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Attacks by possibly rabid coyote in Springfield end with police shooting

A coyote (via Ross Sokolovski/Unsplash)

A coyote reportedly bit multiple people in the Springfield area this weekend, including a police officer who shot it.

The Fairfax County Police Department says it received a report around 8 a.m. on Saturday (June 4) of three adults being bitten by a wild coyote in Lake Accotink Park. The animal also bit two dogs, police later confirmed.

Animal protection officers launched a search of the park and coordinated with the Fairfax County Park Authority to clear it and close it to visitors. A police helicopter provided assistance, but the search wrapped up after dusk with no more coyote sightings.

The coyote reportedly resurfaced yesterday morning (Sunday) in the neighborhood along Carrleigh Parkway.

“Community members had seen the animal biting tires, which is indicative of rabid behavior,” FCPD Lt. Dan Spital said in an afternoon press conference.

According to the FCPD, around 12:15 p.m., the coyote bit an officer who was searching woods near the 7900 block of Carrleigh Parkway, just south of Lake Accotink Park.

“The animal snuck up behind the officer, and it did bite him in a lower extremity,” Spital said. “The officer discharged his weapon several times and did kill the coyote.”

Medics responded to the scene and transported the officer to a hospital for treatment. All four of the people who were bitten by the coyote  are expected to make full recoveries, police say.

Lake Accotink Park reopened at 3 p.m. yesterday, according to the park authority.

The coyote will be tested to confirm whether it had been infected with rabies. Results from the Fairfax County Health Department will likely be available tomorrow (Tuesday), the FCPD told FFXnow.

As of early May, Fairfax County had recorded 11 rabies cases this year, nearly all of them among raccoons. There have been reports in Arlington and D.C. of foxes carrying the disease, which affects the nervous system and is typically fatal if it reaches the symptomatic stage.

Photo via Ross Sokolovski/Unsplash

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