Three times yesterday, residents in a cluster of towns in southeastern New Hampshire called police to report an aggressive coyote.

The first caller, at 8.40am said a coyote had attacked their vehicle. Twenty minutes later, the second caller, a 62-year-old woman, said a coyote attacked her and her dogs on her enclosed porch. Then came a third call, at 11am, with news that the coyote had been strangled by a protective father.

Ian O'Reilly had been walking on a trail in the town of Exeter with his wife and three children when a coyote latched onto their 2-year-old son's jacket and pulled him to the ground, the father told WMUR9.

O'Reilly and his wife tried to pull the boy away, kicking at the animal and shooing it away. It didn't work. Eventually, O'Reilly told WMUR9 that he was able to wrestle the coyote to the ground - and choke it to death.

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"In the middle of the moment you're not really thinking or recording a whole lot," O'Reilly told WMUR9. "It's really just instinct. The fact that when we tried to kick and push and get rid of him, it became clear that he was not disengaging."

O'Reilly was bitten on his arm and chest. The boy was uninjured.

New Hampshire Fish and Game retrieved the dead coyote and are testing it for rabies, according to a statement from the Kensington Police Department. It is not clear if it is the same coyote from the vehicle or porch incidents.

Ian O'Reilly.
Ian O'Reilly.

Kensington Police warned the public of a dangerous coyote, posting a photo of the animal running behind a vehicle in the middle of the road and telling residents to keep their pets and children inside.

Pat Lee, the 62-year-old woman, told police that the coyote came onto her three-season porch and tried to attack her dogs. At first she thought the aggressive animal was someone's pet, before quickly realising it was a coyote.

"I just started screaming at the top of my lungs to try to get him to stop and go away," Lee told WMUR9. "It was very, very scary, but it could've been a lot worse."

Lee's dogs retreated into her home, she told police, and the coyote tried to follow. Lee was bitten and later treated at a hospital, where she received the first in a series of rabies shots. Her dogs were also given rabies booster shots, authorities said.

It's uncommon for humans to have encounters with coyotes, according to the Humane Society. Coyotes are nocturnal and often avoid people, even as they move between territories or search for prey during the day.

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