The coyote charged a vehicle, bit a woman and attacked a child in separate incidents before that child’s father grabbed it and killed it to protect his family, according to police in Kensington, N.H.
Dad Ian O’Reilly was hiking with his wife and three children in the woods of Exeter, N.H., early Monday when the coyote surprised them and grabbed his youngest, a two-year-old boy, from behind.
“We had no idea it was there,” O’Reilly told NBC 10. “The coyote came up behind us, grabbed our youngest child and dragged him to the ground.”
O’Reilly’s wife jumped in and rescued the child from the coyote’s clutches, then Dad stepped forward and tried to shoo the animal away.
O’Reilly says the coyote was very aggressive and would not back down.
“I was able to kick it in the jaw,” he said. “It went down. I just gripped its snout and then just kept it in the snow … and then just continued to hold it down.”
Kensington Police Chief Scott Cain applauded O’Reilly for going into “protection mode” to save his child. He also suggested that O’Reilly might have saved others from a particularly dangerous animal.
O’Reilly said he simply acted on instinct.
“In the middle of the moment you’re not really thinking or recording a whole lot,” O’Reilly told local station WMUR.
The father of three suffered several bites and scratches, and was later treated in hospital.
Police first heard about the coyote shortly before 9 a.m. in Hampton Falls, N.H. on Monday, when they received a call that it had charged a vehicle.
“The car was trying to get the coyote to move out of the road, and the coyote started attacking the car,” Cain told NBC 10.
Pat Lee, 62, called police to her home a short time later after the coyote entered her enclosed porch and tried to attack her and her dogs.
“Thank God the plumber was here because the plumber was standing at the door, screaming ‘Get in, get in!’” she told NBC 10.
“I was running behind the dogs to get them in, and … the coyote bit me in the butt.”
New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department is testing the animal’s body for rabies.
Police say everyone who sustained a bite in the case was given a rabies shot.
—With files from The Associated Press