Sunday, March 17, 2019 Elyria 37°
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Child bitten by suspected coyote at Elyria school playground (UPDATED)

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ELYRIA — Parents and guardians received a call Wednesday from Elyria Schools telling them the school district had received a report that an animal suspected to be a coyote bit a child at Oakwood Elementary School.

School officials were made aware of the situation by a call from a grandparent of a child who was playing at 925 Spruce St. The incident occurred after school hours, and the child was not a student at the school.

“Again, we do not know if this animal was a coyote but the information that was shared with us stated that it was,” the all-call said. “Please take extra caution with children and animals outside.”

Amy Higgins, the district communications director, said the all-call was more of a report of the incident just to make parents aware.

“We just wanted to inform them of the information we had so that they can take care and be vigilant and keep tabs on children and animals in their own yards,” she said.

Higgins said the district has had stray dogs and other wild forest animals, but never a coyote. Neither the child’s identity nor his or her condition were known at this time. The district also reported the incident to the Elyria Police Department.

Elyria Police Capt. Chris Costantino said the incident was reported Wednesday. He said police haven’t had any similar reports recently. He said police have no information on the condition of child, and he would not disclose the identity of the grandmother.

Coyotes are common throughout Ohio’s 88 counties in both rural and urban settings, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website.

If a coyote is found on your property, ODNR suggests you remove all “attractants” such as garbage or pet food to help prevent the coyote from returning. Coyotes usually hunt small mammals like rabbits and mice, so ODNR also suggests keeping small dogs and cats inside or stay with them at night.

If you come face-to-face with a coyote, clapping your hands and shouting should be enough to scare the animal away, the ODNR said. Coyotes are curious but usually fearful of humans. If a coyote stays despite the presence of humans, locate a local animal trapper or call the Division of Wildlife at (800) 945-3543.

Contact Bruce Walton at (440) 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Facebook @BWalton440 or Twitter @BruceWalton.
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