A 37-year-old mother who was attacked by a coyote while with her toddler son and 18-month-old daughter in a Fairfield park described the harrowing experience during a press conference Friday.
Her "maternal instinct kicked in" during the attack , said Tatiana, a nurse who declined to give her full name.
The woman met with reporters at the Fairfield Recreation Complex, not far from where the coyote attacked her and her son the night before.
"Eric is our little hero," she said, as the toddler played with microphones from local news networks at the press event -- seemingly unfazed.
The toddler cried once in the ambulance but otherwise, put the incident in the past, his mother said.
"My motherly instincts kicked in," Tatiana said. "It could have been a lot worse."
Tatiana had her 3-year-old son Eric and her 18-month old daughter Maya in a double stroller and was walking along a path between the tennis courts and the park around 7 p.m. when she encountered the coyote.
At first she though it would run right past her.
Instead, the animal lunged at her, causing her to lose her footing and fall to the ground. The coyote bit the woman on the rear end and backs of her legs, then bit Eric on the right leg when his stroller toppled over.
Two bystanders approached as the mother tried to flee from the coyote, which lunged at the woman again.
The coyote then hopped in the stroller and tried to attack Maya.
Tatiana and her son were treated at the hospital for bite injuries to their legs. Eric needed seven shots and is facing another three rounds of shots, she said.
A Fairfield police officer armed with a rifle shot and killed the coyote around 8:35 p.m. The animal is being tested for rabies, police said.
Fairfield Police Chief Anthony Manna intends on pushing for remote buttons for park pedestrians that will alert police in future instances like this.
He also recommends people carry airhorns for bear and coyote, and that they walk in pairs -- not alone.
“We also want you to be aware of your surroundings," he said. "Walking plainly without taking a look around is not a good idea”
Scheduled events at the facility have not been canceled but police officers will be stationed there to protect the public, officials said.
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