A toddler was bitten by a coyote in Anthem this week, police said Tuesday, bringing the number of attacks on neighborhood children this year to three.
The most recent incident happened around 7:30 p.m. Monday in a section of Anthem just east of the community center, according to Broomfield police. A family was in their yard, which backs up to open space, when a coyote came through a split-beam fence and bit a 3-year-old girl on the knee, police said.
The girl screamed, and the coyote ran away. The child was treated for minor injuries at an urgent care center.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said officers are searching for the animal responsible for the attack, and it will be killed if found.
Two other children have been bitten by coyotes this summer in Anthem — one in July and one in August — prompting officers to kill nine animals.
The latest attack led city and state officials to host an impromptu public information meeting at Anthem’s community center Tuesday night that drew nine residents.
Larry Rogstad, an area wildlife manager for Parks and Wildlife, said three coyote attacks in one area over a two-month period is extremely unusual and demonstrates a pattern of aggressive behavior. He said Anthem is an ideal habitat for coyotes because there are extensive trails and a large population of cottontail rabbits for them to eat.
Outside of Broomfield, there have been no reported cases in northeastern Colorado this summer of coyotes biting humans, according to Churchill.
Rogstad said officials and residents must take an aggressive, long-term approach to deterring coyotes.
“Following up and trying to (kill) dangerous coyotes is just one prong to the solution,” Rogstad said. “We need buy-in from the community in working proactively to discourage coyotes from becoming habituated to people, so hopefully they’ll be less comfortable in the Anthem subdivision.”
Officials on Tuesday night proposed a coyote watch program similar to a neighborhood crime watch. The group would not only alert neighbors when a coyote is in an area, but also engage in hazing practices — such as walking trails in groups, making loud noises — to scare coyotes away from populated areas.