A Heath Police Officer is hunting for a coyote spotted several times near an elementary school playground.
Phone alerts went out to parents alerting them about the wild animal near Stevenson Elementary school Thursday evening.
The school principal has canceled recess at least three times in the last week. School principal Ashley Knowlton said the coyote has never shown any signs of aggression, but she canceled recess as a precaution.
The school hired a professional trapper and contacted The Ohio Division of Natural Resources and spoke with a wildlife officer. The traps haven't worked so far.
Principal Knowlton contacted Heath Police. Sergeant Norman Ream volunteered to help find the coyote. He's an officer and a hunter.
Ream set out in search of the night's most wanted: a coyote that's been spotted too close for anyone's comfort.
"On at least one or two occasions it was actually seen walking through the schoolyard during school hours," Sgt. Ream said.
He says the cause for concern is real.
"It's unusual to have them necessarily wanting to get anywhere near human beings, because normally they're fairly elusive," he says. "They don't want to come around people. This one is unique. I don't know whether it's just used to humans, or whether there is some sort of aggression issue. But when we're talking about small children we just really can't take a chance."
There was another sighting Thursday night.
"We had a confirmed sighting on Carey Lane, which is just behind us, and a gentleman in the school thought he saw it also," said Sgt. Ream. "And I'm pretty sure i saw it on the railroad tracks when I went into the woods just a few minutes ago. So it's still here in the area."
Sgt. Ream says he's optimistic the coyote will be found.
"We'll get it one way or the other, and we'll get it resolved. It's just a matter of when."
Heath Police say if you see the coyote, they want to hear from you.
Any new sightings could help them pinpoint its location.
If it still hasn't been found by Friday, the school principal says an officer will monitor the field behind the playground so students can have recess.
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