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August 26, 2013

On Plum Island, coyotes targeting residents' pets

PLUM ISLAND — Janice and Vincent Williams are early risers. Recently, they rose to a nightmare.

Newburyport officials have been warning residents about the presence of coyotes on Plum Island, and there have been some reports of pets going missing. But the Williams are believed to be the first to actually witness, and report, a coyote attacking their pet.

“It was between 5 and 5:15 (a.m.),” said Janice Williams. “The neighbor’s cat had come over to visit because he likes to eat Maxine’s food. So, the two cats were in the house. And when Vincent went to let them out, he turned around and shut the door, and he heard a loud noise. It was probably the steps of the coyote.”

Maxine is the Williamses’ 3-year-old black-and-white domestic medium-hair cat, and when Vincent Williams opened the door, both Maxine and the other cat, Hefty, ran past him.

“The coyote came up and onto our deck. It cut across the deck to get into the backyard,” said Janice Williams. “My husband went around the other way, to fend him off and when he came around the corner, (Hefty) had made it up the tree, Maxine had not quite made it, and she was in the mouth of the coyote.”

The coyote was the size of a 4-foot Labrador. Vincent Williams made his body as large as he could to fend off the coyote and then yelled; “Drop her!” The coyote dropped Maxine, who ran off one way. The coyote headed down Old Point Road.

“I went searching and searching for her,” said Janice Williams. “But what I did find were a lot of coyote tracks. And I know it was coyote because I was walking through a plethora of poison ivy and sea grass. Humans aren’t walking through there.”

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