Deanna Lydon was walking her 60-pound, 8-year-old pitbull about 9:30 p.m. Friday near an empty parking lot close to Alewife Station in Cambridge when, she said, a coyote snuck up behind her.
“I had no clue it was there until my dog started to snarl,” Lydon recalled Saturday morning.
She started to “make noise and act big” to try and scare it off — a tactic MassWildlife endorses — but the coyote, which was about the same size as her dog, she said, “kept coming at us.”
Lydon’s next instinct was to run.
“I fell down and it seemed to scare it away,” Lydon said, thinking she was in the clear. But as they approached the station, she turned around and there it was.
“It locked us in and started sprinting at us, so I ran as fast as I could into the Alewife T station,” Lydon said. “I had to pry the gates up.”
Her dog, she said, didn’t seem as bothered by the situation.
“Ellie comes on runs with me sometimes and I think she just thought we were running,” Lydon said.
She called her sister and her sister’s boyfriend and they arrived about 10 minutes later. After Lydon and her dog made it safely inside their car, they all decided to loop around to try to see where the coyote went.
“We saw a biker in the same lot being chased within a foot of the coyote,” Lydon said.
Lydon said she called 911 to report the incident, and the operator said it would be reported it to the state.
They drove around again, but by the time they had circled back, the chase had continued toward Russell Field, where they could not pursue any further in the car.
“We have never felt unsafe in our neighborhood until now,” Lydon said. She has lived in Cambridge for eight years, and her husband has lived there for 15. They have walked the same route many times with no issues, she said.
About an hour before Lydon’s experience, a woman posted a similar encounter to the Arlington Dog Owners Facebook group.
Kristina Conroy said she was walking her small dog near Thorndike Street — 0.2 miles from the Alewife Station — when a coyote appeared after a rabbit darted across the path.
“The coyote stopped and looked at us from about 15′ away, so I picked my dog up, flashed my phone flashlight at it, and made noise,” Conroy wrote.
The coyote backed off for a moment, Conroy continued, but then “came back out and started walking toward/following us.”
Conroy said she made more noise and “went through several rounds of this until it finally crossed to where the rabbit had gone,” and she and her dog were able to walk away.
Both women posted their encounters on Facebook as a warning for neighbors to be on the lookout.
Coyotes can become more territorial or protective of their dens during pup rearing season from April to August, according to the Cambridge Animal Commission’s website.
While coyotes tend to stay away from humans, people should wave their arms and make loud noises if one approaches, according to the website. It is also better to walk away from the animal than to run.
Globe correspondent Caroline Enos contributed to this report.