NEW CANAAN — Sightings of an injured coyote with a hunting trap on its leg have raised concern around town.

Animal control is asking New Canaan residents to learn to coexist with coyotes after a faulty hunting trap left an injured coyote limping around town for at least two weeks. According to Allyson Halm, the New Canaan Police Department animal control officer, there have been four sightings of a coyote with a hunting trap on its left front leg from Dec. 13 to 30.

“Ideally when you’re trapping, you shoot the animal,” Halm said. “It doesn’t make sense to me that this means of hunting is viable in Fairfield County. ... It’s legal animal cruelty. (Coyote sightings) are the new normal, and we need to change our lifestyles, prepare lifestyles for these animals to coexist with us. That’s the important thing.”

Halm said the coyote was first seen Dec. 13 on Jonathan Road. A week later, it was spotted again on the same street. On Dec. 27, there was a sighting of the animal on middle to upper Oenoke Ridge, near the New Canaan Reservoir. It was most recently spotted on the same road on the morning of Dec. 30.

Halm said the coyote got caught in a loosely installed hunting trap, causing the coyote to pull the attached trap out of the ground when attempting to escape.

Animal control has been unable to catch the animal and are asking residents to keep an eye out. Halm said the coyote’s injury is likely severe, based on the amount of time it has had the trap on its leg.

Coyote trapping season began Nov. 6, and professional trappers are supposed to mark their traps. However, Halm said she’s not banking on being able to trace the trap should animal control catch the injured coyote.

Halm also said the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection knows the situation; however, the animal will likely need to be put down if captured, due to a lack of resources to help it rehabilitate.

Instead, Halm is asking residents to learn to live in harmony with coyotes.

“The reality is these animals are here and they’re here to stay,” she said. “They’re a very smart species and they have survived many, many years — decades — despite our attempts to eradicate them.”

Halm said she condemns trapping. Animals the traps are unintended for, such as skunks and birds of prey, often end up in the devices and it results in the death of these nontarget animals. Halm said trapping can be illegal if people are paying professional trappers to target animals not deemed nuisances by the DEEP.

Halm is instead working on putting together coyote hazing kits to help residents scare off unwanted animals in their yard. Coyote hazing, a popular method used in Colorado, employs the use of noisemakers, small projectiles and other harmless repellents to deter coyotes from yards.

“As a whole, they don’t want to mess with us and we don’t want to mess with them,” Halm said. “It’s sort of a new normal (to have coyotes around). It’s up to us to make lifestyle changes. There’s no excuse. We know coyotes live in Fairfield County.”

Halm said residents need to be aware when it comes to letting their domestic pets outside if they know coyotes are around. The species is in its breeding season, and males may act aggressive if encountering small domestic animals.

Darien police urged residents to take precautions with their pets after two dogs were attacked by coyotes in town, resulting in one dog’s death.

Halm said this aggressive behavior from coyotes may continue into the whelping season, when the animals will be with their pups and trying to protect them.

ekayata@hearstmediact.com; @erin_kayata