A Long Beach woman said she’s concerned for the safety of her kids, as well as those who attend a nearby elementary school, after discovering a coyote living in an abandoned home next door.
Brittney Brown, who said it’s not uncommon to see the animal walking the street in broad daylight, shared photos of the coyote with KTLA’s Rachel Menitoff.
She also said that the empty house next to hers attracts all kinds of wild animals to the area.
“I’m terrified of coming into the presence of a coyote’s now home,” Brown said. “I don’t know how it would react. So, I just kind of leave my husband to do the checking.”
Brown became even more concerned after seeing surveillance footage of a toddler attacked by a coyote outside of her Woodland Hills home last week.
That child’s mother, Shira Eliyahuo, told KTLA that the experience was traumatic, but that her daughter is OK.
“She has a lot of scratches on her left leg and one of them is really deep actually. So, we had to go to the ER. We had to get her rabies shots,” Eliyahuo said.
California wildlife officials said that coyote was already on their radar before the attack. They are now hoping to capture it and test it for rabies. They also sent the toddler victim’s clothing to the state lab in Sacramento to check for traces of DNA from its saliva to identify the exact animal.
Wildlife experts said that coyote attacks on people are rare. In L.A. County, seven have been reported this year, but the animals are adapting to more urban and suburban settings.
“Coyotes are probably one of the species that have adapted better to human encroachment than other animals because they’ve learned to use that encroachment and use those populated areas as a place to find food,” Captain Patrick Foy, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said.
Food is their number one priority, which is why experts said it’s important to clean up excess trash, pet food and even winter fruits that may have fallen from trees.
“When people don’t have secure garbage, that attracts rodents and rodents are the primary food source for coyotes,” Foy told KTLA.
As for Brown, she said she’s not letting her 2-year-old play in the yard because of the coyote’s close proximity.
“Even when we take him out of the car here in the front yard, he’s not getting out of the car until we’re ready to pick him up and take him inside the house,” she said.
Experts said that if you do come near a coyote, a good tip is to stand tall and clap your hands to scare it off.