NAHANT, Mass. (WBZNewsRadio) - More than 300 people have signed a petition in Nahant calling on town officials, animal control officers and law enforcement to address the ongoing issue of coyote overpopulation.
The petition was created by Vivien Gere who writes, it's become "increasingly evident in recent years, the overpopulation of coyotes has become a public safety concern."
"Coyotes have been stalking and attacking local pets, dogs and cats — and are even a threat to small children and people alike. They are predatory animals, with uncontrollable behavior and will attack unprovoked. A Nahant resident myself, my dog was attacked, slaughtered, and taken by a coyote in front of me on June 6th, 2022 — he was on-leash and only steps away from our front door," Gere's petition reads.
She said local law enforcement, administrations and animal control have not taken the appropriate steps and measures to address the issue, "and more importantly, prioritize the safety of residents and their pets."
"At night we walk with a stick or a bat, you'll see a lot of people in town walking with something in their hands to try and fend it off," Nahant resident Jen McCarthy told WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas. She said she knows of at least three families that have lost pets to the coyotes in recent weeks.
Gere said one of the biggest issues surrounding the ever-growing coyote population is the geography of Nahant. With Nahant located on a peninsula, there is only one way in and out.
"Over recent years, coyotes have crossed into the territory in search of food," Gere said. "During their breeding season, which occurs in springtime, coyotes give birth – with the usual litter consisting of 4 to 8 pups. As the coyote population grows within a suburban community, so, too, does the threat to small pets and children."
The petition does not give a specific plan for population control, but Gere and the signees urge the town "consider all measures necessary in order to allow for effective removal and control of the coyote overpopulation on the peninsula."
John Maguranis, a representative for 'Project Coyote', said there is a lot that can be done to help the community coexist with the coyotes.
"As long as you just kind of leave them alone and don't provide food for them, then they're really benign animals. They just kind of roam around, eat the rodents and all those animals that most people aren't happy to have around in their backyard and gardens," Maguranis said. "If people just get the facts and learn about coyotes, most people change their opinion about them."
Maguranis served as a United States Army veterinary technician for more than two decades, and now works with the non-profit to empower communities and animal control officers with tools, information and resources they need to coexist with coyotes.
WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasNews) reports: