Coyote killed after mauling young girl
A 4-year-old girl was mauled by a coyote Monday morning near Heavenly Ski Resort as she played in the snow outside a vacation rental on Saddle Road.
The victim, Lauren Bridges, was reported to be in stable condition at Barton Memorial Hospital, where she was admitted for treatment of deep cuts on her face. She is expected to spend the night.
The coyote was killed at the scene by a South Lake Tahoe police officer minutes after the 9:44 a.m. attack.
The girl’s family lives in Carmichael, Calif. and rented the house at 4083 Saddle Road for the holiday weekend.
The girl was the first one out of the house at about 9:30 a.m., said her father, Steve Bridges. Other family members were getting ready to join her for sledding on a hill outside the home when they heard screams for help.
“She was screaming and the coyote was on top of her, ripping at her neck,” said the victim’s father. “I grabbed the coyote by the back of the neck and pulled it off. She (Lauren) was covered in blood.”
Bridges said he beat the coyote several times before taking his daughter inside the home while others called for help. The victim did not lose consciousness.
The attack left the girl with several cuts on her face. She was bundled up in snow gear from head to toe, with the exception of her face. Bridges believes the snow clothes prevented injuries to other parts of his daughter’s body.
Paramedics treated the girl at the scene, then took her to the hospital.
A South Lake Tahoe police officer also responded, shooting once and killing the coyote.
El Dorado County Animal Control officers picked up the roughly 40-pound carcass, which will be analyzed in a Placerville laboratory for rabies and other diseases.
Coyotes have lived in the Tahoe Basin for centuries, and it is common to see them roaming area meadows and neighborhoods.
However, attacks on humans are rare.
“We’ve never heard of coyotes attacking people,” said Tom Millham, secretary-treasurer of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care and 20-year area resident. “I’m sure there’s an explanation, but what it is, I can’t answer. It’s nothing unusual to see a coyote, day or night, in the Tahoe Basin.”
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