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Coyote bites jogger in Griffith Park

October 8, 2008 |  3:52 pm

A coyote bit a female jogger near the Griffith Park carousel, leading parks officials to repeat their warning that people feeding animals in the area could prompt such attacks.

The 25-year-old woman, who was not identified, was bitten at 8:40 a.m. Tuesday near the merry-go-round, which is on the park's eastern edge near the tennis courts and just south of the golf course, said Jane Kob, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department.

Even though the bite was described as a small puncture wound, a park ranger advised the woman to seek medical treatment.

A report of the incident noted that nearby trash cans had been emptied and there was no food, possibly leading the coyote to act aggressively, Kob said.

"People have continued to feed coyotes and other wildlife despite posted signs," Kob said. "The message is please don't feed them because they expect it and then it becomes a behavioral thing."

Chief Park Ranger Albert Torres said the woman was caught by surprise.

"She didn't notice the coyote, the coyote noticed her," he said

He said coyotes nip at each other when they disagree or there are dominance or survival issues. He said the expectation of food could have prompted such a response.

Coyote attacks are rare but not unprecedented in Griffith Park. In 1995, a 15-month-old girl from Nevada suffered several puncture wounds on her thigh when a coyote attacked in the same area where the jogger was bitten.

That and other coyote attacks in the city led the City Council to overturn a ban on coyote trapping, which was revised to allow trapping as a last resort.

-- Andrew Blankstein

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