver in the state’s major drinking water supplies, the MDC has implemented beaver tracking and eradication programs at Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs, McGinn said.   In Sterling, where E. coli contamination was discovered in the municipal water system last week, water tests indicated that coliform contamination remained present in minute amounts in recent test results.  “The most recent sampling was on Monday and of 12 samples, 10….  Please take a look at the article written by Louis Manning then Superintendent of Public Works for Sterling Mass.  Written in 2002.  click here


    Dog is killed by coyote in Boston yard    (back to top)

    By Heather Allen, Boston Globe Correspondent

    May 3, 2005


    Boston, MA - In a quiet neighborhood atop a hill with groomed lawns and tulips in bloom, it was the last interruption anyone expected to the serene city setting.  Late last Thursday, minutes after he let his dog outside, David Sherris responded to chirping behind his house in Jamaica Plain. He was horrified to see his beloved West Highland terrier, Maggie, in the mouth of a coyote. When Sherris approached the wild animal, it dropped the 18-pound dog and fled into the woods. The small bundle of white, shaggy hair, which Sherris described as part of the family, did not survive. ''The fact of the matter is that this is a residential area; this should not be happening," said Sherris in the home on Neillian Crescent that he shares with his wife and 14-month-old son. ''Additionally shocking is that it could have been my baby. It happened in less than five minutes."


    Main Street Beaver Situation   (back to top)
    Town of Bolton Selectmen meeting.
    April 7, 2005

    Present: David Lindsay, Russ Karlstad, Tim Fiehler, Pat Bensetler, Cia Boynton, Jack Quinlan, Martha Remington, Betsy Cussen, Karen Augustine, Conservation Commission member

    Bolton, MA - Karen Augustine, Conservation Commission member stated that the Conservation Commission has spent about $3,500 so far on the beaver situation. Initially the Conservation Commission sent Beaver Solution out and problem was mitigated for a while. With recent rain the level has risen. Ms. Augustine stated that the Conservation Commission can go back and try to extend the contract with Beaver Solutions.  Mr. Quinlan took a walk through the area starting at the town park through path at Emerson School where Playground is all flooded. A number of saplings have been taken down by beavers. He continued walking down the cart path passed Emerson where there is a dam with a pipe which seems to be running pretty well. There are at least two beaver ponds and a giant beaver dam and he does not see a pipe there. He suggested a site walk be done. Mr. Quinlan strongly urged that beavers be taken out to eliminate the habitat.  Tim Fiehler stated that the beaver fencing was installed and it does help to the extent that he does not have to go down every day to pull things out. The beavers are active and it looks as though they will be dropping some large trees behind the historical society building soon. The historic bridge has eroded away.  Pat Bensetler suggested taking beavers out and then cleaning up the dams. Martha Remington, as a resident reiterated the need to get rid of the beavers so that the dams can be taken down. Cia Oschenbein agreed with what everyone has said. She feels we have gotten to this point because each year the water has gotten higher and higher and the runoff has created this huge problem. The bridge from sheep field to Emerson has huge holes in it again.  Mr. Quinlan stated the immediate solution is to take the beaver dams down to draw the water level down to solve the problem of flooding the properties. The Board of Selectmen was favorable to the breaching of the dams with understanding that it would be coordinated with the Conservation Commission and the Board of Health.


    What about the Beavers?   (back to top)


    To trap, or not to trap: Question lingers in light of beaver problems
    By Chronicle Staff
    Thursday, December 30, 2004


    "[Beaver population growth] feels like a larger issue than just a matter of not trapping," said Lash. "But you do have to thin the herd, so to speak. If populations aren't thinned by man, we can end up with all kinds of severe issues."

