A 3-year-old girl was attacked by a coyote while playing in her backyard in suburban New York -- an incident that occurred just four days after another girl was scratched and bitten by a pair of coyotes in the same suburb.
Doug French, the mayor of the city of Rye, said in a news conference today that "both girls are doing fine." But he said the aggressive coyotes are "a threat to public safety." He said he was reaching out to county, state and federal government for assistance.
Yesterday, the 3-year-old girl was taken to the hospital after the incident, which happened at her house behind the Rye Nature Center.
Police Commissioner Bill Connors said the girl was playing with a six-year-old neighbor when the coyote jumped from rock near the nature center, biting the small girl on the neck and torso. When the parents came running to help the girl, the coyote ran off, Connors explained.
On Saturday, two coyotes attacked a 6-year-old girl in her front yard. She was treated at a hospital and released.
Connors advised parents to "not allow your children to play outdoors especially during early evening hours." while the incident is dealt with. If you are outdoors he advises being at arms length of the your children and if you see a coyote, act aggressive, but don't run away.
"These incidents represent highly abnormal behavior," he said. There is "no clear explanation" for why the coyote or coyotes are aggressive.
He said trappers are actively working to catch the animals.
Westchester public health officials released a list of tips to stave off wild animals:
To keep coyotes from your property:
-Bring pet food and water dishes inside.
-Do not put out food for birds.
-Do not leave food outside unattended; scrape your grill and burn off food residue.
-Cover garbage cans securely.
-Consider keeping small children and pets inside if there have been coyote sightings near your house.
-While outside, have handy a loud horn, noisemakers, or pots or pans to bang on and also things you can throw at coyotes.
If a coyote approaches you:
-Be aggressive: stand tall, shout in a loud voice, throw things at coyote, maintain eye contact and wave your arms as you try to scare it away and head indoors or to a more populated area.
-Do not turn your back and run, as the coyote will then view you as prey and give chase.
-Call 911. Do not try to catch the coyote unless you are a trained animal trapper.
For more information about coyotes and rabies prevention, go to www.westchestergov.com/health.