Erie Boy Undergoing Rabies Treatment After Coyote Attack

A 9-year-old boy in Erie is taking a series of rabies shots after he was bitten by a coyote.

It happened last Thursday while Tony Sandlin and his little brother, Vincent, 6, were snowboarding on the golf course behind their house.

The boys said the coyote started circling Tony.

Tony tried to fend it off, but the coyote eventually bit him from behind.

“Vincent saw a coyote up there, but I didn't (at first)," said Tony.

"I wasn't screaming really loud, but I was screaming, ‘Tony! Tony!," said Vincent.

Tony kept his snowboard between himself and the coyote.

"But then (the coyote) stopped and went the other way and bit him," said Vincent.

"I pushed him away and then he started circling again," said Tony.

Tony then got his own lick in with his snowboard. “I whacked him."

The boys then ran home and told their mother, Stacey Sandlin.

“My initial reaction when they said something bit Tony, I was like, ‘Right, a bug,’” said Stacey.

But she eventually realized the seriousness of the bite and rushed Tony to the Children’s Hospital North Campus in Erie.

"I was really worried that this might have been a sick animal just because it's unusual behavior for a coyote to attack a boy Tony’s size," said Stacey.

Tony is now getting rabies shots. "And they inject the wound site, so you already have this very tender, bruised area. And they had to do it any place the skin was broken," said Stacey. “I think it was just as tough for a mother to watch them giving him all those shots.”

The incident has the neighborhood on guard, but not paranoid. "We need to be more conscientious about not going out in the evening," said resident Leslie DeFalco. “We’re used to living with coyotes, but there is one that acts unusual. Every once in a while I would catch a glimpse of a lone coyote just running the fence line and it seemed rather odd.”

Since the attack on Thursday, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has captured and killed at least one coyote in the neighborhood. It’s unclear whether it is the same coyote that attacked Tony. Tony’s mother said he was upset to hear that the DOW put down a coyote, but it was explained to him that the animal may have been sick.

National research shows coyote attacks on humans and pets has increased within the past five years.

That is largely attributed to urban sprawl.

As for Tony, he's got some nasty bruises. But while the coyote may have broken skin, the adventure hasn't broken Tony’s playful spirit.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife encourages anyone who encounters an aggressive coyote to immediately call 303-291-7227. If the incident occurs after business hours, contact the Colorado State Patrol (303) 239-4501.

To learn more about living with coyotes, visit the DOW web page.

The Town of Erie offers additional information on living near coyotes on their web site.

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