A young girl was attacked by a coyote in Huntington Beach on Thursday night, according to authorities.
The girl was taken to a local hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Huntington Beach Police Department. The victim was not identified because she is a minor.
The attack occurred north of the pier about 9:45 p.m., police said. The toddler was with her mother on the beach when the coyote attacked, Lt. Toby Archer said.
When police responded to the 911 call, they saw two coyotes nearby and shot at them, he said. The first coyote was shot and killed near Pacific Coast Highway and Goldenwest Street. The second coyote, believed to be the one that attacked the girl, was also shot but eluded capture and escaped into the wetlands near Beach Boulevard and Atlanta Avenue, Archer said.
Video footage posted on social media shows the coyote attacking the child and knocking the infant down before scurrying off.
Police are working with the California Department of Fish and Game to track and euthanize the coyote involved in the attack. Authorities have also stepped up their trapping efforts in recent weeks as animals seek water amid a continuing drought.
Cpt. Patrick Foy with the department’s law enforcement division could not speculate why the attack took place near the pier. The family were not doing anything to provoke the wild animals. A department officer took forensic samples from the girl’s wounds at a local hospital, Foy said. Officials will also perform an autopsy on the deceased coyote to determine if it was rabid.
“There’s no evidence to suggest the coyote was rabid, but that test will certainly help alleviate any concerns the family might have,” Foy said.
These types of occurrences are not common, he said, but added that whenever people encounter a wild animal like a coyote they should try to scare the animal away by making loud noises.
“Don’t feed them. That’s the most important thing we can do as a society to keep coyotes from being too comfortable around people,” Foy said.
Police ask the public to contact law enforcement if they spot a coyote by calling (714) 960-8811.