Watch: Fearless Father Runs Towards Danger After 2-Year-Old Starts Screaming - Drives Off Vicious Animal
There’s nothing like danger to a child that can cause a parent to go into mama bear mode, or in this case, papa bear mode.
And nothing made that clearer than an incident Friday, on what was shaping up to be a typical day for the Eliyahuo family at their suburban Woodland Hills home in Southern California.
According to KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, Shira and Ariel Eliyahuo said they had just arrived home after picking up their 2-year-old daughter, Ariya, from preschool. They were completely unaware that they were being watched closely by a vicious intruder.
Ariel Eliyahuo shut off the engine of the family’s SUV and took his daughter out of her car seat.
He set her carefully on the ground and went around to the passenger side of the vehicle.
A security video shows where he is in the process of collecting a few belonging from the SUV when a coyote dashed into the scene and across the sidewalk toward the tiny girl.
“For a second, he [Ariel] just turned inside the car and he just heard her screaming and he didn’t see the coyote, he thought she fell,” Shira Eliyahuo told KTLA. “So he ran over and he saw the coyote.”
The toddler appeared to be headed toward the house when the coyote lunged at her and chomped down on her legs.
Then the animal began dragging the girl off face down as she screamed for help.
Her dad raced toward her screams and began shouting at the coyote to scare it off.
“I heard Ariya scream. I thought she fell down,” Ariel Eliyahuo told CNN. “I ran immediately to see what was going on and I saw the coyote attack her. I picked her up in my arms and tried to make the coyote go away.”
After the coyote put a bit of distance between them, it stopped and stared at the father as he scooped up his daughter.
He managed to find something to throw at the coyote to send it hightailing across the street and out of the range of the video.
The couple rushed their daughter to the hospital.
“She has a lot of scratches on her left leg and one of them is really deep,” Shira Eliyahuo told KTLA. “We had to go to the ER. We had to get her rabies shots. The coyote just kind of dragged her so her face is also a little bit bruised.”
Ariel Eliyahuo said Ariya will be OK, but that Ariya and his other child were terrified by the experience.
“We don’t live in a zoo, we live in Los Angeles,” he told CNN. “Now I’m really, really, really afraid to let the kids go out, even in the backyard, by themselves.”
There were also some coyote sightings in the area on Saturday.
Authorities say they are taking steps to track down and capture the coyote. Once captured, it will be euthanized and tested for rabies.
Coyotes have become a growing problem for parts of California, bringing about a great deal of damage.
Residents must have written permission from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in order to relocate coyotes, according to the County of Los Angeles Animal Care and Control.