A team of volunteers and animal control officers went door-to-door to warn residents of a Woodland Hills neighborhood about coyotes roaming their area just hours before a toddler was attacked in front of her home, authorities said today.
The attack occurred at about 3:45 p.m. Friday in the 22400 block of Martha Street.
The coyote remained at large Saturday with a search underway to locate the animal, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Capt. Patrick Foy told City News Service.
The toddler’s clothing was collected and sent to a forensic lab in Sacramento for testing so that DNA from saliva can be matched with any coyotes caught in the area, Foy said.
Once a DNA match is confirmed, the coyote would be euthanized so the animal’s brain stem could be tested for rabies, he said.
The attack was captured on doorbell video. It showed the toddler walking near the family’s SUV while her father locked it. The coyote knocked the girl down and attempted to drag her away but her father picked her up and chased the coyote away.
“I heard her screaming and crying and I thought she fell down and I saw the coyote was there,” Ariel Eliyahuo, the toddler’s father, told NBC4.
The toddler suffered scratches to her leg and was taken to a hospital to get a rabies shot, her family told reporters.
This was not the first coyote sighting in the area, according to Foy.
“There were a number of complaints in the immediate vicinity,” he said.
The coyote who attacked the toddler was likely still in the area and the subject of complaints in recent weeks. Most coyotes are afraid of people, he said. But an increasing number are prowling neighborhoods in search of food.
They eat pet food, garbage, rodents and pets.
Foy urged people to keep their pets inside.
“Coyotes can hop a six-foot fence like it is nothing and get a dog or cat.”
The team of volunteers and animal control officers that canvassed the neighborhood just before the attack warned residents about the coyote complaints and urged them not to leave out food for pets or other animals, he said.
Source: NBC Los Angeles