Rabies alert issued after coyote attacks 3

Guests at a resort in Florida say they have been seeing more coyotes lately.  One, about the size of an adult German shepherd, began attacking people recently.

A leisurely walk for one man turned wild, as he kicked away a coyote at the Emerald Island Resort in Kissimmee.  It happened Saturday afternoon.  That man got away unharmed, but two others were not as fortunate.

“This coyote just jumped on me and latched on to the back of my leg, and I couldn't get it off. I just kept punching it, and then my husband and brother-in-law came out,” explained Robin O'Donnell.  “I squeezed it around the neck and held on. It was still another 30 seconds, before it lightened up its jaws and let go.”

O'Donnell's husband, Tom, said they used a rubber mallet to fight it off, then sat on the coyote and secured it with rope.

“We roped it up and were able to put it in a cage,” he said.

O'Donnell said she suffered six puncture wounds, as well as a big bruise to her leg.

“It's black and blue from one side. I can't believe how big it is -- from one side of my thigh all the way around to the other side. We really didn't want to hurt it but knew, because of how vicious the attack was, kind of knew he had rabies.”

Earlier that afternoon, another neighbor was also attacked, officials said.  The residents at the resort blame the presence of coyotes on nearby development.

The director of Osceola Animal Services director confirmed that the rabid coyote was involved in all three incidents later died. No other rabid animals have been found, but authorities are canvassing the neighborhood, warning residents to be on the lookout.

“There' a lot of elderly people around. I see kids playing next door in the back yard,” Tom said, expressing concern for guests.

“I was minding my own business," Robin explained.  "It wasn't a defensive attack. It just lurched at me.”

While she said she can handle the physical pain, there's something she can't deal with.

“The thing that's disturbing is, now I'm terrified to go outside.”

Animal Services is warning people to keep their pets inside and make sure they are vaccinated. If you see a rabid animal, call authorities immediately.