    The CLA, according to Lash, has reluctantly accepted trapping in an outlet brook where beavers have, in the past few years, dammed Chebacco Lake and caused severe flooding and health problems for lakeside homeowners. "It's the only effective short-term management solution we know of," said Lash, who explained the CLA has been allowed to enlist the help of trappers using cages because of the ecologically valuable alewife fish that spawn in the outlet brook.
    Certain water-flow devices, referred to by Jacobson, may discourage beavers from doing their work, but have been found to hinder alewife spawning, thus prompting a trapping alternative to the problem. The Chebacco Woods Trails Association has installed two of the so-called "beaver deceiver" contraptions between Beck's Pond and Chebacco Lake, and Lash is a bit leery of that strategy. "While it's a non-trapping solution, alewife have been known to spawn in Beck's Pond," said Lash, "which means we have a less than perfect solution there because it further shrinks adequate spawning areas for the alewife."
    The International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies report concluded the 1996 no-trapping law in Massachusetts caused the beaver population to explode, thus creating economic hardships.
     Massachusetts municipalities spent $500,000 to repair road and infrastructure damaged by beavers in 2004, said the report, and IAFWA officials said that expenditure was "minor" compared to the costs associated with beaver-related personal property damage, contamination of public water supplies, flooding of private property and costs associated with removing nuisance beavers. Lash, however, sees the economic impact from a broader perspective. "To me, beavers are more than just a nuisance. In terms of the larger economy of New England, beavers don't have as great an impact as alewife," he said. "We should be giving far more attention to alewife because it helps sustain our marine fisheries industry."
    At this time, noted Lash, there are beavers at Chebacco Lake's outlet brook, but they are not causing the severe problems encountered earlier. Still, he said added, the CLA is currently initiating contact with a trapper to use a cage that will help keep the population in check. The use of cage traps, according to Lash, does not require a permit from the Board of Health. Any property owner is allowed to enlist the aid of a cage trapper during the appropriate season. "We haven't had a big problem lately because there have been far fewer beavers," said Lash. "But if we were to ignore the situation, within a year we'd have a large colony and be back with same problems as we had a year ago."


    The reason for Massachusetts' burgeoning beaver population, which has caused humans so many difficulties with flooding, especially on Chebacco Lake in Hamilton, is one not readily agreed upon. A recent report from the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies insists the state's 1996 law restricting the methods of trapping beavers has been followed by an explosion in their population and an increase in related damage to roads and personal property.Based on the projections included in the report, "Potential Costs of Losing Hunting and Trapping as Wildlife Management Tools," the problems will get worse unless trappers regain wider access to trapping devices. However, Cheryl Jacobson, coordinator of the Living with Wildlife program for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, has a different perspective. Calling the report incomplete and misleading, she noted, "Beaver populations were increasing before the 1996 law and studies indicate that beaver populations, if left untouched, will eventually regulate themselves because beavers are territorial and will not grow beyond available territory. Trapping is a Band-Aid solution." Jacobson further believes specially designed water-flow devices, some of which have been installed in Hamilton and Wenham, "work to alleviate beaver-related damage and provide assistance to landowners in a cost-effective and long-term manner." David Lash, former president of the Chebacco Lake Association (CLA) in Hamilton, feels Jacobson's perspective is more accurate, but doesn't dismiss the value of some trapping, specifically with cages instead of kill traps.   J.J. Bowman, of the State House News Service, contributed to this story


    Cat seriously injured after evading coyote; Attacks on household pets are particularly common in spring, state expert says   (back to top)
    The Patriot Ledger - Joe McGee
    April 30, 2004

