Wolcott, New York, is probably the last place you’d expect a coyote attack to take place, much less two on the same day. The upstate town of just 4,453 people sits on the southern shore of Lake Ontario between Rochester and Syracuse—an unassuming location for two frightful attacks by a rabid ’yote.
Daphne Dudus was the first woman to be attacked on October 2. News channel 13 WHAM reports Dudus was walking her dog near the town’s middle school when she turned to see a “shaggy dog” behind her. Moments later the rabid coyote leapt forward and sank its teeth into her wrist and arm.
Dudus had only seconds to act. She spotted a nearby garage with its door open and fled inside, but the coyote followed close behind, attacking her again as she ran.
She managed to reach the garage, but it took a neighbor seeing the attack and honking his car horn to finally scare the coyote away.
An hour later and only two miles away, another Wolcott resident ran into what authorities believe was the same rabid coyote. Sandy Bellone’s dogs were in her driveway when the coyote began attacking them. When Bellone’s son tried to fight the coyote off, the rabid animal bit Sandy’s leg.
The two rushed inside and tried to close the front door, but the coyote managed to get part of his body inside the doorway and continued trying to attack them. Bellone’s other children ran to wake their father, who hurried to the front door and shot the coyote.
The coyote was later tested for rabies, with the results coming back positive. Dudus is reportedly receiving rabies shots as a result; no word on Bellone’s condition.
New York coyotes have been in the news several times this year, from increased sightings in New York City to attacks on pets upstate. These attacks in Wolcott are unusual and likely a result of the coyote’s infection, but they highlight the concern many New Yorkers feel as these wily predators move into new territory.
Couple that with the discovery of larger, hybridized “coywolves”—part wolf, part dog, part coyote—and the fear of coyote attacks increases substantially.