If you lived in the outer areas of Carmel or Winterport, and you told me you saw a coyote, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised. Lots of woods, lots of prey. But if you told me you lived on Howard Street in Bangor and saw one, I'd be concerned. Well, there have been two such sightings in the neighborhoods near Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center.

One was in a resident's back yard on Howard Street on December 5th, and the other more recently this past Wednesday. In the first incident, the person was walking their small dog in the yard, and the coyote actually started to come closer, presumably to try and make a meal of the small dog. In the other incident, a man photographed one them in his yard, saying that it looked as though it were likely suffering from mange.

City Animal Control officers have been following up, and according to an article in the Bangor Daily News, have noted that this is quite strange behavior. Most coyotes prefer to stay away from people, and do their hunting a bit more incognito. The working theory is that maybe the animal or animals, are sick or old, and hunting for food closer to the city might be a bit easier.

They also urge folks to be very cautious. These are wild animals, and if threatened, can be very dangerous. So keep small pets and children safe. No one is saying there's wild coyotes out there that are trying to steal babies... but no one wants a child to be bitten by an animal feeling the need to defend itself.

If you see a coyote near you in an area that it shouldn't be, be sure to contact your local animal control officer.