    Hanson MA - A 15-year-old cat that fell from a tree in Hanson after being chased by a coyote will probably be euthanized.  Haley, a black shorthair belonging to Laura McColgan of Adams Circle, bolted up the tree yesterday morning to escape an adult coyote. It suffered serious injuries when it fell while trying to come down.  Veterinarians at Roberts Animal Hospital in Hanover put the cat on intravenous fluids and pain medication and said surgery would be needed if Haley was to walk again. But McColgan said the operation would be too expensive, making euthanization likely.  "It's just so sad," she said. "My daughter was crying."The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife warns pet owners that coyotes give birth in the spring and are looking for food for their pups. Keeping small pets, such as cats and toy-breed dogs, indoors is strongly recommended.  "Breeding season is January through March, and there is a 63-day gestation period, so they're having their pups now," said Chrissie Henner of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. "We're receiving more calls about (coyote) litters under decks and porches."  McColgan's 15-year-old son, Michael Calley, spotted the coyote at about 7 a.m. on his way to school. The animal was under the tree, waiting for the cat to come down. Although surprised by its size, Michael shooed the coyote away.  "He started coming towards me," he said. "I had to make noise to get it away from me.""It was pretty big. It was tall and had a skinny face and nose and large tail. I've seen a little coyote before, but this one was big."  When the coyote ran off, Michael and his mother tried to coax Haley into a clothes basket, but the cat couldn't make the leap. "I just thought, 'That poor cat,'" McColgan said. Adams Circle is close to the Hanover border, and near Harvey Circle, where packs of coyotes scared neighborhood residents two years ago.  Although land is being cleared in the area, Henner discounted the notion that coyotes are being forced out of their habitat and into subdivisions. Like rats, raccoons and opossums, coyotes are scavengers that can survive in close proximity to humans, she said.  "They do well around humans. They're highly adaptable." Police filed a report on the Adams Circle incident, but officers are allowed to shoot or remove a wild animal only if it is sick or injured. Police Lt. Richard Gredler said calls to the department about coyote sightings are more frequent at this time of year. Gredler said the calls aren't limited to the Hanover side of Hanson. Henner offered these suggestions to suburban residents who want to keep coyotes away:  Keep trash barrels tightly covered. Don't put crumbs in the yard as bird food. Block openings to crawl spaces and the space under decks. Keep small pets inside at all times. If a coyote approaches, make loud noises; it should instinctively run away, Henner said.  Joe McGee may be reached at


    Comeback Beavers Butt Heads With Humans: Strong population recovery   (back to top)

    National Geographic News November 23, 2004 - Brian Handwerk


    November's full moon, coming this Friday, is traditionally called the full beaver moon, because it signals the time to set traps for beavers before swamps freeze.  A gentler interpretation of the name given to the November moon, according to the Farmers' Almanac, is that this is when busy beavers are feverishly preparing their dens for winter.  Whatever the name's origin, the 2004 full beaver moon serves as a spotlight on North America's largest rodent. Harvested and driven from its habitat until it disappeared from much of the northeastern U.S., the beaver is now making such a strong comeback that it is becoming a nuisance in some areas.  From the mid-1600s through the 1800s beaver trapping helped spur European exploration of North America. Beaver pelts became a prized commodity and were traded as currency in many parts of the frontier. Fortunes were made in their fur.  Beavers were pursued so relentlessly that by the early 1900s many beaver populations were in trouble or wiped out. The situation was aggravated by the clearing of much of the beaver's habitat for agriculture.  "In the 1930s they were at a low point," said beaver expert Dietland Mueller-Schwarze of the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. "But the latter half of the century has seen large growth in populatons all over North America."  Multiple factors favored the beaver recovery. Federal and state authorities, supported by hunters and trappers, enacted sustainable harvesting regulations. Beavers were reintroduced into their former range throughout the northeastern U.S., where the decline of agriculture enabled them to thrive and expand.  Meanwhile, plunging demand for pelts at home and abroad has reduced the number of trappers in the field. Some U.S. states have even banned trapping.  Scott Hartman is the national director of membership and state affiliate relations for the National Trappers Association (NTA), which is based in Bedford, Indiana. He notes that the market for furs and pelts dropped precipitously in the mid-1980s and remained depressed until 2000. Since that time it has seen a slow recovery, but profits remain low for the time-intensive pursuit, which is still practiced by an estimated 150,000 U.S. fur trappers.  The reduced trapping pressure has coincided with the longer-term reforestation of former farmlands.  "With the reforestation of our state, the beaver population has rebounded," said wildlife biologist Peter Picone. Picone works for Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection at the Burlington field office. "In 1800 Connecticut was 75 percent pasture. Today it is 57 percent forested and the [restored] forested habitat is prime for their recovery."  But as beavers flourish and expand, their habitat is increasingly human habitat? and the two mammals often butt heads.


