Campers at the Midland School were forced indoors on Tuesday after police alerted camp staff of multiple coyote sightings in the surrounding area.
Rye Police Commissioner William Connors said police received reports of about eight coyote sightings on Tuesday. One coyote sighting occurred near Forest Avenue and the animal appeared to head north and was spotted in the vicinity of Midland School, where the Rye Recreation department hosts one of several summer camps.
Connors said officers went to both the Midland School and Milton School camps to alert camp staff and respond to sightings in the area. He said officers had coyotes in sight, but were unable to take a shot at the animals in a safe area.
No coyotes came onto campgrounds, according to Sally Rogol, Rye Recreation's superintendent.
"We took precautions that were necessary to keep children away from the perimeter of the area [where the sightings were reported]," Rogol said.
Rogol said campers were taken indoors after police alerted Rye Recreation about the sightings. She said campers are back outdoors this week, and that counselors have had air horns, a device used to scare away coyotes, since the first day of camp.
The camp will respond accordingly to protect kids' safety, possibly taking them indoors, if there are more sightings in the area, Rogol said.
Two coyote attacks in June have made the Rye community and local summer camps more vigilant. Other local camps have reacted to the attacks by arming their counselors with tools to scare coyotes. At the YMCA camp at the Osborn School counselors have whistles to not only deter coyotes, but to alert other camp staff there may be a problem, according to Gregg Howells, executive director of the Rye YMCA. Campers have also been told that if they see any animal that resembles a dog near the campgrounds, they should immediately tell their counselors.
Connors said police are continuously responding to reported sightings, and one officer on each day and evening shift has been assigned to respond to these incidents.
"We're chasing them and responding to the sightings. The trapping efforts are still going forward, but they're incredibly elusive animals," Connors said.