A town on Massachusetts' North Shore has become the first in the state to approve killing off aggressive coyotes.
Nahant officials voted this week to hire rifle experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services. The move comes after a number of complaints from residents in recent months about the aggressive animals. Some residents have even had their pets killed.
"There was once a pack of seven coyotes swarming my house," Betty Gooding said.
Gooding's cat, Anthony, was killed by a coyote over the summer.
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"To lose a cat in this matter, when they're ripped apart and basically eaten, it's just horrific," Gooding said.
Town officials said three pets have been taken off their leashes in the last year. Vivien Gere's dog Snoopy was one of them.
"It was, by far, the most traumatizing experience of my life," Gere said.
More on coyote attacks
She started a petition calling on the town to do something to address the problem. On Wednesday, officials signed an agreement to bring in trained rifle experts. They said other non-lethal approaches, including traps, have been unsuccessful.
"It's not a response of dislike of coyotes or that these are a nuisance animal. We have coyotes in Nahant that are not afraid to attack, so we have to prioritize public safety," said Nahant Town Administrator Antonio Barletta.
He said the crews will use nighttime vision as they bait and call the coyotes before attempting to eliminate them. In order to move forward with the plan, they had to get approval from MassWildlife.
"It's not to eradicate coyotes. It's an attempt to remove those aggressive animals that pose a public safety threat, and hopefully the behaviors don't develop in other coyotes," said Dave Wattles of MassWildlife.
Nahant officials said the rifle experts should be in town to scout locations in the next few weeks.