    "Nature's Engineers"

    Beavers (Castor canadensis) can gnaw through a 6-inch (15-centimeter) tree in 15 minutes. A single busy beaver chews down hundreds of trees per year. The trees are used to build lodges and large dams that provide their aquatic habitat. Dams can range from 2 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters) in height and stretch more than 100 feet (30 meters) in length.  Streams and lakes are favorite stomping grounds, but water sources like farm ponds, wetlands, and other areas will do, as well.  Picone notes that beavers are among Connecticutt's most problematic animals for humans, likely ranking just behind deer in terms of economic damage. Their tree-felling and large-scale flooding can damage timber and agricultural crops and wash out property and often roads.  "Where humans and beavers can coexist, we encourage it," Picone said. "Beavers create great habitat for other animals. Wood duck, great blue heron, river otter? they all benefit from that habitat that beavers create."  Other benefits include, ironically, flood control through water management, and water storage and purification.  "Everybody sees the negative impact, Mueller-Schwarze said. "People remember the beaver that took down the cherry trees in the [Washington, D.C.] Tidal Basin. The positive effects are harder to see."  The positives are real, but unfortunately for the beavers, so are the negatives.  "The benefits have to be balanced with the damage [beavers cause] to people's property and with flooded roads," Picone said. "It's a tough balance."


    Trapping: Cruelty or Conservation?

    Solutions such as fencing off trees and installing free-flow water devices through dams can mitigate beaver problems and leave habitat intact.  But reviews on their effectiveness are mixed.  Another beaver control method is contested for both its results and its application - trapping.  As trapping for valuable pelts has declined, nuisance-control trapping has grown. States like Connecticut and New York facilitate the process.  "Here in New York they have a management plan where they want to keep the population limited to 20 or 30 percent of the available [habitat] sites along streams, with food and water, in areas where they won't do damage to human works," Mueller-Schwarze said. "The idea is that when the colony produces young beaver [who go off in search of their own turf], they will have a suitable place to go. Using the remaining 70 percent of those sites."  The policy is managed by lethal trapping, though Mueller-Schwarze would prefer to see the animals relocated when possible.  The Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) opposes lethal trapping.  "We oppose the kinds of traps that drown these animals," said biologist John Hadidian, director of HSUS's Urban Wildlife Program. "We oppose the traps that crush them, those that are supposed to break their backs but often don't."  Hadidian argues for better management methods that can help mitigate beaver problems and leave the animals in place with naturally determined numbers.  "We understand that there are people who have trouble dealing with these conflicts, but we don't agree that they need to be lethally disposed of in order to solve these problems," he said. "Even if it was necessary, there are humane ways to do it. These devices that trap them and drown them are inhumane."  NTA's Scott Hartman says that modern traps are a humane way of controlling beaver populations.  He notes that in states like Massachusetts, where trapping has been banned, debate rages over the costs and impact, for good or ill, of the policy of not trapping beavers.  "The animal rights folks have made it an emotional issue," he said. "They're dealing mainly with quality of death and we deal with quality of life. You can't stockpile wildlife, you can only have so many animals living in an area. When populations become too high you get disease and you have more animal-human conflict," he said.  For some that conflict's bottom line is defined by dollars and sense.  "It depends how tolerant the local people are," Mueller-Schwarze said of reactions he's seen to beavers in the neighborhood. "Some are excited and some are annoyed, and the same person may tip from one to the other if the damage gets worse. There was a Cornell University study some years ago that determined that the magic number was 400 [U.S.] dollars. People didn't mind up to that point, but after more damage was caused, they often wanted someone to 'take care' of the beavers," he said.



