Coyote attacks tot: Coyote 3 Year Old

Published: May 25, 2015

Coyote attacks tot: Coyote 3 Year Old, Animal control officers on Saturday were hunting for a coyote that attacked a young girl close to Silverado Park in the northeast part of the city, leaving the nearby community on edge.

The incident happened at about 5:50 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Equinox and Silverado, when a mother and her twin daughters were walking the family’s dog.

One of the girls went to retrieve a dog-waste bag and was bending over when a coyote came out of the bushes, jumped on top of her and grabbed her by the neck, said Lt. Kent Smirl of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on Saturday. The mother and several other people ran up to the coyote and scared the animal off, he said.

(Smirl said he was told by the girl’s family that she is 2. Irvine police said they were told by the family that she is 3).

The girl had bruises but was not bitten and her skin wasn’t punctured, so she won’t need rabies shots, he added.

She was treated at a local hospital and released. Her name, along with that of her mother, were not disclosed.

Several other people reported seeing a coyote near the park, located between the 133 and 241 toll roads, prior to the attack.

Emma Aguilar, 11, of Irvine said she was at the park with her father at about 5:30 p.m. Friday when she came upon a coyote.

“One started chasing me and my dad,” she said on Saturday. “It was about five feet in front of us. It was growling. My dad got a rock and threw it at him, chased him away.

“My dad always sees packs of them,” she said. “I’m pretty scared, because I have a 2-year-old sister, and we’re outside all the time.”

David Andersen of Irvine also said he had a frightening encounter with a coyote at about 5:20 p.m. Friday near Discovery Park, located at the corner of Pathway and Latitude, about a quarter-mile from Silverado Park.

“My 3 1/2 year-old son was riding his Big Wheel in Discovery Park,” Anderson said. “I looked back and there was a coyote about five feet from him on the sidewalk outside of the park. You could tell that the coyote wasn’t scared of people.

“I was frozen,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do. Should I charge him or lay back? I yelled to my son to keep pedaling. Then finally a car drove by and honked his horn and scared the coyote off.”

Ann Laughlin wondered if the coyote that attacked the girl was the same one that approached her as she walked her poodle outside of her condominium shortly on May 9 before 6 a.m.

The coyote walked along a sidewalk in Silverado Park, crossed the street and stood just a few feet away from Laughlin. “The coyote wanted my puppy so I put my puppy on my shoulder,” she said. “I screamed really loud but the coyote was not fearful.”

It hasn’t been determined if the three incidents are related to the attack on the girl, Smirl said.

As of Saturday night, the coyote was still on the loose.

The Irvine Police Department’s Animal Services Division is trained to track and monitor movement patterns of coyotes, spokeswoman Farrah Emami said.

While it’s rare for a coyote to attack a person, it can happen, especially if people feed them, by leaving pet food outside, or by having uncovered trash receptacles, Smirl said.

“When that happens we enable them with a food source,” he added. “It’s easier then for them to get food than to catch food in the wild.”

Silverado Park is in a “urban edge community” which is right on the border of wildlands which makes it accessible to coyotes, Smirl said.

The California Department of Wildlife has launched a community program aimed at helping residents in neighborhoods in Orange and Los Angeles counties learn how to coexist with coyotes and other wildlife.

If a coyote approaches, make yourself appear bigger and yell to scare the animal off, Emami said.


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