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Parents on edge after 2nd coyote attack in Rye

June 30, 2010 8:16:34 PM PDT
For the second time in a week, a child has been attacked by a coyote in her own yard in Westchester County.

These two attacks on children have really put people in Rye on edge.

For the two little girls who have been attacked and the friends who witnessed it, this has been anything but a carefree, fun summer.

"It ran over to her and it attacked her," said Catherine Egan, an eyewitness.

Egan was playing with three of her friends outside last Friday night when what looked like two puppies ran out of the bushes.

"We all ran but she was running slowly and the coyote caught her and attacked," Egan said.

The six-year old victim was bitten all over her upper body.

Wednesday night, Rye police patrolled the Glen Oaks neighborhood to try and track the coyotes.

Video released by wildlife officials showed a coyote being trapped at a golf course last month.

"This is unusual behavior for these animals, they are a threat to small children and we'll go after them until we're sure it's safe," said Commissioner William Connor, of the Rye Police Department.

The latest attack happened Monday, when a coyote mauled a 3-year old girl while she was playing outside with an older friend, who sounded the alarm.

Police are urging parents to keep small children inside during the evening hours, because that's when both attacks occurred.

"It's very scary the whole community is nervous, up in arms," said resident, Janet Herbold.

There is a community meeting planned for Thursday night.

Following the attacks, the Westchester County Department of Health is reminding residents to presume, as a precaution, that any coyotes that attack people could have rabies.

"There is always the possibility that coyotes can carry rabies," said Dr. Cheryl Archbald, Westchester County's Acting Health Commissioner. "Anyone who is bitten or scratched by a coyote should go to the nearest hospital. In fact, all animal bites should be reported to the Westchester County Department of Health, at 914-813-5000, so that the individual can be evaluated for rabies treatment."

Coyotes usually do not attack humans. However as residents make outdoor plans for this holiday weekend, Westchester County Department of Health offers the following simple safety tips to deter coyotes from attacking and to keep them away from homes.

To keep coyotes from your property

  • Bring pet food and water dishes inside.
  • Do not put out food for birds.
  • Do not leave food outside unattended; scrape your grill and burn off food residue.
  • Cover garbage cans securely.
  • Consider keeping small children and pets inside if there have been coyote sightings near your house.
  • While outside, have handy a loud horn, noisemakers, or pots or pans to bang on and also things you can throw at coyotes.
    If a coyote approaches you
  • Be aggressive: stand tall, shout in a loud voice, throw things at coyote, maintain eye contact and wave your arms as you try to scare it away and head indoors or to a more populated area.
  • Do not turn your back and run, as the coyote will then view you as prey and give chase.
  • Call 911. Do not try to catch the coyote unless you are a trained animal trapper.

    For more information about coyotes and rabies prevention, go to www.westchestergov.com/health.


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