A 6 year old girl was attacked by two coyotes as she played with 4 friends outside her LaSalle Avenue home about 9:00 pm Friday in the Glen Oaks section of Rye.
Police say Emily Hodulik suffered bites and lacerations to the right shoulder, the right thigh, the neck, back and ear,
Police say her mother heard the child scream and called 911.
The family is "traumatized," said Police Commissioner William Connors. "The animals acted as if they singled her out. They came at her at a run, tackled her and brought her down."
At a hastily called news conference Saturday at Rye Police Headquarters, Connors and Rye Mayor Douglas French described an all-out search and chase last night, with police officers sighting one of the animals on the Rye Golf Course, not far from the child’s home, and pursuing it on golf carts, aided by fire trucks used to light up the grounds.
In addition, a police aviation unit lit the area from above. Police shot at, but missed, the animal. The search, Connors says, "was fruitless."
Area of coyote attack Friday night
"This changes the equation," Connors said the attack. "Coyote attacks on humans are extremely rare. Previously we would not shoot on sight unless an animal was showing dangerous behavior. Now we will be getting more aggressive."
There has been increasing interaction between coyotes and humans in Southern Westchester over the last few months. Police have employed a wildlife nuisance removal company that they say has recently relocated nine coyotes, including a mother and a litter of pups. They were trapped humanely with a device that catches the animal by the forearm with a rubber boot.
Police say more of these traps will be located around the area.
Seven months ago a coyote killed a small dog owned by a resident of The Osborn retirement community. Coyotes have also been spotted at Rye Neck High School in Mamaroneck.
"Essentially they are a fact of life in Westchester now," One coyote was sighted near the Rye-Harrison line Friday night.
Rye Police are now warning parents whose children they see playing outside to be careful of them. The Department is also using the Reverse-911 system to warn residents in the Glen Oaks and other areas.
If you encounter a coyote, police say, remember they are timid animals, so act aggressively. Make noise, yell and try and scare them away.
Coyotes, he added, are also quite clever and have been known to dig up traps.
"There’s a reason for the phrase, ‘Wily Coyote,’" he added.