Heartbreaking footage shows the moment a quick-thinking Israeli man sprang into action to save his two-year-old daughter before she was dragged outside their Los Angeles home by a coyote.
The clip was captured on Friday by cameras stationed outside the Eliyahuo family’s Woodland Hills residence and shows the toddler being pulled across the family’s front yard by the animal before being chased away.
It begins with the child’s father – and eventual savior – Ariel Eliyahuo, parking his car in front of the house before taking his infant daughter with him.
The girl then begins to stray a few feet from her father, onto a path in front of the house, while Ariel continues to unload the car. The dutiful father told reporters that he had just picked up his daughter from her kindergarten and picked up her toys.
In the few seconds that Ariel is focused on grabbing the toddler’s toy, the opportunistic animal makes his move – he quickly runs towards his unsuspecting daughter.
The coyote may then leap at the child, knocking her against the curb before grabbing her with its teeth. The animal bites the toddler several times before dragging her across the sidewalk.
At this point, as the girl was screaming and wailing in pain, Ariel sees the alarming scene and quickly rushes to her aid. After freeing his daughter from the animal’s grasp – and throwing a bottle of water at it – the coyote quickly retreats and eventually flees.
The girl was then rushed to the emergency room after suffering non-life-threatening injuries, the family said — including a deep cut on her leg.
The clip was captured Friday by cameras stationed outside the Eliyahuo family’s residence in Woodland Hills
It shows the toddler being pulled across the family’s front yard by the animal before being chased away by her father
“She has a lot of scratches on her left leg and one of them is very deep,” the girl’s mother, Shira Eliyahuo, told local outlet KTLA shortly after the attack.
“The coyote just kind of dragged her along,” the mother added, revealing that the toddler also suffered bruises on her face after falling onto the concrete.
“I saw her pants covered in blood. So I took them off and exposed all the scratches on her legs.”
At first, the family said, the father thought the girl had fallen to the ground, not noticing the coyote, which is common in LA but rarely attacks humans because of its small stature.
“He didn’t see the coyote, he thought she fell,” Shira said. “So he ran over and that’s when he saw the coyote.”
Ariel – an Israeli national who swears in Hebrew in the dramatic images – recalled the horror he felt when he saw his daughter in the animal’s clutches.
“I heard the screaming and the crying, and I thought she had fallen. Then I saw the coyote there.” The next few seconds would be a blur, but luckily I saw the coyote slide away.
However, that wouldn’t be the last time the family caught a glimpse of the beast, which proved frighteningly persistent in its stalking of the family, reappearing at the house as news crews began arriving later in the day.
Ariel and another man from the neighborhood quickly chased the animal away – but not before it stopped to pose for video crews stationed outside the house.
The Eliyahuoes — who are both from the Middle East but live full-time in affluent Nabe near Santa Monica — told reporters they are not only tired of the presence of coyotes in their neighborhood, but also of their constant howling.
A search for the coyote, conducted by the California Wildlife Information Department, is currently underway, officials said, who hope to match the animal to DNA left with the bite on the toddler.
Police department captain Patrick Foy warned the resident over the weekend that coyotes are “a big problem in this area” and that his team has “received reports of them going after pets as well.”
Coyotes, due to their small size, are rarely known to attack mature adults, with children and animals being their most common victims. Most attacks involve children under the age of five – although they are still exceedingly rare.
Meanwhile, the Eliyahuoes told KTLA they want to prevent an attack like this from affecting another child in the future, and said they hope the city will get involved by trapping and removing the coyotes from their community – which has seen seven coyote attacks this year. years – all with pets or children.
Officials warn that if coyotes are a problem in your area, build a taller fence around your property and avoid feeding the animals so they don’t associate humans with food.
Only two attacks by coyotes in history have proved fatal to humans – including one in LA 1981 that eerily echoed the ordeal of the Eliyahuoes, and the only deadly attack in the US.
Also in Los Angeles, it emerged that a 3-year-old girl was attacked and killed by a coyote while playing unattended in her front yard.
Another came in Canada in 2009 and saw 19-year-old singer-songwriter Taylor Mitchell murdered.