SOUTHBURY, CT (WFSB) - Aggressive and possibly rabid coyotes are going after dogs and their owners.
Southbury’s Animal Control says they had a couple of incidents just yesterday.
One owner had a way too close encounter. Fortunately, his dog is recovering.
They were out on Flood Bridge Road Tuesday morning when they suddenly came face to face with a coyote.
Anthony Vela and his coconut retriever, Dino, have quite the story to tell.
Yesterday morning, they were out for their morning run, when….
“Just out of the woods came this coyote," Vela explained.
Anthony tells Eyewitness News at first it was a friendly encounter, evening snapping a few pictures as the dogs just looked at each other.
“Next thing I know, they start growling at each other," Vela says.
He says that’s when the coyote ran towards the woods and his dog followed.
“I heard a few yelps in the woods and then before you know it, he was running back out and the coyote was chasing him and I tried to jump between them, which probably wasn’t a good idea," noted Vela.
Anthony says he tried making noise to get the coyote to scatter, but when it didn’t, he and his dog took off running.
“The thing kept chasing my dog and going after its hind legs," said Vela.
Fortunately, after about a hundred yard sprint, Anthony says he was able to get the coyote to let go of his dog.
“I found a big branch and that was the only way to kind of create some separation between the animals," stated Vela.
Southbury’s Animal Control officer says the town has seen an uptick in confirmed rabid wildlife over the last two years and that on Tuesday, Anthony and Dino weren’t the only ones to encounter a possible rabid coyote in the Platt Park area.
“Maybe an hour later, not far from there. I don’t know if it's the same animal, the same guy," the animal control officer says.
Animal control says this is a reminder that all pets should be up to date on their vaccinations and that you should be cautious about leaving them unattended outdoors, especially during the evening.
Luckily, for Dino, he had his rabies shot, but the vet recommended a booster and some antibiotics.
He’s doing fine and so is Anthony after an encounter they won’t soon forget.
“They’re not big, so you don’t really think about it, but once they start snarling and you see the mouth size and the teeth, it was pretty intimidating," added Vela.
Anthony tells us, while Dino is doing well, he will be on strict home confinement for the next 45 days and will be monitored by animal control for any symptoms.
Anyone who had themselves or a pet have contact with wildlife is asked to call Southbury Animal Control and follow up with a healthcare provider and/or veterinarian. Southbury Animal Control can be reached at 203-262-0613.
More information about rabies in Connecticut can be found on the state's Department of Public Health website here.