A wild coyote attacked a 3-year-old girl in Irvine, surprising local animal control authorities and sending the Silverado Park community into a watchful state this week. The brazen animal that pounced on the child still has not been found, and though the girl fortunately avoided serious injury, her mother says the coyote was far from “fearful.” It might have also been drawn into the vicinity by their small family dog. The OC Register News shares the details in this harrowingly close call this Sunday, May 24, 2015, noting that the threat was very real at the time.
While most evening-time dog walkers certainly need to be careful for a chance encounter with a wild animal like a coyote, these confrontations are usually uncommon occurrences. Yet for a 3-year-old girl and her family, the infrequent happened at the local Irvine intersection of Silverado and Equinox. A mother and her two young daughters were out for an after-dinner walk with their pet dog at roughly 6 pm on Friday when they heard a rustling nearby.
There was little time to react before the threatening thing pounced. The mother said that as one of her children went to pick up some dog waste with a small paper baggy, a coyote suddenly emerged from some nearby shrubbery. It leapt on top of her and appeared to bite her neck. According to Lieutenant Kent Smirl of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the mother and several other passerby sprang into action, scaring the wild animal away before it could cause serious harm.
KTLA News added this evening the 3-year-old coyote attack victim should count herself very lucky. Although she suffered some bad bruising from the attack and falling to the pavement, her skin was not punctured in the incident. Medical officials on the scene determined she had not been bitten, and it was thus unnecessary for the child to receive any shots for rabies. The young girl was still taken to a nearby hospital, but she was released within the hour. The identity of the family has not been revealed at this time. The video above features a young man who was another victim of a coyote attack, calling his particular scare another “rare” case.
It is undeniable that the young girl on an evening walk with her mother, sister, and the family pet had the closest encounter with the wild animal, but a number of other witnesses claimed to have seen the coyote prowling about Friday night in the park, shortly before the attack. An 11-year-old Irvine girl said she was with her father when she saw the animal not far from them. Again, it did not seem fearful or wary of the human presence.
“One started chasing me and my dad,” the child shared in a statement to the press 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.” Apparently, this isn’t the first time. “My dad always sees packs of them … I’m pretty scared, because I have a 2-year-old sister, and we’re outside all the time.”
This harrowing coyote, 3-year-old fright has brought some other local residents forward to share their own stories. David Anderson said he too encountered a wild animal believed to be the very same over the weekend while with his young child. He was similarly in the vicinity of Silverado Park. “My 3 1/2 year-old son was riding his Big Wheel in Discovery Park … 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 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.” Another incident involved a coyote attempting to bite and attack a family pet; the dog’s owner, a woman, said she held her dog up until a neighbor helped drive the animal away.
All of these incidents may be connected, but no confirmation has been made at this time. Irvine locals are warned to keep on the lookout and be particularly protective of pets, especially cats and dogs, this Memorial Day weekend. As of Sunday evening, the culprit coyote has not been found. Police and animal control officials are monitoring the situation, concludes the report.