Chicago boy, 3, bitten in face by possible coyote

A young boy was apparently attacked by a coyote. He was bitten in the face by what he thought was a friendly dog.
November 15, 2013 3:12:55 PM PST
A 3-year-old boy was hurt after his family says they mistook a coyote for a dog near a park on the city's West Side.

Coyote attacks on humans are rare. They're more a threat to your pets. But Cook County Animal Control officials say four coyotes were captured in Columbus Park after a boy who lives nearby was reported bitten.

Weeks later, the injury still looks bad, but loved ones of 3-year-old Emeil Hawkins say he's going to be OK after he was attacked almost three weeks ago.

"You can see how close it is to the neck, to the eye, to the mouth, to the nose... It could have been a lot worse, but at the same time it was tragic. It's been horrible," said Bryce Kyle, the boyfriend of the boy's mother.

Kyle showed ABC7 Eyewitness News the alley where it happened, a couple hundred yards from Columbus Park.

"This was a single animal that approached Emeil, but there were several animals a little further down the alley," said Kyle.

Kyle says Emeil was with his mom and initially thought the animal was a German shepherd. It became aggressive, Kyle says, when Emeil tried to feed it a snack.

"My girlfriend noticed that the animal hissed and kind of yelped. At this time, she ran for her son," said Kyle.

Kyle tells us Emeil is used to being around animals. He breeds pit bulls as a hobby and has 5 dogs inside the home.He insists the toddler knows how to be around animals.

Emeil was rushed to a hospital and Cook County Animal Control says it later captured four coyotes nearby.

Neighborhood residents say they're a common sight in Columbus Park.

"When I come outside, I walk up Adams. I see they be over here running around they just be out here," said Tashan Meks, neighbor.

"You'll see them. They'll be looking at you. If you drive through there with your headlights, you'll see them. They'll come to you," said Laynette Collins, who lives near Columbus Park.

Last month, the ABC 7 I-Team spotted a coyote prowling around west suburban Riverside.

Since being bitten, Emeil's family says he's tested negative for rabies but has had to endure a series of shots as a precaution.

"Let's talk to our children. Let's let them know that these are not the types of animals we want to pet. These are not the types of animals that we want to come around," said Kyle.

Cook County Animal Control says those four coyotes tested negative for rabies. They were eventually euthanized. Officials say never feed a coyote, and if you are approached by one, stand firm, make a loud noise, and they'll usually run away.


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