EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 18, 2012

Coyote carries family's Chihuahua into woods

METHUEN — In her 10 years of living at 96 Baltic St. in the east end of town, Karen Serafino recalls seeing wild turkeys and deer in the yard.

But never a coyote.

That's until one attacked her family's 10-year-old long-haired Chihuahua yesterday morning. The male Chihuahua, named Cookie, was let out of the home into the front yard around 8 a.m. — like every other morning, Serafino said.

Cookie has been in the Serafino household for about five years after being adopted from a co-worker of Serafino's mother.

While the home has a large back yard lined with trees, the coyote came from the front of the house, near the street.

"I don't know where (the coyote) could have come from," Serafino said. Both she and her husband were surprised a coyote would wander into such a dense neighborhood during a time when people were heading off to work.

The coyote attacked the dog in the front yard before running off with him into the back of the property, Serafino said.

"The girl across the street tried to help us," Serafino said. "She was really upset. There was nothing she could do. There is nothing anybody could do. You don't want to chance it with an animal like that."

Serafino said it was a "shocking morning" for everyone in the house, especially her two children, a 10-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl.

"I am grateful it wasn't one of the kids," she said.

She said there are definitely concerns about letting the kids play outdoors after the coyote attack. There are several other children in the neighborhood, some of whom walk to and from each other's homes, she said.

"I called the other parents just to let them know," Serafino said. "It is not going to be very comfortable letting them play outside alone."

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