Federal wildlife officials kill San Francisco coyote that approached toddlers

A coyote reported to have charged at toddlers on five different occasions in the area of the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park was killed Friday by federal wildlife officials.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was called in after San Francisco Animal Care and Control and Recreation and Park Department employees expressed concerns about the coyote's behavior, and the federal officials decided to act after determining the animal had become a threat to public safety.

While there are no reports that the coyote attacked anyone, having a wild animal interacting with people has the potential to lead to injuries.

According to Animal Care and Control, people had consistently fed the coyote -- an act that is illegal and could lead to fines or jail time -- so it lost its natural fear of humans.

"It saddens us that this outcome was 100 percent caused by humans feeding and befriending this animal," San Francisco Animal Care and Control executive director Virginia Donohue said. "We implore people to stop feeding wild animals."

Coyotes in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park are common enough that video and photos of the canines pop up regularly on social media.