Coyote attacks 2-year-old boy on front porch


City officials, game wardens and animal control authorities in Dallas, Texas are in shock after an urban coyote dragged a 2-year-old boy off his porch in the early morning hours of May 3, 2022.

The boy’s name is Landon Thomas, and the injuries he sustained in the attack sent him to a nearby hospital where doctors described his condition as “critical”. According to a local blog, he emerged from surgery in stable condition “with severe facial lacerations”.

Shortly after the incident, a police officer shot the coyote before it quickly retreated into a nearby wood. Police then attempted to locate the animal by searching for blood with thermal imaging devices, but no coyotes were found immediately after the shooting.

Residents of the neighborhood where the toddler was attacked say this is not the first time a coyote has been observed acting aggressively in the area.

Another resident of the same Dallas neighborhood, Clark Collier, also encountered a seemingly aggressive coyote while he and his children were playing at a nearby school park on Easter Sunday. He said this coyote “turned a blind eye” to one of his children.

“Luckily we were able to scare the coyote off in this little drainage area, in the creek here, but I called the city right after that and reported it, and I said ‘Hey, that’s not normal. This coyote seems to want to attack someone, “Collier told NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. “I wish they took us more seriously, and it didn’t take a child to be sent to the hospital to provoke action.”

According to local reports, Collier’s complaint and Landon Thomas’ attack on Tuesday morning are just two of many reports Dallas residents have made to the city’s animal service in recent months.

At the request of the call records, Dallas Animal Services (DAS) revealed at a recent press conference that there have been 14 reports of coyote sightings in and around the area of ​​the Thomas attack. .

In a press release issued Thursday morning, the DAS said that after its officers and the city’s wildlife biologist scoured the neighborhood and met with locals, “several residents reported that locals were feeding the coyote”.

Author, natural historian, and professor of Western history, Dan Flores wrote a book about coyotes in 2016 titled coyote america. He says this type of aggressive behavior among urban coyote populations is not unheard of.

“After a few generations of city life, [coyotes] lose any fear of us they ever had, which probably wasn’t much at first,” Flores wrote in a chapter of coyote america titled “Bright Lights, Big City”.

Flores goes on to say that coyotes are uniquely adapted to unnatural urban environments like those found within the limits of Dallas. He says the coyote’s abilities to survive and thrive among the trappings of modern human culture may be an unintended ecological consequence of our failed attempts to eradicate the species in previous generations.

According to a May 5 report by NBC 5 of Dallas, three Dallas coyotes have now been killed by officers from a Texas division of the United States Department of Agriculture. Although these three coyotes were deemed aggressive by the agency, officials have not definitively linked any of them to the Landon Thomas attack.

“This is because, although the DNA is readily available from the animals, the victim had all possible DNA cleaned after being rushed to hospital for treatment,” the article said. .

NBC Exhibit 5 goes on to say that the brains of all three animals have been sent for rabies testing, though the results are still pending.

According to Flores, rabies does not usually inflict coyote populations. “Unlike foxes, coyotes, with the exception of a small population in southern Texas, do not carry rabies,” Flores wrote in coyote america. “Although, like us, a coyote can become infected if bitten by a rabid skunk, fox or raccoon.”

Some residents of the neighborhood where Thomas was attacked believe the city of Dallas falsely accused them of feeding and even petting coyotes in the area.

A neighbor named Meredith Lohse told NBC 5 that the city does not take community concerns seriously and that officials have not informed residents of the extent of coyote aggressive behavior that has taken root in her town. Dallas neighborhood.

“We tried to protect our own people, and we tried to depend on those in positions of power, and they pushed us away,” Lohse told NBC 5.

DAS Director Mellissa Weber responded with this statement, provided to NBC 5: “There was never any intent to blame the community for this, but we have multiple reports of intentional and unintentional feeding. coyotes.”

Dallas urban wildlife biologists say coyote unintentional feeding includes leaving trash outside overnight, feeding cats in the open and overfilling bird feeders. All of these common activities, officials say, can serve to habituate urban coyotes living in the city of Dallas.

In his book, Flores writes that coyote colonization of large urban environments has become an increasingly common phenomenon in the United States. He cites thriving coyote populations in Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland and even New York.

He says that while urban coyote populations aren’t going away any time soon, there are steps city dwellers can take to discourage these human-adapted canines from becoming too brash and aggressive.

“If a coyote does not move away from you or acts aggressively, stand up straight, raise your hands above your head to emphasize the fact that you are much larger than it is and shout “, did he declare. wrote. “If you have a good arm, pick up some rocks and get ready to throw a Nolan Ryan Dust-off fastball. Give the coyote every indication that you’re quite ready to kick his ass halfway through Sunday.

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