Coyote attacks on toddlers spur concern, resident warning


(NewsNation) — A 2-year-old boy in Dallas is the second toddler to be mauled by a coyote in recent weeks, leading to heightened concerns and a warning for residents.

The toddler is recovering after surgery after being mauled by a coyote on the front porch of his home in a neighborhood just north of White Rock Lake in Dallas.

The boy’s father, Newton Thomas, told The Dallas Morning News in a text message that his son underwent several hours of surgery and was in stable condition. The child was hospitalized in critical condition following the attack Tuesday morning.

A police officer responding to the call spotted the coyote in a park near the home and attempted to shoot the animal, which retreated into nearby woods, according to a police statement.

It was unknown if the animal was wounded but officials searching for the coyote said Thursday that three coyotes that were acting aggressively have been killed.

Police are warning residents that coyotes should be considered extremely dangerous.

However, Sam Kieschnick, an urban wildlife biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said such attacks “are exceedingly rare.”

The attack came less than a week after a coyote attacked a 2-year-old girl in Southern California’s Huntington Beach. 

She received serious but non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital, authorities said.

Coyotes are found almost everywhere in California, including cities, and authorities have long warned that small children and pets can be at risk.

Last year, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife began workshops to help communities deal with coyotes because of an increase in the number of conflicts with people.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Capt. Patrick Foy said coyotes usually are shy and try to avoid humans. He estimated there are only about 10 to 12 attacks per year around the state, mostly involving smaller children.

Huntington Beach police have conducted increased coyote trapping efforts throughout the city for the past several weeks and asked residents to report coyote sightings.

“This is a difficult problem to manage, given the diversity of public attitudes toward coyotes, especially in suburban areas,” Robert M. Timm, a retired wildlife biologist with the University of California’s Hopland Research & Extension Center, said in an email to The Associated Press.

“It quickly becomes a political nightmare for cities, counties, and public agencies, as many people oppose any lethal control of wildlife,” Timm said. But killing the animals “at times is the only solution when some individual coyotes become habituated to living in suburbia to the extent that they attack pets and humans.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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