Coyotes bite 3 children at North Texas park; officials start removing animals

People reported being followed by coyotes at Parkway Central Park

File image of a coyote. (Image by RENE RAUSCHENBERGER from Pixabay)

ARLINGTON, Texas – Authorities in North Texas are investigating after coyotes recently bit three children at a park in Arlington.

In a news release, the City of Arlington states they are partnering with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Wildlife Services to remove the animals from Parkway Central Park. The coyotes that are removed will be tested for rabies.

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As of Thursday morning, at least one coyote was captured, WFAA reported.

The park at 600 Van Buren Drive is closed until further notice.

The release states Arlington Animal Services first set up a trap on Saturday after the first child was attacked.

On Tuesday, a coyote bit another child, causing officials to close the park and set additional traps. The city later learned that a coyote bit another child on Monday.

The three children were taken to the hospital and have since been released. They will receive post-exposure rabies treatment.

The release states nearby residents and the Arlington Independent School District have been notified, as people reported being followed by coyotes on Wednesday afternoon.

Code Compliance Director Brian Daugherty said while coyote sightings are common in the city, “aggressive encounters” are rare.

“Public Safety is our priority and the City of Arlington had not previously experienced any coyote attacks. Coyotes and other wildlife are now part of our urban environment, and we need to find the best way to coexist,” Daugherty said in the news release. “There are always measures to take when walking paths and neighborhoods when you could come into contact with wildlife. Should you encounter wildlife, be sure to not engage with them and definitely do not feed them. Should you feel threatened be sure to make yourself as large as possible and appear intimidating.”

Daugherty suggested residents also use whistles, air horns and walking sticks to help deter coyotes.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department states over the years, coyote encounters have increased as urban areas spread into what used to be open-range wildlife habitat.

“The real solution and the greater need facing Texans right now is public education,” TPWD states. “We need to inform and empower people to take steps to coexist with coyotes and other urban wildlife.

TPWD lists the following tips for coyote encounters:

  • Do not feed coyotes! Keep pet food and water inside. Keep garbage securely stored, especially if it has to be put on the curb for collection; use tight-locking or bungee-cord-wrapped trashcans that are not easily opened.
  • Keep compost piles securely covered; correct composting never includes animal matter like bones or fat, which can draw coyotes even more quickly that decomposing vegetable matter.
  • Keep pets inside, confined securely in a kennel or covered exercise yard, or within the close presence of an adult.
  • Walk pets on a leash and accompany them outside, especially at night.
  • Do not feed wildlife on the ground; keep wild bird seed in feeders designed for birds elevated or hanging above ground, and clean up spilled seed from the ground; coyotes can either be drawn directly to the seed, or to the rodents drawn to the seed.
  • Keep fruit trees fenced or pick up fruit that falls to the ground.
  • Do not feed feral cats (domestics gone wild); this can encourage coyotes to prey on cats, as well as feed on cat food left out for them.
  • Minimize clusters of shrubs, trees and other cover and food plants near buildings and children’s play areas to avoid attracting rodents and small mammals that will in turn attract coyotes
  • Use noise making and other scaring devices when coyotes are seen. Check with local authorities regarding noise and firearms ordinances. Portable air horns, motor vehicle horns, propane cannons, starter pistols, low-powered pellet guns, slingshots, and thrown rocks can be effective.

About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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