Getty A coyote
Massachusetts officials are warning people not to feed coyotes after a teenager was recently attacked by the wild animal at a local beach.
The 16 year old was sitting with a friend near the second lot of Harding's Beach in Chatham on Monday evening when the scary incident unfolded, according to a press release from the Chatham Police Department.
Around 8 p.m., a coyote approached the pair as they were eating on a blanket and bit the teen on the right ankle, the release stated.
Police said the friends immediately ran away, while the coyote picked up some of their food and ran into the dunes.
The attack was reported to the Chatham Police Department on Tuesday.
Police said they later passed on the information to the Massachusetts Fish and Game Department, the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the Chatham Board of Health, which will be "following up with methods to address this issue."
To try and prevent similar attacks from happening in the future, the town of Chatham is placing coyote advisory signs in the area of Harding's Beach, according to the release.
Additionally, police noted that they are investigating reports about people in the area who have been observed feeding the coyotes.
"The public is reminded NOT to feed coyotes and to keep their (and their pet's) distance from these animals," they wrote in the post.
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The incident comes just two months after a 3-year-old girl was bitten by a coyote at North Herring Cove Beach, which is located in Provincetown within Cape Cod National Seashore.
At the time, National Park Service (NPS) officials said in a release that rangers had responded to several incidents regarding coyotes acting aggressively toward humans.
"This behavior starts with people feeding the coyotes intentionally by leaving food out, or inadvertently by not removing food scraps and packaging from the beach," the NPS said. "This leads to the animals becoming habituated and bold in attempts to obtain food."
Chatham Police are asking anyone who spots aggressive coyotes to contact them at (508) 945-1213 or Chatham Animal Control (508) 945-5111.