A rabid fox’s attack on a 5-year-old girl in Derry and the mauling of a small dog in Hampstead on Monday are prompting animal control and wildlife officials to warn the public about aggressive wildlife.
The beginning of spring means coyotes, foxes and bobcats are out looking for food for their offspring, according to Rob Calvert, a wildlife biologist with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
“People are starting to see them during the day, which is not unusual this time of year,” he said. “They have hungry mouths to feed.”
That’s led to increased sightings of wildlife in Southern New Hampshire communities, local animal control officers said.
Coyotes, foxes and some bobcats will attack small pets and possibly humans, doing whatever it takes to kill their prey, Calbert said.
The latest incident was Monday morning on Howard Road in Hampstead, Animal Control Officer Sheila Johannesen said.
A coyote or bobcat is believed to have attacked and killed a small dog — a bichon frise named Lily, Johannesen said. The wild animal then attacked a border collie-lab mix, biting that dog, she said.
The owners did not hear their pets being attacked, Johannesen said. She received the call about 11:45 a.m. Both dogs were later examined by a veterinarian, and the surviving pet was given a rabies vaccination, she said.
Johannesen, who also serves as Danville’s animal control officer, is concerned that other pets could meet the same fate. She advises people to keep a close eye on their dogs and cats, keeping them inside at night.
In the last week alone, Johannesen said, she’s received four reports of bobcat sightings in Hampstead.
“They don’t see the difference between a rabbit and a small pet,” she said.
People should also keep an eye on small children as well and encourage them to stay away from wildlife, Johannesen said.