SoCal Toddler's Coyote Attack 3rd in 5 Days

Spate of animals making bold attacks on children, including girl at public park.

LAKE ARROWHEAD, Calif. - May 8, 2008 — -- Melissa Rowley left her childrenplaying in the front yard for only a moment to step into her house.

When she came back a coyote was dragging her daughter away.

It was the third time in five days a coyote had posed a threatto a small child in Southern California, San Bernardino Sheriff'sspokeswoman Arden Wiltshire said.

The coyote grabbed the 2-year-old by the head and tried to dragher towards the street in the mountain community of Lake Arrowheadon Tuesday.

When Rowley came out of the house and ran toward her daughter,the animal released the girl and ran away.

Rowley took her daughter to a hospital where the toddler wastreated for several puncture wounds to the head and neck area, anda laceration on her mouth.

She was then flown to Loma Linda University Hospital for furthertreatment, although her injuries were not life-threatening. She wasreleased from the hospital Wednesday afternoon and is expected tofully recover.

State Fish and Game wardens and county animal control officersset traps for the coyote and were monitoring the neighborhood highin the San Bernardino Mountains about 65 miles miles northeast ofLos Angeles.

A neighbor, Dottie Edwards, described a "scruffy-looking"coyote who had been hanging around the neighborhood for severalweeks to KNBC-TV.

"In the past they've been frightened of humans and if youshooed them, they'd go away, but they're not doing that," Edwardssaid. "I feel responsible, because I didn't call Animal Controland I should have. We all should have because he was like, stalkingus."

On Friday, a nanny pulled another 2-year-old girl from the jawsof a coyote at Alterra Park in Chino Hills, a San Bernardino Countycommunity about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. The girl sufferedpuncture wounds to her buttocks and was treated at a hospital.

A coyote came after another toddler in the same park Sunday. Thechild's father kicked and chased the coyote away.

Alterra Park is near Chino Hills State Park, a natural openspace of thousands of acres spanning nearly 31 miles.

The park was temporarily closed by Fish and Game officials sotrappers could locate the animal.

Trappers caught and killed three animals in Chino Hills Tuesdaynight, one of which they believe is the coyote who bit the child,said Fish and Game spokesman Harry Morse.

The animal that attacked the baby in the sandbox was describedas limping on its left leg, and one of the animals trapped had abroken left leg, he said.

Morse said biologists can't explain the rash of coyoteincidents.

The animals are lured into neighborhoods by dog or cat food leftoutdoors, food that people leave out for wild animals and scraps ingarbage cans, he said.

"People get used to seeing them, but this is a wild animal andyou do not want a wild animal in your backyard," Morse said.

"When coyotes get habitualized to being around people and losethat fear of humans, that's when it's very tenuous."

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