The Riverside County Department of Animal Services is warning those who live near "wilderness areas" to be careful when it comes to leaving out pet food, after recent coyote attacks.
An elderly woman out for her early morning walk near Palm Desert was bitten this Sunday in her gated community of Sun City, according to animal services spokesman John Welsh.
"Shortly afterward, a California Fish & Game warden shot and killed a coyote within the area where the victim had been bitten," said Welsh.
The 69-year-old was taken to Eisenhower Medical Center, but has since been released.
"Ten days earlier, on June 14, a separate bite occurred," Welsh added. "A woman, also 69, was bitten by a coyote while she was gardening."
Federal trappers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture trapped that coyote-- also in the Sun City community-- and put it down.
Both animals were tested for rabies, and both tests came back negative.
Both the department of Animal Services and Fish & Game representatives say that these sorts of attacks are rare, and it's unusual for coyotes to bite humans.
"Coyotes tend to try and avoid contact with people," Welsh said. "However, residents near wilderness areas do often cross paths with so-called urban coyotes that seek easy food and water sources, such as what pet owners leave out for their dogs and cats."
Welsh also said that any lack of winter rain may attribute to increased urban coyote sightings.
"Don't leave pet food in the yard," "If coyotes smell and discover your pets' food bowls, they'll help themselves and be back for more. Instead, feed your dogs and cats inside. Also, keep fallen fruit (like tangerines and grapefruit) off the ground and out of the yard, as it can also attract resourceful predators. Finally, keep a tight lid on your trash cans, and never leave trash bags accessible to four-legged scavengers."