Search called off for coyote that attacked 91-year-old Laguna Beach man

In an undated photograph, a coyote peers from brush while foraging at the water’s edge at Newport’s Back Bay.
(File photo)

The search for an adult female coyote that attacked a 91-year-old Laguna Beach man early Friday morning has ended to no avail.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Capt. Patrick Foy said Wednesday afternoon that operations to capture the offending animal ended Tuesday after two days of decreased coyote activity. Two adult male coyotes had previously been captured and euthanized, but neither matched the DNA collected from the victim.

Foy said traps were set out the day of the attack on Friday, but state officials decided to cease operations because the chances of capturing the offending animal diminish as time goes on.

The incident occurred near Oak Street and Temple Terrace at approximately 7:45 a.m. after the victim bent down to pick up a newspaper in his driveway. The coyote approached from behind the victim and bit him on both legs.

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The victim sustained two puncture wounds on each calf and was subsequently transported to Mission Hospital for treatment. He was released that same day, said Jim Beres, whose department oversees animal control in Laguna Beach.


“The man who was attacked is going to be OK,” Foy said.

The resident was alone, and no other people or pets were present. The severity of the unprovoked attack called for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to respond, Beres said.

The attack prompted city officials to remind Laguna Beach residents to be vigilant and to keep pets inside during evenings unless the owner is next to the pet.

“Like most communities located in semirural areas, Laguna Beach has active coyote populations. Due to the brushy canyon areas and natural ‘den’ type rock formations, our hillsides provide an attractive environment for coyotes and other animals,” a news release said. “However, coyotes do not require open space to survive, and have successfully adapted to living in close proximity to humans.”

Foy said coyote attacks are rare, but officials have responded to other reports in recent months, including a January mountain lion attack in Lake Forest and, more recently, another coyote attack in Alameda County on April 1.

Beres said the suspect female coyote may still be out in the neighborhood and Laguna Beach Animal Services personnel were continuing to monitor the area.

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