HAVERHILL — State wildlife officials said the coyote shot and killed by police in Methuen on Thursday is the same one that attacked a pet Chihuahua there on Tuesday — but they doubt it is the coyote that bit a 9-year-old girl in Haverhill.

Methuen police have retracted a statement made late Thursday that the coyote killed on Derry Road on Thursday morning was the same animal that bit Alex Cazmay of Atkinson while she was playing in her friend's driveway in Haverhill on Monday.

"The information I was given was inaccurate," Methuen Police Capt. Randy Haggar, commander of the Field Services Bureau, said yesterday regarding his previous statement that the same coyote was in both attacks.

Yesterday, state wildlife officials said they found hair and skin that appeared to be the remains of the Chihuahua in the digestive tract of the coyote shot by Methuen police. The coyote attacked the 10-year-old dog outside a home on Baltic Street in Methuen and carried it off into nearby woods.

However, the officials said they doubt the same coyote attacked the girl.

Patricia Huckery, North East District Supervisor for the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said she did not believe the coyote killed in Methuen bit the girl in Haverhill.

Although the neighborhoods are just four miles apart, no great distance for a coyote to travel, the areas are separated by Interstate 495, which she called a "huge impediment" to the movement of coyotes.

She said when she went to the Haverhill neighborhood where the girl was bitten, the reason why a coyote had been there was obvious — a variety of available food.

Huckery said there were four bird feeders in yards in the neighborhood, and two apple trees in the back yard of the home where the girl was playing when she was bitten, with apples scattered on the ground. One neighbor kept chickens in a pen and a wire enclosure was broken down in the back, Huckery said.

"Shut down the food and they will go somewhere else," she said.

The coyote shot by Methuen police was a generally healthy, 47-pound male, Huckery said. She also said the location where the coyote was shot is a heavily urbanized area where the animals survive on residential food sources they find in one or two square miles.

Alex Cazmay's mother, Brianne Cazmay, said the news about the coyote being shot and killed had some people she spoke to yesterday feeling relieved that they no longer have to be wary.

"There is no guarantee the one they shot is the one that bit my daughter," Brianne Cazmay said. "Coyotes are still around and people need to be cautious about what they leave out that could attract wild animals that could be carrying potential dangerous diseases."

Laura Conlee of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife said the coyote shot by police exhibited strange behavior before it was killed. The carcass was sent to the Department of Public Health to be tested for rabies, and results should be available early next week, she said.

Those results will not affect Alex Cazmay's treatment for rabies because there is no way to know for sure which coyote bit her, Conlee said.

Conlee said there was evidence the coyote shot by police had an infected tooth, which she said is not uncommon in wildlife.

Brianne Cazmay said she was visited by two state wildlife officials, who asked how her daughter was feeling, and also asked her daughter to describe the behavior the coyote that bit her.

"They said it was not normal to come up to a person that quietly, which leads them to suspect there was something wrong with it," Brianne Cazmay said. "The one they shot had some sort of tooth problem and maybe needed to eat human food like trash. It may have been looking for softer food to chew and if it was the same one, maybe it hurt to bite my daughter."

"Here is my message," Conlee said. "There are always going to be coyotes in these areas, so people need to keep in mind about removing food sources, to harass them when you see them so they don't become comfortable around people, and if help or advice is needed to contact fish and wildlife, the environmental police or your town."

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