Game wardens end search for coyote that attacked Laguna Beach resident

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Coyotes in nearby wilderness parks. Photo by Allan Schoenherr

State game wardens suspended their efforts Tuesday to capture a coyote that attacked a Laguna Beach resident last week.

A forensic test of the victim’s wound and clothing confirmed it was a coyote that bit the victim, said Capt. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

State game wardens captured two coyotes over the weekend but neither matched the DNA profile of the offending animal. Both animals were humanely euthanized, Foy wrote in a text message Wednesday.

The decision to euthanize coyotes, regardless of whether their DNA matches the offending animal, is based on many factors. If a coyote aggressively approaches game wardens in an area frequented by people, including a playground, that might be grounds for them to shoot the animal, Foy said.

The Laguna Beach resident was attacked near Oak Street and Temple Terrace on Friday morning. They were transported by Doctor’s Ambulance to a local hospital where they were treated for minor injuries and released shortly after, Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Jim Cota wrote in a text message.

Typically, victims of coyote attacks are immediately administered a post-bite vaccination for rabies, Foy said.

“The City would also like to take this opportunity to remind residents of important safeguards to protect themselves and their pets and property from these wild animals,” city officials said in a prepared statement.

Coyotes are most active at dusk and dawn. In urban areas, they are more active at night but can be spotted at any time, according to a city press release.

Laguna Beach Animal Services recommends that pets not be let outside during evening hours unless the owner is next to them to ward off curious coyotes. An animal control officer will respond if a coyote during daylight hours in areas with people, especially children, or anytime one of the animals attacks or exhibits threatening behavior toward a person or pet.

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