A two-year-old-boy was savagely mauled by a coyote in Dallas, Texas, as he dozed on the front porch of his family home.
Newton Thomas, the child’s father, told The Dallas Morning News last night that his son had undergone several hours of surgery and is now in stable condition.
The attack happened early on Tuesday (May 3).
Coyotes rarely attack humans but locals say that animals had been coming closer to their homes over recent months and they suspect that some people in the area had been feeding them.
One local resident, Shery Harrison described how a coyote had attacked her dog a few weeks ago.
She says she was watering her garden when she saw what she first took to be to be a sick dog walking down the street.
“And then I said: ‘Wait, that’s not a dog,’” and turned her garden hose on the animal, which started walking away.
But then her little Pomeranian, Marshmallow, ran towards the coyote: “She ran after it, and it literally grabbed her, shook her and took off running."
Her neighbour Heather Duge says that locals had been trying to raise the alarm about the presence of coyotes in the area for quite some time: “The warnings were there for a long time, and we are just heartbroken about this little child. It had to come to something like this before help came.”
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Administrators at a primary school around half a mile from the house where the attack occurred say they have needed to keep children inside more than once because of coyote activity in the area.
After the attack occurred, police searched the officer and one officer says he saw what he believed to be the animal involved but wasn’t sure if he had hit it.
The coyote was later spotted by a marksman from the US Department of Agriculture and shot dead.
Tests to check whether the animal had rabies are now ongoing.
Urban biologist Brett Johnson says coyotes are normally very wary of humans and the attack in Dallas is a first. “I’ve been doing this for about 20 years now, and I haven’t seen anything like this,” he said.
Coyotes come from the same family as dogs and wolves, and have been known to breed with wolves giving rise to a “coywolf” hybrid. In recent years, their territory has expanded and they have been seen increasingly in urban areas.
There have been only two confirmed fatal attacks in the US: one on a three-year-old in California in 2004 and another on Canadian folk singer Taylor Mitchell in 2009.
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