An 11-year-old girl is recovering after being attacked by a coyote Tuesday evening along Highway 1.
The Nyberg family has never given a second thought about living near coyotes in their city of Brooks in southern Alberta but that has since changed.
On Boxing Day evening, the family pulled over at a rest stop on the Trans-Canada Highway west of the hamlet of Suffield, at a spot roughly 250 kilometres west of Calgary and 30 kilometres east of Medicine Hat.
“It just happened so fast. He came out of nowhere,” said 11 year-old Hailey Nyberg about her encounter with the coyote where the animal grabbed her leg and wouldn’t get go.
“I kicked and yelled as hard as I could. He grabbed onto my leg. I tried getting onto the garbage can but I couldn’t and he tried dragging me to the field.”
Her parents managed to get Hailey into the car but the animal wasn’t exactly backing down.
“When I grabbed her, the coyote was still trying to pull her into the ditch,” said Hailey’s dad, Dustin Nyberg. “While I was getting her to the car he was lunging at us. As I was making my way to the driver’s side of the car he was coming at me as well.
“Once we were in the car , he laid down outside the car with his ears pinned back, staring at us. He was on a mission.”
Hailey was treated for five puncture wounds on her leg. The family said they were pleased with the care they received at the Brooks Health Clinic and the quick response they got after calling the Report-a-Poacher hot line.
“I was speaking with officers this morning (Wednesday) and the problem they’re having is that people are feeding the animals and that’s what’s causing part of the issue.
Fish and Wildlife officials told the family the roadside attack is not something they’re taking lightly. “They’re going to deal with the situation because now it’s become dangerous,” said Dustin.
The family posted about the encounter on Facebook. which prompted other people to mention a coyote that’s been seen hanging out at that rest stop.
“We have zero confirmation that it was the same one but there’s been a coyote hanging around vehicles,” said Dustin. “People have seen it. It’s a common thing over the last two weeks.”
He has a message for people who have may have been giving snacks to wildlife.
“Stop feeding wildlife. (This coyote) was aggressive. I don’t know if there was anything wrong with him but you could tell he was on a mission for food.”
According to the Alberta government website, if you encounter a coyote you should make the experience unpleasant for the animal.
- Make it feel unwelcome in your neighbourhood. Even if you are not concerned about problems with coyotes, they should not feel comfortable around homes.
- Make yourself look bigger and wave your arms overhead.
- Throw rocks, sticks or other objects toward the animal.
- Shout in a deep voice and maintain eye contact.
- If the coyote continues to approach, back away slowly and move toward buildings or human activity if the coyote continues to approach.
- Do not turn away or run. This will encourage the coyote to chase you.
For situations involving aggressive encounters, phone the Report-A-Poacher number at 1-800-642-3800 and report the details.
Global News reached out to the officer investigating the incident who confirmed more details at the coyote attack would be provided.
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