Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials have been hunting for a coyote since two preschoolers were attacked Thursday afternoon at Goose Gossage Park, near Fillmore Street and Mark Dabling Boulevard.
Officers monitored the area through the weekend and will continue until the coyote is located, said Michael Seraphin, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Thursday evening, wildlife officials shot at a coyote in a drainage ditch near Monument Creek with a .22 rifle, but missed it, Seraphin said.
"The coyote will be euthanized and tested for rabies," Seraphin said.
The attacks happened at a playground at 6 p.m. and 6:50 p.m. Thursday, Seraphin said.
In the first incident, a coyote nipped at a 4-year-old's backside, without causing serious injuries. Police and wildlife officials were alerted and they began to look for the animal.
Almost an hour later, a 3-year-old girl was severely injured when a coyote bit her forehead and left a deep gash on the back of her head, Seraphin said. The child was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for wounds on her head and back and got a rabies shot.
Seraphin said the attack was fast and unprovoked. The little girl was attacked an instant after her mother set her down from a slide and turned her back for moment to grab her brother as he came down.
Seraphin said coyote behavior in the city has changed drastically over the years.
"In the last 10 years, I've seen that coyotes in suburban areas aren't afraid of people anymore," Seraphin said. "They're used to us and they've grown confident."
People should try to frighten coyotes whenever they see them, Seraphin said. Making lots of noise, throwing rocks or other objects at them should scare them.
"The most important thing is not to let them get comfortable around people," Seraphin said. "They need to feel threatened so they will stay away."
People can contact wildlife officials at 227-5200 if they spot coyotes or other predators in their neighborhoods.