A nine-year-old boy from Winnipeg needed stitches, staples, and a rabies vaccine after a coyote attacked him on Saturday, June 25. He was walking with his 15-year-old sister that evening near Popko Crescent and Sunny Morning Road in northeastern Winnipeg, a suburban area interspersed with some open wooded land, according to a Winnipeg police report.
The siblings noticed the large coyote near the road and fled. But the coyote chased them and caught up with the boy, mauling him and biting him in the back of the head. Logan Funk, an 18-year-old who lives nearby, heard screams for help outside his house at around 6:45 p.m.
“This is a little kid … people need to go out there and help this boy, right?” he told CBC. “It could have been worse.”
Funk ran outside and yelled at the coyote, scaring it and causing it to run about 60 feet away. Funk then sprinted to a neighbor’s house and got water and paper towels for the “marks” on the boy’s head. He returned with a shovel to scare off the coyote, which was still lingering in the area. Meanwhile, more neighbors emerged to help the boy, and first responders arrived shortly thereafter.
He was taken to the hospital with “significant injuries” to his upper and lower body, Winnipeg Police spokesperson Jason Michalyshen told CBC. The boy’s parents, who also remain anonymous, are grateful for the swift action of Funk, the other neighbors, and emergency responders. But they recounted the horrors of waiting in the hospital for six hours before receiving treatment.
“Our poor boy sat with an open scalp for hours, which lengthened the trauma he had already endured and made treating the gaping wound on his head that much more difficult,” they said.
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A large coyote had reportedly been stalking the area and attacking house pets in recent weeks, neighbors told CBC. But officials said it’s the first time a coyote has attacked a human in the province.
“What’s uncommon here is the contact made … to my knowledge that’s never happened,” Michalyshen told reporters. “[It is] incredibly rare.”
Winnipeg police and Manitoba wildlife officials are still searching for the aggressive coyote, which they plan to euthanize and test for rabies. They’ve narrowed their search to “an area of dense brush” in the northeastern part of the city, but the coyote had not been found as of June 28.
If a coyote starts behaving aggressively toward you, raise a jacket, backpack, towel, or bag over your head to appear bigger than you actually are. Shout loudly, blow a whistle, and make lots of noise to deter it.