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Monday, July 26, 2021

3 more hurt in coyote attacks in northwest Calgary, days after aggressive coyote killed nearby


Days after an aggressive coyote was put down for a series of attacks on humans, three more people have been hurt in a nearby Calgary neighbourhood.

Pria Overy was celebrating high school graduation in a Tuscany park on Saturday around 7 p.m., when an animal she initially assumed was a dog approached her group of friends.

“[It] came around and bit me in the hip,” the 18-year-old said. “When I looked down there was a ton of blood … I rolled down my pants to see what the damage was and it was really deep.”

When she got to Foothills hospital, she shared her story with others in the waiting room — and discovered two others were there for the same reason. The women shared their stories, and realized they had all been bitten at locations just a few hundred metres apart, a few hours apart. 

“It was kind of surreal that we were all sitting there together,” Overy said. 

Pria Overy was lying in a Tuscany park when a coyote bit her on the hip. (Submitted by Pria Overy)

Heather Robinson was sitting on her deck, chatting to her sister on the phone, when she was attacked.

“I had just turned my head, was leaning over, had my leg exposed … and all of a sudden I felt something and turned,” she said. “It was a skinny, scary, rabid-looking coyote … very scary, very disturbing.” 

She stood up, and the animal dove in and bit her again.

Heather Robinson managed to scare the coyote off her front porch — but not before the animal bit her twice on the leg. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Robinson runs a day home — she said this attack has left her concerned for children in the neighbourhood.

“Someone smaller wouldn’t have made it, they could have been seriously injured, killed.”

Overy also said she’s grateful the coyote attacked her, because a group of young children had ridden their bikes past the park shortly before the attack.

“I’m glad it was me and not someone else.”

Aggressive coyote put down

Less than 10 kilometres northeast of Tuscany is the neighbourhood of Nolan Hill, where at least three people have been injured in coyote attacks in recent weeks.

A single, unusually aggressive animal was believed to be responsible for those attacks — it was captured and killed by a city contractor on Tuesday evening. 

Both neighbourhoods are on the city’s northwest outskirts — bordering land that has yet to be developed.

Saturday’s coyote attacks happened in the community of Tuscany, represented by the left pin, days after an aggressive coyote was put down in the community of Nolan Hill, right. The two neighbourhoods are less than 10 kilometres apart. (Google Maps)

The city of Calgary said parks contractors have conducted repeated coyote hazing in Tuscany following an increase in 311 requests about aggressive incidents. The same kind of hazing was done in Nolan Hill.

“The city supports and encourages peaceful co-existence with coyotes through public education and, if needed, proactive management,” a city spokesperson said in an email.

The city said it will investigate the attacks, and “if it’s proven that the coyote’s aggression is becoming an increasing risk to local residents, it will be permanently removed from the community as a last resort.”

Urban coyotes do have benefits, like helping control the population of rodents and other wildlife and ensuring biodiversity.

The city said aggressive behaviour toward humans is typically rare, and so far this year the city has received 20 per cent fewer coyote calls to 311 than over the same period last year. 

The city suggests giving cleaning up any garbage or food sources in backyards, keeping pets on leashes and keeping children in close sight in order to peacefully coexist with the animals.

Both Robinson and Overy spent the night in hospital awaiting treatment as there was only one rabies shot available — they said it was given to the third woman who was attacked, who was bitten on the back.

“I’m pretty sure it was the same [coyote]. But again, where there’s one, are there others?” Robinson said. “They’re getting more brazen … that’s a little bit scary too.”



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