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‘Somebody’s not going to be OK’: Woman attacked by coyote in Swampscott, the second such incident in weeks

A coyote in Massachusetts.Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

A woman visiting Massachusetts from Texas reported getting attacked by a coyote after she left a Bertucci’s restaurant in Swampscott on Saturday night, the second such attack in the North Shore community in less than a month, police said.

Authorities said Kathy Ellis, 64, of Houston, called Swampscott police at 11:25 p.m. Saturday to report the incident.

She said Wednesday in a phone interview that the attack occurred as she and her sister were leaving Bertucci’s with leftovers, which she placed in the back seat of their vehicle. When Ellis got in the driver’s seat, she said, she felt a bump against her thigh and thought it was a dog or a puppy.


“I turned around and it was a coyote,” Ellis said, adding that she tossed a can of seltzer at the animal to distract it so she could shut the door. “To be that bold and brazen, to come right into the car, that’s frightening for people who have kids.”

Ellis, Swampscott police said in a statement, told officers she was leaving the Bertucci’s located on Paradise Road around 10 p.m. when the attack occurred. She realized when she and her sister got home that her skin had been punctured.

Swampscott police advised Ellis to go to an emergency room at Salem Hospital that night, or visit an urgent care center the next day, the department said in a statement. When police called Ellis on Sunday to check on her status, she “reported that she was feeling OK and had an appointment later in the day to go to Lahey Clinic,” the statement said.

The town’s animal control officer is monitoring the incident, police said.

Saturday’s attack came nearly two weeks after a coyote bit a man on June 13 in the parking lot of a Santander Bank branch located across Paradise Road from Bertucci’s.


In that case, the victim was attacked around 6:40 a.m. as he was talking on his phone.

The animal pounced, biting him in the calf and shin area before he managed to grab a wooden pole from his truck to shoo it away, police said at the time.

“Luckily, it’s only been two adults” attacked so far, Ellis said Wednesday. “That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen to a child.”

She noted that people have apparently been feeding the coyotes, which officials advise against doing. Ellis said she decided to share her story to inform the public of the danger presented by the animals.

Otherwise, she said, someday after an attack “somebody’s not going to be OK.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at