Wild animals run rampant in Brookline


Sofia Reynoso / Sagamore staff

Wild animals, including rabbits, turkeys and coyotes, have recently become a problem in the Town of Brookline. However, according to Brookline Animal Control Officer David Cheung, there is nothing the Brookline Police Department can do when only a sighting of a wild animal is reported.

Sofia Reynoso, Staff Writer

Brookline has been a hub of wild animal activity recently and locals are trying to find a way to safely coexist with these animals.

Residents struggle to find humane but effective methods of handling the appearances of a variety of wild animals.

Lisa Berger, a Brookline homeowner and parent of two alumni, says she has often been visited by animals, mostly bunnies and in former years, deers, skunks and coyotes. She says one of the many problems is the bunny’s destruction of her lawn.

“The bunnies definitely ruined the lawn because when they have babies they burrow big holes in the lawn,” Berger said. “I would say it would be about the size of a big, big balloon. Then they have the babies in the grass and then they cover it.”

Berger has exhausted every measure to find a solution to this recurring bunny problem, including calling private companies.

“I had someone come to the house and he said he would have to put some kind of humane crate underneath to catch them and come back daily to remove it. That wasn’t an option because it was very time consuming,” Berger said. “I had another company come out to the house. And that method was extremely expensive; it was about $2,500.”

Sara Wolff is another of the many Brookline residents who has seen animals ranging from coyotes to deers around her neighborhood.

“We saw a coyote after he had just digested a wild turkey that he had killed on the border of our property with somebody else’s,” Wolff recalled. “Last week, I went to take my dog for a walk and there was a coyote standing at the end of our driveway, so that ended our walk.”

Brookline Animal Control Officer David Cheung says there is nothing they can do when only a sighting of a wild animal is reported.

I usually respond if it’s sick or injured or if it’s an immediate threat to the public, meaning if the wildlife attacked a human,” Cheung started. “There’s actually nothing I can do if someone saw a coyote.”

Cheung said he recommends not offering the wild animals food or easy access to garbage.  

“Do not feed them or leave out bird feeders because it will attract animals that go on their property,” Cheung advised. “And secure their trash can so that their trash is not easily accessible to the wildlife.”

Berger credits this increase in animal sightings to construction in and around their neighborhoods.

“I think when you dig up the earth a lot of these animals have nowhere to go so they go elsewhere,” Berger said.

Wolff also said that construction is also causing animals to retreat into Brookline neighborhoods.

“We are not giving them space, so they’re encroaching on our space because we’ve encroached on theirs,” Wolff said. “I just try to stay away from them, and I hope they stay away from us.”

According to Officer Cheung, Brookline’s laws on hunting are to blame for the proliferation of wild turkeys in particular.

“Hunting’s not allowed so there is no way of population control so that’s why the wild turkeys are populating,” Cheung argued.

Berger continues to look for a method of deterring wild animals and is willing to do anything.

“If there is an easy way to get rid of them, sign me up,” Berger stated.