A coyote mauled a 4-year-old girl who was playing in the snow Monday near a ski resort where she was on vacation with her family.
The girl, Lauren Bridges, was treated at a hospital for deep cuts to her face and was reported in stable condition.
She was saved by her father, who heard the girl’s screams.
“The coyote was on top of her, ripping at her neck,” Steve Bridges said. “I grabbed the coyote by the back of the neck and pulled it off. She was covered in blood.”
Bridges said he hit the 40-pound coyote several times. A police officer arrived minutes later and killed the coyote.
The attacked occurred outside a rental home near the Heavenly Ski Resort where the Carmichael, Calif., family was spending the holiday weekend. Bridges said he believed the girl’s bundled clothing prevented further injures.
Coyotes are common in the area, although attacks on humans are rare, authorities said.
“We’ve never heard of coyotes attacking people,” said Tom Millham of the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. “I’m sure there’s an explanation, but what it is, I can’t answer it.”