A young girl was seriously injured in a coyote attack in Huntington Beach Thursday night.
The attack occurred just north of Huntington Beach Pier, on the beach itself, at about 9:45 p.m., according to Huntington Beach police.
"There's nothing we could say that would put them at fault," said Capt. Patrick Foy from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. "They did not antagonize the coyote. The coyote came out of nowhere and snuck up on this little girl."
Foy said that the coyote released the child after about 12 seconds when one of the adults accompanying the child came to help. The girl was taken to a hospital with serious injuries but is expected to survive.
"There was, like, a coyote right around here, we saw it, and all of a sudden it went by like this family," witness Garie Joncon said. "And there was like a kid on the ground. And like five minutes later we walked back, whole crowd around a baby. Baby evidently got bit, and there was blood all over its face."
Cameras captured footage of the coyote running along the beach. According to the police, responding officers scoured the area and then shot two coyotes. One died on scene. The second was wounded and was captured under a mobile home about a mile from where the attack occurred. It was later euthanized.
The carcasses of both coyotes will be tested for rabies.
Coyotes have been a familiar sight in the area. On April 2, about a mile from where the attack occurred, security camera footage from a Huntington Beach home showed a pack of four coyotes running through the backyard.
"I haven't seen aggressiveness by any of the coyotes I've seen," said Huntington Beach resident Steve Migliore. "Being by myself in the dark, down by Dog Beach, I've had two or three of them walk right by me, not even growl or anything."
As expected, fellow beachgoers were on high alert Friday afternoon.
One man said he would "be more aware of where my daughter's at when I'm not there" and to make sure he "keeps an eye on her."
Police said that coyote trapping efforts have ramped up in recent weeks citywide, noting that the nearby wetlands may be a common locale for many wild animals.
Anyone who sees a coyote should call 714-960-8811.
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