      (back to top)
    The Boston Globe
    November 20, 2003
    Matt Viser, Globe Correspondent

    Bolton MA - It's become a fierce turf war between families.  A $70,000 yard has been flooded; trees felled; 15 lives lost.  But Ethan Harris says, by rights, he should emerge the victor. Unlike his neighbor, he pays property taxes - and he's not in the habit of gnawing on trees and building destructive dams.  Yet for the past 2 1/2 years, Harris has had to think like the family of beavers that has set up camp near his Corn Road home. He tries to anticipate their every move, staying "glued to the weather" to see what they might do next, since they dam in the rain.  Indeed, the beavers have wreaked havoc on Harris's property, washing out his yard and chomping down the trees that screen his view of nearby Interstate 495.  The first incident was in April 2001, six months after he and his wife moved to Bolton to retire. Water gushed from a stream on town-owned conservation land that flows under I-495. His meticulously groomed front yard was transformed into a 3-foot-deep pond - so much for the $70,000 he had spent just months before for mulching, fencing, trees, and a stone driveway.  "I was watching it from the front porch," Harris said. "It happened really quick, all of a sudden." After town officials declined to get involved, Harris obtained emergency permits that allowed him to do some of the work himself. With a sledgehammer, he busted the beavers' dam so that the water would drain from his yard.  He also hired someone to kill the animals - 15, at a total cost of $1,500. This month, the beavers were back. Again the front yard was flooded, and it was left to Harris, with the help of his son, to destroy the dam. But about a dozen beavers remain. And rather than pay for someone to remove them, Harris wants the town to do something about it.   "This is getting to be a real problem here," he said in an interview at his home. "I took care of things the first time with the notion that it would buy time for the town to figure out a more permanent solution.  They never did anything about it."  At Harris's prodding, the town has started to look into the issue, but it is unclear whether it will do anything. "Really, in a way, what the beavers are doing is a natural process. Maybe the people shouldn't be there," said Kenneth F. Troup, selectmen chairman.  But Harris said town officials have an obligation to protect his land. "They do have the liability and responsibility not to flood people's property," he said. "And I can't afford to pay every three months for someone to come and get rid of the beavers. I pay taxes for that kind of stuff."  At a recent meeting, the Board of Selectmen asked Carol Gumbart, the town's conservation administrator, to look into the issue and report back. Gumbart, in an interview this week, said she is calling other towns to see how they have tackled such problems. She is also getting price estimates from companies specializing in beaver removal.  The beaver population has exploded over the past several years, particularly in rural towns like Bolton. State officials estimate that it has gone from 18,000 in 1995 to more than 65,000 today.  The reason, they say, is a ballot initiative approved by voters in 1996 that prohibits certain traps, because they cause a slow, painful death.  An amendment to the law, approved in 2000, allows local boards of health to grant emergency permits to residents to breach dams, fence off culvert openings, or use pipes to drain off ponds.  Harris said if the town has not addressed his concerns within a few weeks, he will consider filing suit. "If I had beavers on my property and it was flooding my neighbor' s yard, you bet he'd be all over me," he said. "I'd be in court in two seconds flat."  Matt Viser can be reached at


    Police officer kills fox following attack; Animal forced woman onto car hood  (back to top)

    The Patriot Ledger

     - Paysha Stockton
    April 3, 2003

    Abbington MA - An aggressive fox attacked a dog, a woman, a bicycle and a police officer on Plymouth Street Monday night.  Janice Abbatangelo was on her way into her home, at 825 Plymouth St., after grocery shopping when she was attacked at about 6:30 p.m., Abington Deputy Police Chief David Majenski said.  When she first saw the strange-looking animal coming her way, she wasn't sure what it was, he said. She quickly realized it was an attacking fox. "She was quite frightened and jumped up on the hood of her car and called us on her cell phone," Majenski said.  The fox got a grip on one of her legs with its jaws but was unable to bite through her thick pants, he said.  The fox ran off after Abbatangelo hit it with one of her bags, Majenski said. She wasn't injured in the attack and was treated by firefighters at the scene, Majenski said.  Police actually received another call about the fox a few minutes earlier, he said. "The fox was acting strangely throughout the neighborhood," he said.  It previously tried to fight a dog. "It was a fox with a bad attitude. It was totally looking for a fight," Majenski said.  Police found the animal in the woman's cellar. It was nipping at a bicycle tire. It then came after officer Kevin Sullivan, who shot it, Majenski said.  "He killed it with one shot." Abington's animal control officer took the carcass away to be tested for rabies, he said.  With spring here and the weather warming, people should watch out for foxes, raccoons, coyotes and skunks behaving strangely, Majenski said.  "If they're near people, that's not normal," he said. Paysha Stockton may be reached at


