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Rockland County Woman Awaits Rabies Test Result After Protecting Dog From Coyote Attack

CBS New York (con't)

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ORANGETOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A woman in Rockland County can consider herself her dog’s best friend after taking the brunt of a coyote attack Tuesday morning.

As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported from Orangetown, little Jasmine the dog never saw the predator approach before dawn on Tuesday. But owner Mary Lou Gardner did and placed herself between the advancing coyote and

Gardner became a rare human victim of a coyote attack.

“It bit me on the arm and then it went after her again and so I started kicking it, the coyote,” Gardner told Young. “It just happened so fast and my main concern was her. I just knew that I couldn’t – I didn’t want to let her go because if she ran, the coyote would have followed her.”

Gardner stood her ground and got bitten again on the thigh.

Shouts from neighbors drove the coyote back into the woods, where police officers found it a short time later.

“I just heard a couple of shots,” Orangetown resident Ray Parlet told Young.

Officers killed the coyote as a possible rabies carrier. Tests on the coyote’s brain tissue are expected to be back on Wednesday.

The bite on Gardner’s left thigh broke the skin, which is why the tests are so crucial, Young reported.

But Gardner didn’t want to share images of that wound because she said she doesn’t want people to be afraid of coyotes – cautious, but not afraid.

“I’m fine, my dog’s fine and so I’m OK with it,” Gardner said.

Coyotes are common in the area. The animal in Orangeburg had been around on Monday, Young reported.

“It was almost like a playful dog. They would chase it into the woods and it would come back out. There’s a rope, it was swinging on the rope with its teeth. It just didn’t seem like it was going to attack anybody,” Gardner said.

Even if the animal is found to be rabid, the woman and her dog can be treated.

Health officials are considering the possibility, though, that the coyote was simply a wild animal that had gotten too used to being around humans.

If untreated, rabies is fatal in animals and humans.

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