Mary Moffatt Helms assures the picture she took with her cell phone is no fake.
She said, "Honestly, to my embarrassment I wouldn't know how to Photoshop if I needed to."
Helms, a Morristown attorney, spends quite some time at the Hamblen County Courthouse. On her way to a meeting there last Thursday, she saw an animal she didn't recognize crossing in front of the courthouse.
"I just happened to have my trusty iPhone. I just whipped it out and grabbed [a picture] just as he was passing," said Helms.
The Morristown attorney, who thought the animal was a fox, sent the picture to her husband. He told her it was not a fox, but something else.
"My husband emailed me back and said 'that's not a fox, that's a coyote.'"
Helms said she had never seen a coyote in the area. However, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) Biologist Dan Gibbs said it's not uncommon to see the animal roaming around, even in the daytime. Gibbs said humans have nothing to worry about, but warns pets could be a target.
"They primarily feed on small mammals---rabbits, rodents, things like that. I would caution people that if they are seeing a coyote around their home and they have a small dog or they have a cat that's typically indoors they may want to keep a closer eye on those because they will sometimes take small pets."
Helms isn't too concerned about a coyote attacking her German Shepherd. Instead, she was concerned for the coyote's safety.
"Honestly, I wanted to get out and help the animal, I didn't know what it was at the time. I thought, 'Gosh I'm worried about this animal. Do you not see all of this traffic around here? You need to be somewhere safe'," said Helms.