Residents have recently posted signs in the West Newton neighborhood warning of coyotes and foxes attacking pets, asking local residents to keep an eye on small cats and dogs.
One sign was found on the corner of Webster Street and Waltham Street earlier this week. It reads:
"Coyotes and foxes are praying on cats in Newton and surrounding areas. Many cats are missing. City Hall and Animal Control have ignored this very serious problem. Pets matter. They are great companions and a big part of a family. Please keep your cats and small dogs in and keep an eye on children."
According to Newton Police Capt. Howard Mintz, a recent incident where a coyote attacked and killed a small dog in West Newton was "normal behavior" for a coyote.
Mintz said the attack happened on Monday on Randlett Park around 6:45 a.m. when an owner took his dog out. Mintz said it was not clear in the report whether the owner was walking the dog or if he had just let the dog loose.
After the incident occurred, Mintz said the department called a biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to ask about the attack. The biologist informed police that the incident does not indicate the coyote was sick or rabid and that it was typical for it to see the small dog as prey.
"People have to protect their pets, but it's not a reason to take action against the coyote," Mintz said.
However, Mintz said there was another recent incident where a resident reported being followed home by a coyote. This is not normal behavior for a coyote, he said, and the department will continue to investigate.
As far as the sign posted on local utility poles and trees, Mintz said he has not heard of any attacks involving foxes.