Authorities in Irvine warned the public to keep vigilant about coyotes Thursday in light of a recent attack on a 6-year-old boy.
The victim and his father were walking through Springbrook Park about 6:30 p.m. Sunday when a coyote sprung out from behind a play house in a sand box of the park and bit the boy on the left arm, according to Andrew Hughan of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“The coyote dragged the boy three or four feet, but fortunately the father was able to scare the coyote away,” Hughan said. “It must have been pretty terrifying.”
The boy was taken to a local hospital, where he was given rabies shots as a precaution, Hughan said.
Fish and Wildlife officials teamed up with Irvine police to try to track down the coyote.
“We were able to capture and euthanize one coyote on Tuesday night and three more last night,” Hughan said.
Officials were not able to obtain enough DNA to determine if one of the coyotes captured was the one that attacked the boy, Hughan said.
“Chances are very good that one of these animals” that was captured is the coyote that bit the boy, Hughan said.
“Our message is to be vigilant if you live near that park or frankly any open space where there could be coyotes,” Hughan said.
If you see a coyote while out with a pet or child, pick up the child or pet, “make lots of noise, throw your jacket around and 99 times out of 100 the coyote will run away,” Hughan said.
Residents were also advised to not leave trash around as it lures the coyotes from open spaces.
“Coyotes are generally afraid of people, but if you leave pizza laying around in a trash can it smells good” and the coyote will feast on it, Hughan said. They are creatures of habit as well so they will keep returning, Hughan said.
“Coyotes are very opportunistic hunters,” he said.
There were six recorded coyote bites in Irvine last year and four so far this year, Hughan said.
—City News Service