White Rock Valley dad Clayton Rainey says he is heartbroken to hear about the 2-year-old boy who was attacked by a coyote on his porch Tuesday morning, but he’s not exactly surprised. Last month, a coyote darted fearlessly past Rainey as he was his Crestedge home for leaving work.
“He was hugging the bush line, looking for something to eat,” Rainey says. “He went up and down each house from the side yard to the alley and back, methodically looking for anything. He didn’t respond at all to my honks or yells. I’ve seen enough coyotes to know that when one is unfraid of humans, like this one is, it will attack anything it feels it has a chance to win against. It’s scary – and it’ should have been taken care of back then.”
Rainey called Dallas Animal Services (DAS) right after he saw the animal, and he says he’s heard from dozens of neighbors who called to report similar encounters in their own yards or at playgrounds at schools or parks. They were told there was nothing they could do except stay away from the animal and not feed it, Rainey says.
The 2-year-old is still in the hospital following surgery to repair a broken jaw, neighbors say, and he’s being treated for deep lacerations on his head and neck. His 5-year-old brother, upset after witnessing the attack, is being consoled by his loving parents.
DAS crews still have not captured the coyote, but an assistant general field manager said Tuesday the animal “has been located using DPD’s infrared drone and is isolated in a wooded area at this time. The city’s wildlife biologist has also arrived on the scene.”
DAS posted on Facebook that they’ve investigated the attack and determined “that this specific coyote was well known in the neighborhood and residents were routinely handfeeding and petting it. This behavior eroded the coyote’s natural fear of humans and gave it the confidence to carry out this attack.”
Neighbors call that hogwash.
“This post is absurd,” Sarah Hefton responded. “I live in the neighborhood and know of no one feeding this coyote. The local school, neighbors and RISD have contacted the City of Dallas multiple times – and they did nothing. This is so tragic – and all we care about is this sweet little boy and his family. What happened was horrific, and the city failed its citizens.”
“This post definitely needs to be edited for accuracy,” agreed Jessica Hume. “The fact that the neighborhood was ‘petting and feeding’ this coyote is ridiculous. We have all been on high alert with our children and pets for weeks and have received zero assistance from the city.”
“To say that the neighborhood has been petting and feeding this coyote is ridiculous,” added Courtney Halpin. “Residents of the neighborhood, as well as school administration and parents from our neighborhood school, have complained multiple times about this coyote roaming the neighborhood, showing up on a school playground and getting too close to humans. DAS did nothing to help with the situation, and now this sweet little boy is paying the price.”
DAS employees went door-to-door in White Rock Valley Tuesday night, advising residents to use caution until the coyote is captured. Again, they asserted that “the coyote was circulating the neighborhood because it was being fed by residents,” and, when asked to document that claim, said a mother with a stroller in the area had been chased by the coyote and had thrown food at it to send him away.
Rahul Yodh says he, too, has reported the coyote and been frustrated by the city’s response. He first saw the animal on March 24th when it jumped his back fence and tried to attack the family’s 20-pound poodle. Wife Sarah had the patio door open and ran outside to scare the coyote away. On April 20, Sarah saw the coyote stalking children at White Rock Trail Park and sniffing around an empty stroller. Four days later, Rahul saw him at the park again, then spotted him approaching their home.
“I know it’s been reported to 311 and Animal Control multiple times in the past six weeks,” he says. “In my opinion, it was a failure by the city to address (the coyote) until it turned tragic.”
Meanwhile, White Rock Valley families are left scrambling to protect their children and pets. White Rock Elementary paused outdoor recess Tuesday while patrols searched for the animal nearby, and they asked parents to accompany children on their walk home from school. Such precautions are expected to continue until the animal is killed or captured.
“Coyotes are wild animals and should be regarded as such,” says DAS. “Citizens should never approach, interact with or feed wild animals. If a citizen encounters a coyote that has entered human territory, they should instead try to humanely scare it by employing hazing techniques that will help to re-establish coyote’s natural wariness of humans.”
If you see a coyote, you are asked to call 3-1-1 and report its location.
Update 8:45 am Wednesday: A coyote killed a dog near the Lake Highlands North Recreation Center last night. Homeowner Joshua Williams reported on Nextdoor.com that he hadn’t followed Tuesday’s news and let his dog into the back yard. When he opened the door to call her back in, he saw a coyote jump over his fence in retreat. He found his dog dead in the yard.