Vicious coyote sunk its teeth into baby's cheek
The Province; Canadian Press
A coyote attack on a Vancouver infant has revived the call for a large-scale coyote kill.
The little 14-month-old girl was attacked in the front yard of her home in the 2900-block of West 22nd Avenue, while her mother was gardening just metres away.
Her mom who was picking weeds when the coyote quietly wandered up to the baby scared the beast away with a kick.
The baby suffered two puncture wounds to her neck and a large cut on her cheek that needed 10 stitches to close.
"The coyote actually had attached and bitten the child in the face area, and was holding on to the child," said Vancouver police spokesman Det. Scott Driemel. "The coyote sunk its teeth into the face and the cheek, and was shaking its head back and forth with the baby's head in its mouth."
The baby was in good condition in hospital yesterday after the attack Monday at about 8 p.m.
The attack comes about a week after another coyote tried to drag a six-year-old girl into some bushes at a Coquitlam tennis court.
But despite a call by the B.C. Wildlife Federation for a cull of Lower Mainland coyotes, provincial environment officials say only problem animals will be captured and humanely euthanized.
The federation's executive director, Doug Walker, said if left unchecked the coyote population will only continue to grow.
"You don't want to have the day that a child gets killed because the coyote population has become so great," said Walker. "If these were rats running around fields, people would be screaming for some controls to be brought in."
Lori Balshin, who lives across the street from where the girl was attacked, won't let her kids play outside without an adult anymore.
"They have to look at perhaps killing some of them," said Balshin. "I don't see the problem going away. It could have been my kids."
A Canada Post letter carrier working on West 22nd Avenue yesterday has seen numerous coyotes in the area.
"I think they are going to have to control them," he said. "What are they waiting for? A death?"
But trapping and killing coyotes is "out of the question," said Bruce Cox of the provincial environment ministry. "There's a segment of the population that likes the idea of coyotes living among us, appreciates them and would oppose that," he said.
B.C. wildlife patrol officer Dennis Premble attended the scene of the Vancouver attack yesterday but there was no sign of the problem coyote.
"We're here having a look at the area but it's all residential so the chances of finding a coyote are very unlikely," said Premble.
In the last five years, there's been an increase in coyote attacks all over the Lower Mainland, said Premble. And untold numbers of pet dogs and cats have also been killed, he said.
"We always told people not to worry about the coyotes. We said 'They don't bother people,' but we're finding that's not true," said Premble. He said problem coyotes are dealt with in the same way problem bears, cougars or other wildlife are handled.
"We only take out offending animals. We're not here to take out all the coyotes in Vancouver."
The provincial minister responsible for wildlife said she needs more information about the coyote problem before considering further government action.
"What I'd like to see happen is the conservation officers work with people at the local level to come up with solutions that make sure the kids are safe, but also make sure that we're not going in a direction where we can't have wildlife as part of our environment," said Joyce Murray.