A coyote at the scene of Mary Jane Shannon Elementary Monday after a girl was attacked. (Shane MacKichan image)

UPDATE: Coyotes ‘don’t eat people,’ police say after girl stalked in Surrey

Passerby yells at coyote to leave child alone near Mary Jane Shannon Elementary Monday evening

SURREY — A small coyote appeared to stalk and take down a four-year-old girl on the sidewalk in front of Mary Jane Shannon Elementary Monday evening.

Cheryl O’Donnell said she arrived on the scene seconds later, at 144th Street and 108th Avenue at about 6:15 p.m., honking her car horn and screaming. The coyote retreated after several attempts, O’Donnell said.

According to conservation officer service Insp. Murray Smith, this isn’t the first report of a coyote near Mary Jane Shannon Elementary.

“We’ve had multiple reports from the parents in the neighbourhood that they’ve seen this coyote regularly by the school yard,” said Smith. “I’m not sure if the kids have fed it but I’m quite sure someone has.”

Smith said that conservation officers are opting to put down the coyote rather than relocated it because it doesn’t seem scared of people and because it went after a child and not a pet.

“We have a coyote that will associate people with food,” he said. “It’s just not worth the risk.”

Surrey RCMP Corporal Scotty Schumann said police typically don’t attend animal incidents but that “911 seems to be the only phone number that people are familiar with for all types of call. Animal control is one of them. So we do get a lot of calls for variety, dogs, goats, cow, horses, bears and coyotes.”

In this case, Schumann said RCMP attended and consulted with conservation officers.

“We learned quite a bit about coyotes, including they don’t eat people,” added Schumann. “They weren’t concerned about this animal and they weren’t going to attend…. So we just watched the coyote walk back into the forest.”

He said the file is now closed.

Police say the girl “got some scrapes from falling” and emergency officials treated the girl at scene.

Surrey RCMP didn’t have details on the parents’ whereabouts.

Katya Slepian and Amy Reid