Rye Residents Warned to Be on the Lookout for Coyotes

Frayed nerves in Westchester after two coyotes attacks in four days

After two separate attacks in four days, "Shoot to kill" is still the policy for police in Rye, New York when it comes to coyotes.

"We have assigned officers to patrol the areas where the attacks occurred," said Rye Police Commissioner William Connors. "And in areas heavily populated children like summer camps."

Last Friday, 6-year-old Emily Hodulik was attacked by two coyotes. She was bitten on the shoulder and thigh, but her father says she is recovering and after a round of precautionary rabies shots, she will be all right.

"She's playing, she's laughing," said Steve Hodulik. "But she's mad cause she can't go swimming for another five days and she's fighting us on that."

And on Tuesday, 3 year old Erika Attar was bitten by a coyote in the back of her home on North Street. She was bitten in the neck and torso. After the second attack police advised parents to not allow their children outside in the early evening and to always be within an arm's length of them.

Professional trappers and police are working to catch and kill the animals with some officers dedicated to hunting the animals down, but it has not been easy.

"These animals are highly elusive and highly intelligent," admitted Commissioner Connors. "That's why this is such a challenging mission."

Wildlife experts do not believe the attacks can be attributed to an increase in the number of coyotes. The animals have always lived in this leafy, Westchester suburb but experts think the coyotes might have become too accustomed to humans and are experimenting with borders and limits.

"We have to recondition them," advised Kevin Clarke, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. "When you see coyotes do not simply tolerate them. Take a couple of steps towards them if you need to, make loud noises, use an air-horn. Do not take your children and run into the house. Make the coyotes have some fear of humans."

Coyotes have always lived in this leafy westchester town. But it is only recently that there have been attacks. In April, a coyote mauled and killed a 10-year-old miniature poodle outside of a retirement community.

Commissioner Connors said the best thing for residents to do is to contact police right away when they see a coyote so that police can respond and take appropriate action.

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