Heart-pounding footage shows the moment a quick-thinking Israeli man jumped into action to save his two-year-old daughter before she was dragged away by a coyote outside their Los Angeles home. The clip was captured on Friday by cameras stationed outside the Eliyahuo family residence in Woodland Hills, and shows the toddler being pulled across the family’s front lawn by the animal before it was scared away. It begins with the child’s father — and eventual savior — Ariel Eliyahuo, parking his car in front of the house before taking his little daughter out.
The girl then begins to wander a few feet from her dad, on a path in front of the home, while Ariel continues to unload the car. The dutiful dad told reporters that he had just picked his daughter up her preschool and had been retrieving her toys. In the few seconds Ariel is focused on taking the tot’s toys, the opportunistic animal makes his move — quickly running into frame toward his unsuspecting daughter. The coyote can then be seen jumping toward the child, knocking her to the pavement before latching on to her with its teeth. The animal bites the toddler several times before dragging her across the sidewalk.
At this point, as the girl screamed and wailed in pain, Ariel sees the alarming scene, and quickly runs to her rescue. After freeing his daughter from the animal’s grasp – and hurling a bottle of water at it — the coyote quickly backs off, and eventually flees. The girl was then rushed the emergency room after sustaining non-life-threatening injuries, said the family — including a deep gash to her leg.
‘She has a lot of scratches on her left leg and one of them is really deep,’ the girl’s mother, Shira Eliyahuo told local outlet KTLA shortly after the attack. ‘The coyote just kind of dragged her,’ the mom added, revealing that the toddler also suffered bruising on her face after falling to the concrete. ‘I saw her pants covered in blood. So I took them off and exposed all the scratches on her legs.’
At first, the family said, the father thought the girl had fallen to the floor, failing to notice the coyote, which are prevalent in LA but rarely attack humans due to their small stature. ‘He didn’t see the coyote, he thought she fell,’ Shira said. ‘So he ran over and then he saw the coyote.’ Ariel — an Israeli citizen who can be heard cursing in Hebrew in the dramatic footage — recalled the horror he felt when he saw his daughter in the animal’s grasp.
‘I heard the screams and the crying, and I thought she had fallen. Then I saw the coyote there.’ The next few seconds would be a blur, but thankfully saw the coyote shooed away. However, that would not be the last time family caught a glimpse of the beast, who proved scarily persistent in his stalking of the family — reappearing at the house as news crews began to arrive later in the day.
The Eliyahuoes (pictured) — who both hail from the Middle Eastern nation but live full-time in the affluent neighborhood near Santa Monica — told reporters they are fed up not only by the presence of coyote’s in their neighborhood, but their constant howling as well.
A search for the coyote, carried out by the California Wildlife Information Department, is currently underway, said officials, who hope to match the animal with DNA left behind with the bite on the toddler. The couple’s daughter, meanwhile, received a rabies shot and is currently recovering at home. Patrick Foy, captain of the force’s law enforcement division, warned resident over the weekend that coyotes ‘are a big problem in this area,’ and that his team has received ‘reports of them going after pets as well.’
Coyotes, due to their small size, are rarely known to attack full-grown adults, with children and animals being their most common victims. Most attacks involve children under the age of five — though they are still exceedingly rare. The Eliyahuoes, meanwhile, told KTLA that they want to prevent an attack like this from affecting another child in the future, and said they hope the city will get involved by trapping and removing the coyotes from their community. Coyote activity in the area is particularly rife, with seven coyote attacks this year alone — all involving pets or children.
That said, attacks almost never prove fatal — though in this case, due to the toddler’s size and age, Ariel actions likely saved his daughter’s life. Officials warn that if coyotes are an issue in your area, build a higher fence around your property and avoid feeding the animals, so they do not associate humans with food.
Only two attacks by coyotes in history have proved fatal on humans — including one in LA 1981 that eerily echoed the Eliyahuoes’ ordeal, and the only fatal attack in the United States. Also transpiring in Los Angeles, it saw a 3 year-old girl was attacked and killed by a coyote when she was playing unattended in her front yard. Another came in Canada in 2009, and saw 19-year-old singer songwriter Taylor Mitchell killed.
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