When a coyote attacked his family while they were out for a walk this week, a New Hampshire man said he had no choice but to fight back.
Ian O’Reilly was out walking around Judes Pond in Kensington, N.H. on Monday with his wife and three children when a coyote caught his youngest son by the hood and began dragging him down. In an interview with WBZ-TV, O’Reilly described the attack and his quick reaction to save his son.
“There was no running away, it would not allow us to run away,” he said. “It was very much the aggressor.”
O’Reilly said his wife pulled the children away and he faced down the attacking wild canine. He reportedly caught the coyote with a kick to the chin that brought the animal to the ground. He then wrestled with the animal for several minutes and strangled it while his wife called 911.
“In the moment you don’t really pay attention to what’s going on you just try and go with whatever goes through your brain, instincts I suppose,” O’Reilly said, describing the fight.
The dog will reportedly be tested for rabies Tuesday, though O’Reilly said he had already sought rabies shots following the incident.
O’Reilly said the same son that was attacked on Monday had previously been bitten by a rabid raccoon in his family’s backyard last year.
“Ultimately it won’t stop us from going outside,” O’Reilly said.
The coyote attack on his family followed other reports of an aggressive coyote that attacked someone’s car near Hampton Falls, and later attacked a woman and her two dogs nearby.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game are reportedly not ruling out the possibility that the series of attacks involved two different coyotes.
According to the Urban Coyote Research Project, the best ways to avoid confrontation with coyotes include avoiding feeding the animals or letting pets run freely. People are also advised to avoid running from coyotes and instead make noise to scare them off.
The coyote research group also advised calling authorities when particular coyotes do not respond with fear to the sight of humans, as happened in this particular case. Those coyotes who do not exhibit fear of humans tend to also be aggressive.
Coyotes are not typically active during the day and increased sightings of the animals during daytime is another sign the animals have grown dangerously accustomed to interactions with humans.