    Coyote snatches, kills dog; Official says cats are missing, too

      (back to top)
    The Patriot Ledger - L.E. Campenella
    November 15, 2002

    Hull, MA - After nearly a year of sightings with few attacks, a coyote carried off and killed a 25-pound dog this week. Hull Animal Control Officer Megan Hanrahan said King, a 12-year-old Pekinese, was snatched off the porch of Joan Thompson's Summit Avenue house on Tuesday. "When the fall and winter comes, food starts getting scarce for them," Hanrahan said.  The dog had been attacked previously, about nine months ago. Thompson said King was let out at about 7:20 p.m. Tuesday. A family member couldn't react quickly enough when the coyote grabbed the dog by the throat. King was only about five feet from the back door, Thompson said. Family members scoured the neighborhood and spotted the coyote on a hill less than a half-mile away, but it was not carrying the dog. The coyote ran away. Thompson said the family found King dead the next morning in the back yard of a neighbor several houses away.  "We searched and searched, because we didn't want him to be out there somewhere hurt," Thompson said. "Megan (Hanrahan) told us that she didn't think he felt any pain." In June 2001, a 12-year-old, 17-pound poodle needed 12 metal staples in her back after a battle with two coyotes in the back yard of her Atlantic Avenue home. Earlier last year, a 9-pound terrier was carried away and killed by a coyote that witnesses estimated weighed 55 pounds. A trapper hired to hunt the coyote caught and euthanized a 40-pound coyote suspected to be the terrier's killer. The coyote that killed King is believed to be about the same size.  "What is going to happen come winter when there's no food? Are the coyotes going to come up on my porch when I bring my granddaughter out," Thompson said. Hanrahan said the town is "doing everything in our legal power" to capture wild coyotes. She said coyote hunting season is from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28. Only trapping is allowed during November, however, and though shooting is allowed by December, it's illegal to discharge a firearm within 2,000 feet of a dwelling in Hull. "Towns don't want you shooting in town, and the coyotes aren't going to go in the traps. I've been trapping for 50 years and you might catch a gray fox, but coyotes are too smart," said Fred Frazier, a hunter and trapper trying to help the town.  Frazier said the best way to eliminate the coyote problem is to allow trappers to use the soft leg-hold traps that were banned in 1996. "The best thing residents can do is call your state senator or representative and get that law changed," he said.  Frazier said from the signs he has observed, he estimates five coyotes are roaming the town. Hanrahan said coyotes have been seen and have built dens in the area of Summit Avenue, Atlantic Avenue and School Street. A lot of house cats are missing, too, she said. "Wild cats are smart, they see the coyotes coming and get out of the way. House cats, who often grow up with dogs, don't know enough and are the ones who get caught," Hanrahan said. Hanrahan said residents also could be reacting improperly when they encounter coyotes. "Don't run away from them. They'll only chase you, and it gives them the impression the neighborhood is theirs," she said. "Yell, clap your hands. If there's a hose, squirt them with the hose. Do anything you can to scare them."  L.E. Campenella may be reached at


    Coyote attacks

        (back to top)
    The Patriot Ledger - Cathi Jeffrey
    September 5, 2002


    Weymouth MA - I'm a handicapped senior citizen from East Weymouth and recently we have had three pets killed by coyotes on our street alone. I'm sure there are many unreported cases, too.  A pug dog, a beautiful elderly Golden Retriever and my 13-year-old pet cat have been brutally attacked from their own yards and killed.  I've also heard of toddlers and their moms attacked  defending them. Because there was a question of rabies, they had to endure extensive treatment. Is it going to take the death of a child before something is done? Karen Wilbur, Weymouth


