Young Girl Attacked By Coyote In Weymouth

By Ken MacLeod, WBZ-TV

WEYMOUTH (CBS) – It was just before noon on sleepy Clarendon Street in South Weymouth.

As she does most every day, a 64-year-old grandmother was pushing a stroller down the street, with her 2-year-old grand daughter walking alongside.

That’s when she noticed the animal out of the corner of her eye.

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports

“The woman sensed something to her back,” says police Lieutenant Thomas Farrell, “and thought it was a dog. But it ended up being a coyote.”

A brazen coyote, that lunged at the little girl.

“Came right at my niece,” says the victim’s aunt, Robin Gallagher. “It knocked her down and bit her in the back of the head. She screamed and her grandmother screamed.”

The family did not want to name the child — or provide a photo.

The bite opened a two-inch gash in the youngster’s head, and the chilling screams from both child and grandma prompted neighbor Elle Ramponi to scrambled from her house.

“When I saw the coyote I just yelled to her ‘Run! Get in here!'” says Ramponi. “I held the door open as the coyote chased them up to the back of my car. That baby was crying and bleeding.”

Grandma left the stroller behind in the street.

You might think all the commotion would scare off the coyote — but it didn’t. As Ramponi called 911 and tended to the child’s head cut, the animal anxiously paced the driveway and backyard for at least a few minutes.

“The coyote was circling the house — almost waiting,” says Gallagher.

“He knew the baby was in here,” adds Ramponi. “He just stood there and looked in that window back at me.”

By the time Weymouth Police, local animal control officers, and Environmental police arrived the coyote was long gone.

In a neighborhood filled with kids, many parents won’t be taking their toddlers out for walks anymore.

“No, I’d be petrified,” says Laura Finamore, holding her 19 month old daughter Janessa. “I don’t know what I’d do.”

Neighbor Denise Hatch believes she spotted the same coyote a week-or-so ago while walking her dogs.

“It looks like a German Shepherd,” says Hatch. “Like a scruffy German Shepherd that nobody takes care of.”

The bitten toddler has already begun shots to ward off rabies — based on the educated guesses of experts who surmise the coyote is rabid.

It took several stitches to close the girl’s head cut, but her family says she’s doing surprisingly well.

“She’s doing great,” says aunt Robin Gallagher standing on the families porch just around the corner from the attack scene. “She’s inside eating her mac and cheese right now. She’s a trooper!”

A trooper who was apparently an animal lover — at least until now.

Her family hopes this attack doesn’t change that.

  • Dan

    House bill, H.3315, “An act valuing our natural resources” could help stop this kind of damage by coyotes. The bill has passed a committee hearing and it is being held up by Senators Rosenberg from Amherst and Jehlen from Somerville. They must be waiting for a 1,000 telephones calls or e-mails to come into their officers before they will act. This 2 year old baby had a close call; are the Senators waiting for another baby to get killed?

  • kerri

    When I first saw this on the news this morning not only was I shocked but i was also frustrated and disappointed with the weymouth public safety. I live in weymouth, with my husband and 4 small children. The street we live on has approximately 25 children mostly between the ages of 1yr and 9yrs old and our street runs along the Mill River. For the past 4 years the residents of sunnyplain have frequently called police and animal control regarding packs of coyote living in the woods, in our back yards. We have expressed much concern that not only do the coyote appear in the day but they are extremely docile when it comes to people. There have been evenings when my now 3 year old has been playing in our yard and a neighbor would drive by letting us know that the coyote is out 3 houses down. We all have spent many summer nights having to bare the horrible summer heat with our windows closed, because the heat was more barable then the devistating sounds of the packs enjoying their evening dinner, some times several times a night.
    What is extremely frustrating and concerning is that when we have contacted weymouth control, ect. and have expressed our extreme concern about the safety of our children and household animals absolutely NOTHING has been done. when i personally contacted them (at least3 times) i have been informed that there is nothing that can be done because the coyote are endagered and when they have formed a pack they are untouchable because a pack means they will be reproducing. I was told that information sheets would be passed out to the homes on my street and that is all that they would do. I even stated, “so we just sit back and wait until one of our small children is attacked or finds the remains of their best friend the cat”. The response; We hope that will not happen. So sheets were sent and oh, how helpful those sheet were, NOT. Common sense would let any adult know that they should never confront a coyote, to keep small animals and children away from them, and to make sure trash is secure.
    Every spring/summer/fall the conversations begin and the “word” of coyote sightings start spreading through the homes. I personally prepare the way the “info” sheets explain but i also have learned to keep a pile of rocks by my back door, i bring a bat with me if taking a walk in the early am or at sundown and i am extremely vigilant with my children, now ages 1,3,8 and 10. Having to be causious, especially to this exteme, is sad especially when one would hope that they neighborhood and own back yard would be a safe place. Granted, any animal should be greeted with caution. But when my now 10 year old,who was 6 when we first started to see the coyote, fears going into our back yard after sundown, even with an adult and i try to remember to close their windows at night to prevent them from hearing these vicious animals, that is a sad reality.
    Needless to say, after hearing the news about the little girl, the words that animal control had stated to me (“We hope that will not Happen”) is horrifing. To know that the only way weymouth will step in, and not hide behind an information sheet, when dealing with vicious animals is when an innocent child is attacked. How dissappointing!!
    I felt it was extemely important to comment on this and let others know that this is not a one time event, and that several complaints have been made. So, PLEASE, remember that when it comes to wild animals in your neighborhood it is you that needs to stay vigilant and keep your children/animals safe becuase until someone gets hurt or killed the best you’ll get from weymouth is an info sheet!

    My prayers are with the little girl who was hurt yesterday. and i hope her recovery is quick and that she will soon forget this life changing experience.

    K. Galvin
    Weymouth resident

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  • dso

    Killing animals is not the answer, nature will revenge that but EDUCATION to your children to warn them, not scare them is… intelligent.

  • Cathy Cloud

    Two adults with rifles on a Saturday morning could take care of the problem…trust me, coyotes are hardly endangered. Come to the southwest…we’ve got plenty.

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