Coyote linked to 5 separate attacks in Contra Costa County caught, euthanized

LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KGO) -- Lafayette and Moraga residents are feeling a great deal of relief now that The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has caught and euthanized a coyote that had bitten five people since July.

"It's been unnerving looking behind you, looking in bushes. It is a relief that it has been caught," said Bill Hossfeld who was out for a walk Friday morning near where the coyote was caught.

Authorities said they caught him in the open space just off of Paseo del Rio in Moraga. Officials say they conducted a DNA test to make sure they have the right animal. The DNA matched samples taken from the bite victims.

RELATED: Lafayette coyote biting linked by DNA to 4 other attacks in East Bay

Moraga Police were also grateful to hear the news. Moraga officers were actively looking for the animal and responded to every resident who called in.

"We are relieved. It's never a good thing when we have residents who are literally afraid to go out in their yards," said Police Chief Jon King. "There were people who didn't want to take their kids for a walk or out in their backyards for fear that the animal would come through there."

Officials called the coyote unusually aggressive. The animal has attacked five people since July, two of them children. The police chief said in one of those cases the animal seemed to be trying to pull the child away from the mother.

Julia Hossfeld said that was the attack that got her attention and made her start taking this very seriously.

"My girlfriend bought a bunch of us coyote mace and we carried it every day in our pocket once it bit the little girl next door. So yeah go out with your coyote mace every day- but this morning, I didn't," she said now that the coyote has been caught.

But she sympathized with the animal too, including the ones who were caught in the traps that weren't the offenders. The Police Chief says it has been a delicate situation.

"There were a lot of people who thought we should be shooting every coyote that we saw even if it was trotting down a neighborhood street and there were others who didn't want us to harm a hair on one's head. So trying to strike the balance and maintain neighborhood safety was at times a difficult undertaking," Chief King said.

He said they are now working with The California Department of Fish and Wildlife to create a wildlife awareness program for the community for education on co-existing with wild animals.

All the attacks occurred within two miles of one another in a north to south Lafayette/Moraga corridor.
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