While walking her dogs through her Berryland Farms neighborhood around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Susan Gassman spotted a coyote.
Her two dogs, both on a leash, went "crazy," but the coyote just continued walking while keeping an eye on the three of them.
"My estimate is that it was about 50lbs; thin but very tall," Gassman wrote in an email to Oakton Patch. "There was a last week so I've been a little more cautious lately but never expected to see one in broad daylight."
Gassman reported the sighting to Fairfax County Animal Services. Fairfax County Police sent out a radio alert for its officers to be on the lookout for the coyote, department spokesman Bud Walker said.
On Aug. 2, three coyotes attacked a dog in Daniels Run Park. Fairfax City Police believe an off-leash dog wandered too close to a coyote den.
Coyote sightings are not uncommon in Fairfax County, Walker said, but coyote attacks on humans are rare.
"What people really need to be careful about is coyotes attacking their own domestic animals because coyotes will go after them," Walker said. "So keeping your dogs on a leash or inside is always advised. Domestic cats who are allowed to just roam are always at risk of encountering wild animals."
If residents see a coyote, they are encouraged to report the sighting to animal services 703-691-2131. If residents suspect the coyote may have rabies, they should call 911.