Wildlife officials searching Woodland Hills for coyote seen in video attacking girl

Jaysha Patel Image
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Wildlife agents searching Woodland Hills for coyote that grabbed girl
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California Fish and Wildlife officials are searching a Woodland Hills neighborhood for a coyote that attacked a young girl.

WOODLAND HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A day after a coyote attacked and tried to drag away a little girl in front of her Woodland Hills home, wildlife officials were combing the neighborhood in search of the animal.

Officers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife were armed with flashlights and dart guns, searching through wooded areas and behind fences hoping to capture the coyote that attacked the child.

While they were searching Eyewitness News cameras spotted one coyote lurking near the street but it was not captured.

In Friday's incident, surveillance video shows the wild animal stroll up behind the toddler, grab her by the leg and start to drag her away. Her father hears her screaming and is able to save his daughter from the coyote.

The animal boldly stays on the street watching until he makes further efforts to scare it away.

Coyote attacks young child on Woodland Hills front lawn

The girl is recovering and was not seriously injured.

The family has passed the girl's clothing to wildlife officials for DNA analysis, in case a coyote is trapped in the area.

"They try to identify the location on the child's clothing where the animal's teeth actually went through the clothing," said Patrick Foy, a captain with state Fish and Wildlife. "And if they can identify that spot they can try to extract DNA from the microscopic traces of saliva left behind by the attacking animal."

Neighbors say coyotes in the area are bold and this is not the first attack in the community.

Earlier this year, one Woodland Hills resident captured video of a coyote sneaking into her home through the doggie door.

Coyote sneaks into Woodland Hills home

"They don't run," said Woodland Hills resident Michael Keppel. "They just kind of watch and it's a problem now. They got some guy in the parking lot here about a month ago who had a little dog that they went after."

Many in the area say the coyote problem is only made worse by people who leave food outside, either intentionally for wildlife or for their own pets.

That is a bad idea, experts say.

"You know, feral cat feeding stations - you don't leave the food out," said Rebecca Dmytryk, CEO of Wildlife Emergency Services. "These animals are here because the food is here. If we remove those food resources they will go away. It's been proven."

Another tip: Secure your garbage so you don't attract rodents and raccoons.