National News

Oct 17, 2013 5:57 PM by NBC News

Man survives coyote attack

(KUSA) A Colorado man is recovering from what state wildlife workers say was a very rare coyote attack.

Andrew Dickhage was walking to a bus stop early Monday morning in Niwot when he was attacked.

"I heard like a small ruffle in the brush," Dickhage said.

He shrugged off the sound, but the usual path would unveil the unexpected.

Coyotes, a family of them, were on Dickehage in an instant. He had a flash light, but before he knew it, "I looked down and it had a hold of my hand, and it wouldn't let go," he said.

In a haze, the 22-year-old battled the wild animals. One after another they lunged.

"As soon as they were on the ground, they were up on their feet and ready to go at me again," Dickehage said. "They were going for my face. That's all they were doing."

Jennifer Churchill, with the state parks and wildlife, says the behavior is alarming. Coyotes normally don't approach adults. The attack shows an unsettling comfort level.

"This is very rare. This is a very rare event," Churchill said.

"When we have adult animals teaching that type of aggressive behavior, that's a really dangerous thing," she said.

When the encounter finally stopped Dickhage found himself 70 yards down the road from where it started.

"It felt like it wasn't going to end. I started thinking about my son," Dickhage said. "I thought to myself, 'I don't want to lose my son, and I don't want him to lose me.'"

Dickehage was given nine shots, some for rabies, as a precaution. The majority of his injuries were cuts and scrapes.

Officials believe they captured two of the coyotes involved in the attack. They were both put down. Tests are being done on those animals.



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