HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) - A coyote attacked and seriously injured a girl on Southern California’s famed Huntington Beach, police said.
Officers were called to the beach near the Huntington Beach Pier around 9:45 p.m. Thursday, police spokesperson Jennifer Carey said in a statement.
"Upon arrival, officers located an injured female child. The child was transported to a local hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries," she said.
Police later shot two coyotes and one was found dead on the sand about a mile north of the pier.
Police Lt. Thoby Archer told The Orange County Register that officers do not believe that coyote attacked the girl. The other coyote was wounded but vanished near a wetlands.
State Fish and Wildlife Capt. Patrick Foy told KNX news radio that officials will try to determine whether DNA from the dead coyote can be matched to any coyote DNA that was in the child’s wounds.
Coyotes are found almost everywhere in California, including cities, and authorities have long warned that small children and pets can be at risk. Last year, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife began workshops to help communities deal with coyotes because of an increase in the number conflicts with people.
Carey said police have conducted increased coyote trapping efforts throughout the city for the past several weeks and asked residents to report coyote sightings.
Huntington Beach, on the Orange County coast, has one of California’s classic surf breaks and is known as "Surf City USA."
No other information about the girl will be released because she is a juvenile, Carey said.