A mother, with her baby, had to fend off an aggressive coyote in attack mode on Monday, in the Southern California community of Ladera Ranch. The coyote finally moved on when it apparently realized it wasn't going to get the baby, but continued on in a bold rampage through the suburban neighborhood to kill two dogs.
The woman and her adorable little 10-month-old daughter were enjoying some outside playtime on the grass late Monday morning, just a short distance from their home, when the threatening coyote decided to join them.
"I was playing with (my daughter) out on the grass, and out of the bushes came a coyote," the mother explained to KTLA 5 News, from the safe confines of her home.
"It started circling us, then it started lunging at us, and I was like trying to kick it... It was showing teeth and very aggressive... I just did everything instinctually you think you should do. Kick, push, (and) guard (the baby)."
The coyote finally left enough room for the woman to back away and retreat into her house.
But the coyote apparently wasn't finished, and went on to attack the dogs.
"15 minutes later (my husband) heard screaming (outside in front of the house) that a dog had been taken," the mother told KTLA.
Her husband rushed to help, but it was too late. The badly wounded dog had to be euthanized and the significant amount of blood left behind on the neighborhood sidewalk reflected the violent and brutal struggle between the coyote and the dog.
The coyote then reportedly moved on down a pathway through the neighborhood and killed its second canine victim.
Like many Southern California residents that have experienced aggressive suburban coyotes and their pets becoming the primary items on coyote menus, the mother and other residents in the area contacted Animal Control and the city. But often, there is no particular protocol or immediate plan in place to deal with coyotes.
Killing the coyotes has proven unsuccessful in stemming their suburban populations, as has trapping and relocating coyotes. In fact, the suggestions heard most often to protect yourself and pets from coyotes is to keep your pets and their dishes inside, along with anything else that might attract a hungry wild coyote. Also making coyotes uncomfortable whenever seen, by honking, yelling, flashing lights, using a whistle or air horn, and waving arms is also recommended.
However, often in the case of a particularly dangerous coyote, or pack of coyotes, efforts are made to eradicate the perceived pests.
The coyote in Ladera Ranch that went after the mother and her baby before killing the two neighborhood dogs, is somewhat familiar to area residents, walking with an identifiable limp, which may hinder its hunting skills and explain its aggressive behavior while foraging in the neighborhoods looking for food.
Ladera Ranch residents also say coyotes are fairly common in the area, they just don't usually confront a mom and her baby in the middle of the day as they play in the park.
Near the coast in other Orange County cities such as Huntington Beach and Seal Beach, aggressive coyotes also continue to be an ongoing problem.
While once considered skittish and expected to vanish with a shout and a wave of the arms, Southern California's suburban coyotes have grown more bold around humans and aggressive in their attacks on pets.
In one recent case, a coyote literally followed a woman through her front door, wrestled her dog away in the living room and escaped back outside, the coyote disappearing into the neighborhood with the dog in its jaws after a successful and brazen attack.
As for the mother that literally had to shield her baby from the attacking coyote, it doesn't seem the coyote would have hesitated for an instant before having the child for lunch.
"It was terrifying... The fact that there's an animal out there looking at my daughter like she's prey."
[Images via Coyotes In Orange County, Karen Davis and KTLA 5 News]