A mother is warning her Texas community after she says her 9-year-old daughter was bitten by a coyote outside her home, according to media reports.
Amanda Oparanozie says the attack happened in her neighborhood in Georgetown, about 30 miles north of Austin.
Her daughter was rollerblading when what she thought was a dog came up to her, according to KTBC.
“The coyote came up and bit her on her leg,” Oparanozie told KXAN. “Thankfully, she managed to stay calm, and there was a container in our yard, and she had picked up this container and started hitting the coyote and kept screaming until my husband came out there.”
The girl suffered bruises and was punctured on her leg, her mother told KTBC. She was left with additional fear, as she is unable to sleep by herself.
“I have to tell my daughter she is safe,” Oparanozie told the station.
Many people in the Georgetown neighborhood say they have been encountered by coyotes, according to KXAN.
“They’re getting less fearful of us, and it’s becoming more now we have to be even more fearful of going outside,” said Melanie Winston, who told KXAN her young son was met by a coyote as he walked to their car.
Georgetown, with a population of more than 67,000, has been one of the fastest growing cities in Texas. With growth comes the destruction of habitat for wildlife.
Coyotes are common throughout Texas, says the state’s parks and wildlife department. They often travel in small packs and have adapted as humans have expanded their communities.
The animals do not fear humans, which the department says can fuel a dangerous situation.
“It is important to not feed them at all,” Texas Park and Wildlife said. “Don’t leave pet food out over night, secure lids to garbage cans and keep small pets inside unless supervised. They do not normally pose a threat to livestock, however hungry coyotes may occasionally take small domestic animals or poultry.”
If a coyote approaches, you’re encouraged to pick up your pet or child and start hazing, an action used to chase coyotes away, according to CoyoteSmarts.org.
Hazing could include being loud, waving your arms and clapping your hands, CoyoteSmarts.org says. The sounds can also alert neighbors.
This technique, however, should not be used when coyotes are in the presence of other coyotes. If the animal fails to immediately respond to hazing, you should continue to do so until they retreat — or call local police, the site says.
“If a coyote has not been hazed before, they may not immediately run away when you yell at them,” the Humane Society of the United States says. “If this happens, you may need to walk towards the coyote and increase the intensity of your hazing.”
“The coyote may run away, but then stop after a distance and look at you,” the Humane Society added. “It is important to continue to go after the coyote until they completely leaves the area.”