A Kent, Washington man says he and his puggle were attacked by three coyotes as they were walking Friday. Faron Scarberry, who lives next door to a school is now worried that the animals may go after children. ""I don't want any of the kids to get hurt.", he stated.
"They ( the coyotes) were coming around the bush and I guess they were going after my puggle." Scarberry told KATU News. "One of them lunged up towards me and I kind of pushed it away with my hand and its front claws scratched my hand and wrist," Scarberry said. "Then one of the grabbed me by the pant leg and started shaking my leg so I just started kicking and hitting at them to get them off of me and they ran back under the fence."
Claudia Johnson lives nearby. She said she and her children frequently walk the area near where Scarberry was attacked. She said her cat was attacked last year in the same neighborhood.
"We kept our animals in for quite some time after that," Johnson said.
Sgt. Kim Chandler of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife says urban coyote issues are "pretty constant," especially this time of year as they go out looking for food.
"They rely heavily on fruit. All the fruit is gone now, so they're now in scavenging mode - cats, little dogs are a treat, and they'll eat them," Chandler says.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wild Life advises the following:
Coyotes are curious but timid animals and will generally run away if challenged. However, remember that any wild animal will protect itself or its young. Never instigate a close encounter.
If a coyote ever approaches too closely, pick up small children immediately and act aggressively toward the animal. Wave your arms, throw stones, and shout at the coyote. If necessary, make yourself appear larger by standing up (if sitting) or stepping up onto a rock, stump, or stair. The idea is to convince the coyote that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
Where coyote encounters occur regularly, keep noisemaking and other scare devices nearby. A starter pistol can be effective; so can a vinegar-filled super soaker or a powerful spray of water from a hose. Where pyrotechnics are out of the question, construct a “clapper” . A solid walking stick, pepper spray, or paintball gun are powerful deterrents at close range.
If a coyote continues to act in an aggressive or unusual way, call your local wildlife office or state patrol.