    Pet dog dies after attack by coyotes

      (back to top)
    The Patriot Ledger - Anne Trafton
    July 24, 2002


    Duxbury MA - - Coyotes attacked and fatally injured a Duxbury family's cocker spaniel early Sunday morning, police said.  The dog's owners, whom police would not identify, let the cocker spaniel outside around 4 a.m. Sunday. Three coyotes attacked the dog in the family's Maple Pond Lane driveway.  Upon hearing the sounds of the attack, family members turned on outdoor lights, sending the coyotes fleeing, said Duxbury police Lt. Lewis Chubb.  The dog was taken to Roberts Animal Hospital in Hanover, where it later died from its injuries.  It is not unusual for coyotes to hunt small animals like cats and small dogs, said Richard Turner, a wildlife biologist for the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.  "A small dog wouldn't stand much chance against them," he said. Coyotes are very common in southeastern Massachusetts, Turner said.  "It really is amazing what close proximity they live in with human activity," he said. Several cats have disappeared in Duxbury over the past few years, and they may have been eaten by coyotes, Chubb said. He said he could not recall any other cases of coyotes killing a dog.  Turner suggested that pet owners who want to keep coyotes away should be sure to not leave anything in their yards - food and compost heaps, for example - that might attract the predators. Food attracts not only coyotes but also small mammals like rabbits and squirrels that could draw coyotes into the yard.  Turner advised pet owners not to feed their pets outside unless all of the food will be eaten immediately; leftovers could attract coyotes.  Because coyotes can eat so many different things, including small mammals, birds, vegetables, berries and trash, they are well suited to suburban environments.  Coyote pups are born in April and May, so parents are hunting not only to feed themselves but also their young. "These coyotes have got to be hunting hard to get enough food to feed the entire family," Turner said.  He said a good way to scare coyotes away from yards is to "show authority" by making a lot of noise and throwing things at the coyotes. Coyotes rarely carry rabies, but Turner warned that people, especially children, should stay away from any animal that might be rabid.  Anne Trafton may be reached at


    Beavers driving Ipswich batty

       (back to top)

    Roads, backyards, trails being flooded

    By Coco McCabe – Globe Correspondent December 31, 2001


    Ipswich MA - A pond, some gently flowing water, tall pines, fruit trees – sounds like a nice place to set up house.  Paul and Josephine Brouillette thought so when they bought the parcel on Essex Road in Ipswich next to Norman Pond.  But others had designs on the same place: beavers.  Since the rodents moved in, they have been busy staking out their turf with a dam an rising water levels that are turning portions of backyards (including the Brouillettes’) into wetlands, soaking nearby Heartbreak Road like a sponge, and transforming a horse paddock into a puddle of goo.  “It’s like having a big toilet that doesn’t flush.  After a while it get ugly,” said Neil St. John “Ted” Raymond, who lives on Heartbreak Road.  “It’s adversely affecting the value of people’s property.” Beavers, it seems are everywhere.  Across town, water is creeping toward John Barowy’s hay field from the dam beavers built on the Miles River in the past couple of months.  Not far away, in Hamilton, workers recently replaced a bridge on Moulton Street where beavers repeatedly clogged the flow of water.  Member of the Essex County Trail Association, which promotes trail preservation in Essex, Wenham, Topsfield, Ipswich, and Hamilton, are worrying about keeping some of their connecting trails open now that beavers have started to flood them.  And Elizabeth Brown, who lives on Farrington Lane in Hamilton near the Miles River, has watched her evergreens topple and puddles appear in the woods from beavers raising the level of water in the marsh nearby….



    Boston Globe - Boston, Mass.
    Author: Richard Higgins, Globe Staff
    Date: May 7, 2000
    Start Page: B.1
    Section: Metro/Region
    Text Word Count: 1180

    Abstract (Document Summary)

    TEMPLETON - Every day when she gets home from work, Frances Yackowski removes the sticks and logs that beavers stack every night to dam a brook under her driveway. Diligence is a must, Yackowski said, to prevent another washout of her long, dirt driveway. Under it, Norcross Brook runs through a culvert. Last month, beavers dammed the pipe, flooding her property. She had no vehicle access to her house for four days. Like many people who live in rural Massachusetts, Yackowski, a second-grade teacher who calls herself a nature lover and conservationist, blames her problems on the 1996 passage of a state ban on body-gripping and leg-hold animal traps.


