A woman visiting from the United Kingdom was injured Monday after she protected her friend's dog from a coyote attack.
Jessica Jones and the dog, a mini golden doodle named Roxy, may have encountered a coyote's den in an overgrown area near the backyard of the friend's home in Reading, Massachusetts, before the attack, according to a release from the Reading Police Department.
"Our early investigation indicates that this coyote was acting in defense of itself and its pups, and so we do not believe there is any threat to the public," Reading Police Deputy Chief David Clark said in a statement.
After the coyote went after the dog, Jones used her arm to shield her and then "punched the coyote in the face" before running off with Roxy, she told ABC Boston affiliate WCVB.
Jones sustained deep gashes to her arm, images show. She required six rabies shots in her wounds, she said, describing the treatment as "harsh."
Roxy was not hurt in the scuffle, police said.
"I told my family that Jess was pretty cool and that they’d enjoy having her come stay, but I don’t think any of us could have possibly expected how grateful we would end up being," Jones' friend, Grace Tully, told the local station.
Tully said that coyotes have come near and in the yard but never got close. Other neighbors have reported seeing coyotes in the area but have never reported any aggressive encounters, WCVB reported.
"I've never heard of one coming so close to a home or so close to a human," Tully said.
The presence of coyotes themselves are not cause for concern, as they are naturally afraid of people, police said.
To avoid attracting coyotes, police advised residents to secure their garbage in plastic containers with tight-fitting lids, keep bird feeders clean, protect produce and livestock and feed pets indoors.