By Ken Paglia
A coyote that bit five people in Contra Costa County has been caught by a multi-agency team of dedicated wildlife management professionals and local law enforcement and euthanized. The coyote attacked five people in the Moraga/Lafayette area of Contra Costa County, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.
This unusually aggressive coyote attacked a small child on July 9, 2020, an adult male on Dec. 4, 2020, another adult male on Dec. 15, 2020, another small child on Feb. 16, 2021 and another adult male on Feb. 19, 2021. All the attacks occurred within two miles of one another in a north to south Lafayette/Moraga corridor. Personnel from CDFW, U.S. Dept of Agriculture – Wildlife Services, the Moraga and Lafayette police departments and Contra Costa County Animal Services have been working constantly to locate and remove the offending animal. On Thursday, evidence from CDFW’s wildlife forensics lab matched the DNA of this coyote to samples taken from each of the five victims.
A post on the CDFW Facebook page announced reads, “Personnel from the agencies involved are grateful to citizens in Contra Costa County for their overwhelming support of the effort to remove the dangerous animal. We sincerely hope that locals can recreate outdoors again with significantly reduced anxiety, and that the community knows that outdoor recreation is still very safe.”
U.C. Davis veterinary staff will conduct a rabies test. There is no current evidence to suggest the coyote is rabid but because of the severity of the disease it is standard operating procedure in an animal attack investigation such as this one. Rabies tests can only be done post-mortem.
Contra Costa County residents interested in learning more about living near coyotes can visit Keepmewild.org where there are helpful tips on how we can all better coexist with coyotes and other wild animals around us.
Personnel from the agencies involved in the operation wish to extend gratitude to the Contra Costa County citizens in the vicinity who have been overwhelmingly supportive of the effort to remove the dangerous animal. It is the sincere hope of the agencies that locals can recreate outdoors in the area again with significantly reduced anxiety and that the community knows that outdoor recreation is still very safe.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.