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'I heard screaming': Teen helps save child from coyote attack in Winnipeg

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A Winnipeg teenager’s brave actions are being applauded after he helped save a child from a coyote attack.

Logan Funk heard a commotion outside his family’s home in North Kildonan, on Saturday evening at around 6:50 p.m.

“I heard screaming and I ran out my door and I saw a 9-year-old boy was bit on the back of the head,” Funk told CTV News on Monday.

The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) said a 15-year-old girl and her 9-year-old brother were walking near the corner of Popko Crescent and Knowles Avenue when they noticed a coyote.

They tried to run away, but the coyote started chasing them and mauled the 9-year-old boy who was left multiple injuries.

“In the two minutes after, it was still on that lawn and it was staring at us,” Funk recounted. “It seemed like it wanted possibly more. And then I grabbed a shovel and scared it off.”

After the coyote left, Funk, along with the help of other bystanders, helped the injured child before emergency services arrived.

The boy was taken to hospital in stable condition.

“I felt really scared for the boy,” Funk said. “Most people could defend themselves against a coyote, but not somebody like a little kid.”

Funk’s mother, Suzy Gerbrandt, said she was impressed by her son’s heroic efforts.

“I’m really proud of him,” Gerbrandt said. “Just watching him run into action… I saw him instinctually run without fear.”

Funk said he’s cautious of the hero tag.

“I don’t know I think of it like that. I think I just saved a little kid on Saturday. I think I did mostly the right thing.”

Gerbrandt said coyote sightings are common in the River East neighbourhood.

“We’ve been living among coyotes and we just didn’t ever think this would happen,” Gerbrandt told CTV News.

Manitoba Conservation officers, along WPS members, were investigating in the area on Sunday. A coyote was spotted by CTV News, though it is unconfirmed if it was the same animal from the incident.

Barret Miller, from the environmental and recreation centre FortWhyte Alive, told CTV News these types of attacks are extremely rare.

“This really stands out,” Miller said. “Even across Canada, there have not been an awful lot of this kind of thing in the last 20 or so years.”

However, Miller said, it is important to maintain an appropriate distance from coyotes and other wildlife, and to be prepared if the animal comes towards you.

“If that animal approaches, or makes you uncomfortable – make yourself large and loud and in charge,” Miller explained. “And then back way. Get out of that situation and allow the animal lots of space to go.”

It’s a practice known as hazing. The Winnipeg Police Service added people can raise jacket or another piece of clothing above their head to appear larger. A safety whistle is another option for creating noise.

Miller said if the animal becomes a threat, the best action is to strike it hard in the nose.

On Monday afternoon, a Manitoba Conservation spokesperson told CTV News the coyote has been tracked to an area of dense bush.

“Once it is located and destroyed, it will be tested for rabies. Officers are committed to ensuring public safety while also educating residents how to coexist safely with coyotes,” the spokesperson said in an email. “Coyote interactions are uncommon, and, by all accounts, this is the first attack of this nature to be reported in Manitoba. Coyotes are generally timid around humans unless provoked or defending a den.”

Manitoba Conservation said there have been about 15 reports to the conservation officer service in June. Most were sightings, although there was also a report of a dog attack last month. 

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