School Custodian Lures Coyote From the Hole

Elementary school students heard whimpers coming from a drain pipe near their cafeteria

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Wednesday, Feb 16, 2011  |  Updated 5:53 PM PDT
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The muddy coyote surfaced at about 7 a.m., Monday, before students arrived for school.

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Whimpers and other unpleasant sounds could be heard from a hole early Friday near a school in Fountain Valley.

Orange County Animal Control officers responded, but could not determine what type of animal was in the pipe -- until Monday. That's when a school custodian used food to lure the animal -- a coyote -- from the pipe.

Animal control officers tried that last week. Apparently, the coyote wasn't biting.

The pipe extends from a dry creek bed to Northcutt Elementary School. The Register reported that children eating breakfast outside the school cafeteria first heard the sounds coming from the pipe.

Whether it was a cuddly labrador puppy who got lost during an animal adventure with his pet bunny or the mangiest coyote -- the schoolchildren just wanted the distressed animal out. That's compassion.

At about 11a.m., Friday, crews lowered a fiber-optic camera into the pipe to get a view of the creature, but the pipe diverts into several smaller pipes. It was difficult to know where the animal was located within the network of pipes. 

A "confined space inspection" team brought its robot to the scene early Friday afternoon. The waiting game finally ended when the school custodian arrived with the grub.

As the custodian's food offering kept the coyote in one place, animal control officers were able to corral the animal and pull it from the hole. The muddy coyote surfaced at about 7 a.m., Monday, before students arrived for school.

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