SYLMAR (CBSLA) — A 2-year-old boy was recovering Thursday after being attacked by a coyote at El Cariso Regional Park in Sylmar.
The attack happened Tuesday when Emily Joseph was at the park with her two children. The family said they had never seen a coyote at the park until one attacked 2-year-old Lejend Joseph.
"My 8-year-old said it started walking real slow, and then it ran fast and jumped on him," Joseph said.
She said they were at the park to sign up her older child for football and the older kids were playing in the field, just feet away from where Lejend was standing. Lejend's brother said he saw what he thought was a dog nearby, but when the animal ran toward the toddler and pinned him down, the kids screamed.
"We all really realized it wasn't a dog, it was a coyote," Joseph said.
Everyone at the park got up and tried to scare the coyote off of little Lejend.
"I think if it wasn't for them sitting next to him and him moving the way that he did — and he rolled as well," Joseph said. "If he probably wouldn't have rolled, I think it would have probably grabbed him and ran."
Two days after the attack, bandages cover Lejend's stitches from the bites to his lower back.
"It was kind of a nightmare," Joseph said.
Joseph said the attack frightened her friends and family, which is why she's speaking out about the ordeal in hopes that people will keep their guard up anywhere a wild animal could be.
"I'm just happy he's alive," she said. "I'm happy he's still able to walk and play and have fun."
As for the coyotes, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said it has already trapped three coyotes in the area since the attack and are waiting on DNA results to see if they captured the one that attacked Lejend. And, out of an abundance of caution, El Cariso Reigonal Park will once again close early so the department can trap any lingering coyotes in the area.
The Los Angeles County Department of Recreation and Parks said it would also be placing signage at the park about the potential for coyote attacks and what people should do if they see a coyote.
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