    Coyote attacks a child; first time in State   (back to top)

    Boy, 3 is rescued; Questions raised

    by Bruce Mohl, Globe Staff  July 31, 1998


    SANDWICH, MA – A coyote sprang from the woods and attacked a 3-year old boy Wednesday evening as he played on his back yard swing set here, the first documented case of a coyote attacking a human in Massachusetts and one of only a dozen cases nationwide.  The boy was rescued when his mother kicked and punched the coyote, wresting her bleeding son from its clutches.  The animal then began growling at the boy’s 5-year old sister, who was at the top of the swing set, before police officers arrived and killed it.  Daniel Neal was treated and released early yesterday at Children’s Hospital in Boston for bites to the head, arm, chest and back.  As a precaution, he was given the first battery of shots for rabies.


    Dog recovers after coyote attack   (back to top)


    Rouge River Valley, NJ - May 17, 2007

    Kevin Hill Staff Writer


    First, Janice Palis stopped to admire the three coyotes peeking through the brush at her and her 10-year-old golden retriever, Duke. Then, there was no time to think at all. The animals descended on the 95-pound dog as he stood 6 feet away from Palis. In the frenzy, Palis grabbed the first stick she could find, waved it in the air and shouted at the coyotes. They backed off, she said, but didn’t retreat very far. “That’s what I think was the scariest part for me—is that they didn’t seem to have the fear of me or him,” she said. The incident occurred May 8 in the Koppernick section of the William P. Holliday Nature Preserve. In March, a coyote attacked a poodle in the backyard of a Westland home near Hines Park. That case was different from the attack on Duke, said William Craig, president of the citizen-run Holliday Nature Preserve Association. “Coyotes going into your backyard is another thing. That is a matter of citizens and their local government,” he said. There is no prohibition against bringing dogs into the Holliday Nature Preserve. Wayne County, which owns and oversees the land as part of the parks system, is currently studying its rules and regulations. Vanessa Denha-Garmo, a county spokesperson, urged caution when entering the preserve. “We’ve been telling people to stay in a well-lit area and in open areas of the park, and to keep your dog on a leash.” Craig said a leash is a good idea, but not bringing dogs at all is an even better one as coyotes multiply in the area. “It just warrants some caution under those circumstances,” he said. Palis, who said the beauty of the preserve made it her favorite place to walk Duke for the past eight years, never thought she had a reason to fear. “I have seen coyotes in the past, but nothing that’s come close to challenging us, scaring us,” she said. “From a distance, and typically when I’ve seen them it’s rare and it’s beautiful, and then they’re off, they’re gone.” Not this time, though. Palis said she and Duke had walked 200 yards into the woods from an entrance to the preserve in Canton Township. After the attack, she said, the coyotes stalked her and a limping Duke all the way back to the car. Duke was recovering nicely this week, taking longer and longer walks through the friendlier environs of the Fox Run subdivision in Canton. On Monday, he dozed in the living room as Palis recalled once seeing Brownie troops in the preserve. “Would it attack a child? If someone were small, trailing to pick something up?” she asked. “I was in a nature preserve. So, I understand I’m in a special area. But still, if it’s not safe, that’s an issue. “I would love to go back, but right now I’m not going to,” she said. “I don’t know. I mean, I want to, just because I love it there so much.”


    Youth Foils Coyote Attack on Boy in N.J.   (back to top)


    Posted by the Associated Press April 12, 2007

    Wildlife officials are investigating what could be the first coyote attack on a human in New Jersey following a backyard attack on a toddler that was foiled by an 11-year-old.  Playing in the back yard of his Middle Township home with his 22-month-old nephew over the weekend, 11-year-old Ryan Palludan first thought the animal that bolted into the yard  just before dark was a deer. But when it grabbed little Liam Sadler in its jaws, Palludan instinctively sprang into action, yelling and kicking at the attacker which was later determined to be a coyote.


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