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Montebello beset by bizarre coyote attacks

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Officials have hired a coyote hunter and are testing DNA samples to find the perpetrator

Coyotes and humans have long coexisted in Los Angeles. The daring predators can be found all over the city—from Granada Hills to Baldwin Hills and from Silver Lake to Westlake. And, though the animals are known to drag the occasional house pet off into the night, they generally aren’t seen as a threat to people.

That’s why officials are somewhat puzzled by a string of recent coyote attacks on humans in Montebello. The LA Times reports that the first attack happened last month, when a coyote bit the leg of a teenager in Grant Rea Park, also making off with her shoe. Two more incidents occurred over the weekend, including a brazen attack on a homeless man that left him with 19 puncture wounds.

In response, Montebello closed the park Monday, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife has apparently hired a bounty hunter, of sorts, to track down and kill coyotes in the area. Forensics examiners apparently plan to test the DNA of the four coyotes killed so far to see if it matches with samples taken from wounds in the most recent attacks.

This TV crime show-like response might seem a little over-the-top, but officials are concerned about the unusually aggressive behavior exhibited in the recent attacks. Department of Fish and Wildlife information officer Andrew Hughan tells the Times that "there’s really no explanation for why they bit any of these three people."

Amid the current drought, sightings of coyotes in more urban parts of the city have become more common, as the creatures venture farther distances in search of water.