Hair-raising video shows stealthy coyote follow doctor into his office in South Carolina

PHOTO: Security cameras at the Southeastern Spine Institute in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, captured the moment a coyote followed a doctor into the building on Feb. 15, 2017.PlayABC News
WATCH Coyote follows doctor into office

A security camera recently captured the hair-raising moment a coyote stealthily followed a doctor into his office in South Carolina.

The doctor -- Steven Poletti, an orthopedic surgeon -- said the harrowing incident happened early in the morning on Feb. 15 while he was walking into work at the Southeastern Spine Institute in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

Poletti had no idea a coyote was behind him until they were both inside the building, he told ABC News today.

"I felt something brush my leg and then turned around," he said. "At first glance, I thought it was a dog."

But Poletti quickly realized the animal was a coyote when he caught sight of its "bared teeth and big, bushy tail with a black tip."

"We were enclosed in this small 10-by-10-foot stairwell area, and I didn't want it to run into the operating room or into the office," Poletti said. "I just shook my keys out of fear, and the coyote took a step back and looked like he was frightened. Then, I just made a run for it."

The coyote chased the doctor outside for about 10 feet until a squirrel distracted it and it ran off, Poletti said.

"It all happened very quickly," he said. "I was just shocked because the office isn't in a rural or forest area, and there are a lot of homes and commercial properties nearby."

Poletti noted, though, that coyotes are abundant on Sullivan Island in South Carolina -- the beach island town where he lives and which is about three miles from his office.

"We hear them howling on a nightly basis," he said. "There are definitely a lot of coyote reports in the surrounding areas, but I don't think we've ever had a coyote enter a building like this before."

PHOTO: Security cameras at the Southeastern Spine Institute in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, captured the moment a coyote followed a doctor into the building on Feb. 15, 2017. ABC News
Security cameras at the Southeastern Spine Institute in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, captured the moment a coyote followed a doctor into the building on Feb. 15, 2017.

Poletti said he called the Mount Pleasant Police Department and reported the incident.

The doctor said that initially, animal control officers from the police department told him he could hire a private trapper. However, a few days later, the police department offered to have its animal control officers set up a trap to try and capture the coyote, Poletti said.

The Mount Pleasant Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment on the incident.

Mount Pleasant Mayor Linda Page confirmed that the town generally refers residents to trappers when they report coyote sightings, according to local newspaper The Post and Courier.

Page declined to provide further comment on the town's response to the incident until she could talk with her staff about it, the newspaper reported.

She did say, however, that if "there's any kind of danger to human life, we're going to take it seriously," The Post and Courier added.