Police, parents on alert after children attacked by coyotes in New York suburb
RYE, N.Y. — Firefighters have searched for them with heat-sensing cameras. Police officers, under orders to kill, have fired shots at them outside dark golf courses. Nerveracked parents have stayed up late researching their behavior online.
“It’s all that anyone talks about,” Kate Taubner said, keeping a hand on her son Jack’s head as if to hold him close.
In this suburb, dotted with basketball hoops, training wheels and bubbling creeks, life has been upended by mangy intruders that seem to be on a tear: coyotes. In the past nine days, two girls playing outside their homes were attacked in separate episodes, officials said. Both girls suffered only minor injuries, but the highly unusual attacks — experts say there may be as few as five coyote attacks against humans annually across the country — have prompted a wide-ranging response that has included helicopter searches, errant gunfire and an endless stream of gossip.
As Madeline Donovan, 5, said on her way to the pool, “Blah blah blah coyotes.”
Her mother, Diane Clehane, a former Rye resident who now lives in Scarsdale, N.Y., shrugged. “You don’t expect to put coyotes on the list of great concerns living in suburbia,” she said. “They know a good neighborhood when they see it.”
The police have advised parents not to let small children roam farther than an arm’s length away and to keep them indoors at night.
“There’s the ‘bad-man talk,’ ‘stranger danger,’ ‘don’t eat so much candy’ — and now here’s the coyote talk,” said one mother, Marian Wright, who had to sit her children down and explain the latest threat. “It’s pretty freaky, actually.”