A community in Irvine was on the lookout for a coyote that attacked a man and his young child Wednesday, officials said.
The victims, a 31-year-old man and his 3-year-old son, were in a garden in the Portola Springs neighborhood when the coyote approached and attacked them, officials said.
The boy was bitten on his knee and the father was bitten on his buttocks. Both were not seriously injured but they went to a hospital where they were expected to recover.
"I heard my neighbor scream 'coyote' but I thought they were just talking about it," said neighbor Nelson Calimquim. "So, I turned around and the coyote was 10 feet away. He was in the attack-prone position,"
Animal control workers set out traps for the coyote and were following its tracks to prevent the coyote from attacking anyone else.
Area residents have remained on high alert since the reported attack and said coyotes there are becoming increasingly comfortable in their surroundings.
Police have tried hazing the wild animals with paintball guns for more than a month to instill fear, but wildlife experts say it's too late.
"Coyotes are looking for food, and when they are in and around an area where they're getting food, they become habituated. And basically, what that means is they're losing their fear of humans," said Lt. Kent Smirl of the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Resident T.J. O'Donnell said his dog chases coyotes but has yet to catch one.
"I think they more construction that goes up the more we push them out of their area and into our's," he said.
Calimquim said "something needs to be done." He now walks with an umbrella and a horn.
Experts said coyotes are drawn to any source where there is food, including pet food or small animals. They said while trying to change animal behavior, they have to change human behavior as well.