SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.- A 5-year-old girl is recovering after being bitten by a coyote at Thompson Peak Park Tuesday evening.
"The family was playing in the playground, the little girl sat down on the slide and there was a coyote underneath. I think they both surprised each other and the coyote nipped her on the thigh," said Amy Burnett, Public Information Officer for Arizona Game and Fish.
The little girl was taken to the hospital to be treated for puncture wounds and was released. She will be going through a course of rabies shots as a precaution.
"When there's an interaction between a human and wildlife involving a scratch or a bite, it's considered a category one and those animals need to be lethally removed," Burnett said.
Two coyotes have already been removed from the area surrounding Thompson Peak Park in Scottsdale, and another was euthanized after it was found in the area Wednesday. Coyotes have been known to get too close for comfort at this park.
"Two or three coyotes have been seen hanging around this park and it should never be normal for us to see a coyote that doesn't run from people," Burnett said.
There's usually one reason why they are so comfortable around humans: feeding.
"When incidents like this happen, we know that most likely someone in the area was feeding. These animals are getting too used to people and we need to be vigilant," Burnett said.
So, what do you do if you come across a coyote?
"You need to scare them off when you see them," Burnett said. "Make yourself big, scream and yell. Don't stand there, tip toeing around them taking selfies, these are wild animals and we need to keep them wild."
According to Burnett, there's only certain situations when you need to call Arizona Game and Fish: If you see a coyote or bobcat acting aggressive, snarling or growling. She said if you see a coyote in your backyard, that's normal coyote activity and that they are looking for prey.
She added, as long as people are feeding them, we will continue to have wildlife come too close to us.