An injured coyote was again spotted near the Melrose/Malden line Tuesday morning, this time blocks from Forestdale Elementary School.
Police responded to the call a little after 11:30 a.m. on Nichols Road, though the animal darted back into the woods before it could be approached.
Animal control officer Kevin Alkins said the animal had injuries similar to a coyote spotted at the nearby Linden School last week, but said residents had little to worry about.
"Coyotes are in every city and town in the commonwealth” except for some island communities, he said.
He noted Malden itself has had a population for “at least” 12-14 years, mostly in wooded areas near the Middlesex Fells and some cemeteries.
“(But) we haven't had a coyote attack since I couldn't tell you when,” he said. “(Coyotes) shy away from human beings...99.9% want nothing to do with you.”
Small pets, however, are a different story. Alkins advised all residents, but particularly pet owners, to clear their properties of trash, food or other debris that may attract a hungry coyote's scavenging attention.
“Any trash, garbage, debris – that would draw a coyote in” he said. “If people leave food outside of their homes and coyotes eat it, you are making it more domesticated, and that can cause a problem. The idea is to keep them in the wild.”
If a resident spots a coyote, Alkins told residents to not approach the animal. Most will keep to themselves, but if any begin exhibiting threatening or violent behavior, call 911.
“If one is moving normally and moves off into a wooded area, there's really nothing to be concerned about at that point,” he added.
Should the coyote be captured, Alkins said it would be taken to a nearby wildlife rehabilitation center, where they'd treat the animal's apparent leg injury.
Alkins said he had no legal authority to remove an otherwise uninjured coyote that wasn't exhibiting threatening behavior.
“We have to learn to co-exist,” he said.
“(I find) the more people know about it, the less hysteria there is.”