Coyote Shot After Biting 3-Year-Old Girl in the Head at Placentia Park: Police

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Officers shot and killed a coyote after it bit a toddler at a Placentia park on Monday afternoon, police announced.

The 3-year-old girl was bit in the head at Parque del Arroyo Verde and sustained injuries that were not life-threatening, the Placentia Police Department said. She was transported to a hospital for treatment.

While the animal also tried to bite a witness, nobody else was injured, the agency said.

Police responded to the scene on 1001 E. Palma Drive at around 1:30 p.m., Sgt. Adam Gloe said.

"Upon arrival, the child's mother pointed to the direction that the coyote ran, and our officers were able to locate the coyote in a neighborhood just east of the park," he told KTLA.

The officers converged on a residential neighborhood east of the park and found it running on Camden Drive toward East Palm Drive, a major thoroughfare, the sergeant said.

"The officers, fearing for the safety of the community and knowing that a child had already been bitten, shot the coyote," Gloe said. "It was killed at the scene."

The coyote's body was then picked up by Orange County Animal Care.

Gloe said coyotes sightings in the area are rare, adding that "it's even more rare to see a coyote out during the day." The sergeant couldn't recall any previous incidents involving wild canines in the vicinity.

In March, Cal State L.A. police similarly shot a coyote who bit a 5-year-old on campus.

How to approach coyotes in urban environments is debated. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife told KPCC in March that after a biting incident, its officers trap and kill coyotes until they find the one involved.

“It does look like lethal control is a good short term option." Niamh Quinn, an expert on the subject with the University of California Cooperative Extension in Orange County, told KPCC. "But it’s not the long term solution. The long term solution is making citizens aware of how to act in areas where coyotes are, because coyotes are not going anyway."

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