Councilman and dog stalked by possible rabid coyote at College Hill (VIDEO)

A coyote, suspected of being rabid, was killed at College Hill Park on Friday morning.

POUGHKEEPSIE – City of Poughkeepsie Councilman Evan Menist and his dog Harvey had an encounter with a coyote during a walk at College Hill Friday morning.  Menist told Mid-Hudson News that the animal was acting aggressively and displaying behavior associated with rabies, which resulted in the coyote being killed by law enforcement.

Menist said the coyote stalked him and Harvey, originally coming within five feet of the dog’s hind legs.  The coyote continued circling Menist and Harvey, named after former Poughkeepsie mayor Harvey Eastman, for 10-15 minutes and Menist had to keep scaring it away. “It was aggressive, out during the day, had a mangy coat, and was yawning and hissing at them,” the councilman said.

The coyote’s carcass was sent to a lab to be tested for rabies and the results should be available on Tuesday.

Menist called 911 immediately after the coyote first tried to get at Harvey, and prior to filming the second video. The third video is after he was able to pick up the stick and control the situation. City of Poughkeepsie Police officers and Animal Control responded within 15-20 minutes and determined it was best to dispatch the animal and test it for rabies due to the abnormal behavior. An officer was able to shoot and kill the animal and kept everyone safe, according to Menist.  Animal Control was able to recover the animal for rabies testing, and a sample has been sent to NYSDEC.

The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) continues to advise residents to be aware of continued reports of coyotes exhibiting bold/aggressive behavior in the Towns of Poughkeepsie and Hyde Park, notably in areas just north of the Mid-Hudson Bridge to the Hyde Park Drive-In Theater, as well as the City of Poughkeepsie. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) has determined that these behaviors are consistent with coyotes being fed intentionally or unintentionally, creating an increase in coyote encounters. Residents should not leave out food (including for pets) or otherwise attempt to feed coyotes or other animals outdoors.

Additionally, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) coyote conflict guidance advises that January through March is the breeding season for coyotes in New York State. Pup-rearing season extends beyond that into the summer. Coyotes are more territorial during this period and there are increased risks for conflicts.

Report coyotes exhibiting bold behaviors (approaching people for food, attacking leashed pets with owners, chasing joggers or bikers, etc.) or repeatedly seen during the daytime in a human-populated area or near residences to the NYS DEC Bureau of Wildlife at 845-256-3098. Please note that seeing a coyote occasionally is not evidence of bold behavior.

Residents should contact their local police department in case of an emergency. If there is any physical contact between a coyote and a person or pet, report the incident to DBCH as soon as possible at:

• (845) 486-3404 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• (845) 431-6465 on nights/weekends/holidays

Video of the encounter provided by Councilman Evan Menist: