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Coyotes bite 2 women in separate Palm Desert incidents

June 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A morning walk takes a frightening turn for an elderly woman when she gets bitten by a coyote. The same thing happened to another elderly woman nearby.

While it's not unusual to come across a coyote in parts of Southern California, it is unusual for the animals to bite.

Amy Williams says she goes on the same walk every morning before dawn to beat the extreme desert heat. What she didn't expect was to come back from her walk two days ago with a bandage and a story to tell.

"I told my husband, I say, 'I've been bitten.' He looks up at me and says 'Been bit by what?'" said Williams.

It was a coyote. She says she was just walking down the street when it came up from behind and bit the back of her leg.

"I looked, and I said 'Oh my goodness,' and there he stands, very calm, nonchalant," said Williams. "Not afraid of me at all. I think I was a little more nervous than he was."

But this is not an isolated incident. It's the second time someone inside her community has been bitten by a coyote in the past 10 days.

"The first lady was just gardening and it was in the evening. The coyote bit her. She thought she had gotten poked by a cactus in her garden," said John Welsh, Riverside County Animal Services spokesman.

Welsh says the Dept. of Fish and Game believes they killed both of the coyotes. Neither one tested positive for rabies.

Welsh says it's possible the coyotes were looking for food: rabbits or small pets.

"We didn't get a big rainy season, so this may be an indicator that we might have more run-ins with coyotes too, so heightened awareness is always a good thing after hearing of these weird stories," said Welsh.

Both bite injuries were minor.

"Everybody had a cane or a stick or something," said Williams.

As rare as this might seem, Williams hopes everyone pays closer attention, just in case.

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