5-year-old on coyote encounter: 'I only feeled his teeth'

NEAR MANZANITA, Ore. - A young girl was injured during a brush with a coyote at Nehalem Bay State Park, the first ever recorded incident of its kind in Oregon.

Park spokesman Chris Havel said 5-year-old Sadie Couch of Oregon City was with her family in the park Thursday evening when they came across the wild animal.

We talked to the Couch family on Saturday and they told us they were on their way back from the beach when the incident happened. They said Sadie was dragging a stick when a coyote came up from behind and tried to grab it.

"And she started screaming and it backed off a little bit and then it just lunged at her," said Danielle Couch, the girl's mother. "And it actually nipped her around her rib cage a little bit and it nipped at her feet too. And it did break the skin on her back."

"I only feeled his teeth," Sadie said. And when asked if it hurt, she said "a little bit."

The girl's father chased off the coyote, which at first did not want to flee. Sadie was then taken to a hospital where she was treated and released.

Danielle Couch said her daughter did nothing to provoke the coyote. She feels fortunate that her child wasn't seriously injured. And just to be safe, Sadie has already had the first in a series of rabies shots that she'll be getting.

Havel said this incident is so rare there is no record of a similar thing ever happening in an Oregon state park. Federal wildlife officials were in the park on Friday morning figuring out a way to trap coyotes in the area. They aren't sure how many live there.

Parks officials also posted warnings asking visitors to be aware of their surroundings when walking on the beach or dunes in the evening or after dark and, of course, not to leave food out.

"We have noticed our wildlife becoming more comfortable around us lately and that can only happen when people start to feed them," the notice said. "Please do not feed the animals."