Coyote attacks a resident in Walton County over the weekend

Shawn Morris, the director of Walton County Animal Control confirmed that a coyote attacked a resident on Smokerise Drive in the Monroe area of Walton County, Ga. on Saturday.

“The victim was taken to St. Mary’s by ambulance where she was treated and released the same day. The coyote was unable to be located and the victim has started her rabies post-exposure shots,” Morris said.

According to the incident report from Walton County Animal Control, authorities responded to a report of an animal bite at about 8 p.m. on Saturday night. The woman had been bitten on her leg leaving three puncture wounds. The coyote reportedly came up behind her from the woods while she was working in the garden. She was able to knock the animal off of her with a garden tool she had with her at the time, causing it to run back into the woods. It has not been captured or killed at this time.

Morris reported that Walton County Animal Control does not have the proper equipment to trap coyotes and he was advised by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources that they are unable to set traps in the neighborhood due to safety issues. The DNR said the coyotes are considered a nuisance animal and there is open season to hunt them. However, if an animal is shot or trapped, at this time there is no way of knowing if it was, in fact, the coyote that attacked the victim. Consequently, she has started rabies treatment.

Walton County Commissioner Kirkland Dixton had seen a coyote in the neighborhood earlier in the day and had taken a photograph and shared a warning on social media. He contacted the authorities following the attack.

“I contacted Animal Control and they are investigating and also involving the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources,” Dixon said.
It is not known if the coyote that attacked the woman working in the garden is the same one that he saw and photographed. In a fact sheet on Coyotes put out by the GDNR, it noted that a coyote “displaying abnormal behavior and appearing fearless of humans is uncharacteristic and may mean the animal is injured or has fallen victim to a disease, such as rabies, parvovirus or distemper. In this case, it is in the coyote’s and human’s best interest to euthanize the animal to prevent any further spread of the disease and relieve the suffering of the infected animal.”
Since this animal has still not been located, neighbors in the area are urged to be alert. The GDNR suggested that a private trapper be contacted to come out and take care of the coyotes.
Recently a couple in downtown Monroe was attacked by a rabid fox. In that instance, the fox was killed at the time of the attack and it was able to be verified as rabid.

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