HUNTERSVILLE, NC — A family came face-to-face with a snarling coyote in their Huntersville neighborhood over the weekend, and the rabid animal actually started attacking their car.
John Schroter showed Channel 9 where he and his family were driving when they came upon the coyote, and the animal didn’t run off.
The encounter happened at Ranson Street and Dallas Street, not far from downtown.
In cellphone video recorded from inside the car, you can hear Schroter's children as the coyote circles the car and then turns its attention to the front bumper.
"He took a stance. He was growling, and you could see blood on his chin," Schroter recalled. "He then went silent and started attacking the front bumper."
“I didn’t get too freaked out until I started seeing him growling, because he really wanted to attack us,” Schroter's daughter, Summer, said.
Channel 9 has learned Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Animal Control and Care came out and found the coyote on the side of the road, where it appeared to be injured. They said they were able to catch it with a pole and then tranquilize the coyote.
It was later euthanized before being sent off to be tested for rabies.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control officials said that no human exposures or pet exposures to the rabid coyote have been reported at this time.
Jeff Truitt hunts coyotes across the foothills, using his dogs during some of the hunts. He said the Huntersville coyote was not acting normal.
"Most of the time a coyote sees you, he’s gonna run," Truitt explained. "He doesn’t want anything to do with a human. If a coyote is coming toward you or wants to interact with you, most of the time there is something wrong. That coyote is sick or has rabies."
On Tuesday, officials confirmed that the animal was rabid.
Truitt won last year’s Carolina Coyote Classic when he shot and killed a 42-pound coyote.
"It educates people about coyotes and keeps the population down, as well, and it brings people together," he said.
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission officials said that the hunt this weekend will help thin the population.
"They can actually respond by producing greater litters,” Brad Howard, with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, said. “So, it's a really interesting biological adaptation that they have. If you lower the population, there are more resources available so they increase their litter size."
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