U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)-— On May 3rd, in the Lake Highlands neighborhood of the Dallas metroplex, a coyote attacked a two year old toddler on the front porch. It was about 8:30 a.m., according to AP. From Fox4kdfw:
DALLAS – A 2-year-old child is in critical condition at the hospital after being attacked by a coyote in Dallas.
Police said it happened around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning in the Lake Highlands area while the child was sitting on the front porch of a home on Royalpine Drive, which is not far from White Rock Creek.
Another coyote attack on a toddler had happened a week earlier in Huntington Beach, California.
In Vancouver, Canada, a spate of coyote attacks triggered an official response in 2021. 45 people had been bitten by August of 2021. By the end of the year, eleven coyotes had been culled. No more attacks were reported. Vancouver park authorities made it illegal to feed coyotes.
In Texas, Governor Rick Perry made headlines when he shot an aggressive coyote which appeared to be menacing his dog, while out near Austin, Texas, in December of 2015.
The attack in Dallas was unusually severe. Most coyote attacks on people are bites or nips, where hospitalization is not needed. The Toddler in Dallas survived the attack, was in critical condition at the hospital, but is now recovering at home. From ksat.com:
DALLAS – A 2-year-old boy who was attacked by a coyote
on the porch of his Dallas home is recovering after surgery, and officials searching for the coyote said Thursday that three that were acting aggressively have been killed.
As coyotes have increased in population and adapted to urban areas, coyote attacks have increased. In one research paper 142 incidents were recorded from 1960 to 2006. In overlapping research, 367 incidents were recorded from 1977 to 2015.
When most people were armed, and considered coyotes a pest, coyotes learned to be wary of humans. In urban areas, many people consider coyotes to be closer to Disney characters. Some people value coyotes highly.
Coyotes are a common animal. They are not in any danger of extinction. Coyotes which become habituated to the point they do not fear humans should be removed from the population. While attacks by coyotes on humans are relatively rare, attacks on pets are common.
Eye witness accounts of coyotes taking, killing, and presumably eating pet dogs and cats are common. In one intensive radio collar study, 8 coyotes were found to kill 19 cats over 790 hours of observation (about 32 days). Coyotes also prey upon dogs. A pack of coyotes can pull down even a fairly large dog.
The legality of shooting coyotes to protect humans is fairly clear. If a human is endangered, shooting a coyote is justified. Pets are considered domestic animals.
It is legal to shoot dogs or coyotes which are attacking livestock. Here is the relevant Texas statute:
Sec. 822.013. DOGS OR COYOTES THAT ATTACK ANIMALS. (a) A dog or coyote that is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked livestock, domestic animals, or fowls may be killed by:
(1) any person witnessing the attack; or
(2) the attacked animal’s owner or a person acting on behalf of the owner if the owner or person has knowledge of the attack.
(b) A person who kills a dog or coyote as provided by this section is not liable for damages to the owner, keeper, or person in control of the dog or coyote.
Many Texas cities have laws or regulations forbidding the discharge of firearms in city limits. They usually have exceptions for defense of self or others. It is less clear if an exception would be made for defense of domestic animals.
Texas became a Constitutional Carry state in 2021. Shooting coyotes safely in an urban environment takes extreme care.
It may be acceptable if the coyote approached closely and was not afraid. A shooter would have to be sure of a good backstop, so as to minimize risk to other humans.
Hollow point or frangible bullets would help reduce the chances of a ricochet.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.