SNOQUALMIE, Wash. -- Families in a Washington state community have noticed an uptick in coyote sightings lately.
Within a 24-hour span, Snoqualmie received seven reports of coyotes in the area -- including an attack on a 3-year-old girl while she was on her porch, according to KCPQ.
Douglas Lucas said his daughter was attacked by a coyote who came up to the front porch of their home and pounced on the child on Thursday.
“It bite me,” 3-year-old Sophia said about her encounter with a coyote.
The girl was outside with her father on the front porch of their home. Lucas was on the ladder hanging Christmas lights when the coyote came up to the house.
“Six or 5:30,” remembers Lucas, who said it was right after dark that the coyote approached. “Coyote was walking in the street."
He said within seconds the coyote pounced on Sophia, making her fall from the impact.
“The coyote came from behind, knocked Sophia, she landed on her mouth, Douglas chases him off. Ripped through her jacket and scratched her,” grandmother Susan Chavez said.
The scratches are still visible on the child’s arm. Her favorite purple winter coat, shredded by the coyote, might have saved her from a more severe injury.
"It was traumatic, it’s a scary situation,” Chavez said.
Snoqualmie officials said they’ve been hearing about coyote sightings a lot lately.
“We’ve had about seven reports of coyote sightings in the last 24 hours, many more in the past week,” said Joan Pliego, the public information officer for the city.
"We do see bear regularly, cougar once in a while, coyote, foxes, that type of thing.”
Wildlife sightings at the Snoqualmie Ridge isn’t new, but she urges residents to report coyote sightings.
"This area, Swenson Park, Deer Park has been known to have the most coyote,” Pliego said.
She said most of them have been reported in the early-morning hours or dusk.
“The coyote, it’s not in its natural state, it’s sick or hurt, something’s wrong,” Chavez said.
She said the children have become fearful of going outside since the attack, but says there’s nothing they could’ve done to have prevented it.
Sophia remembers the day as scary but said, “daddy saved my life.”
Snoqualmie officials suggest people keep trash cans inside their garage until pick-up day. They say the smell of food is the main thing that lures animals to homes.