An off-duty police officer leaped into action, tackling and throttling a coyote with his hands after it attacked a little girl in a suburban New York park on Sunday.
The coyote raced out of the woods and jumped on a 5-year-old child before the mother kicked it away.
“It was like a cheetah,” the girl’s mother told NBC New York. “I took my foot, and I kicked him as hard as I could in his face, which knocked him to the ground, and he stumbled a little.”
But as it rebounded for another attack, an off-duty Irvington, New York, police officer, the aptly named Arcangelo Liberatore, who was also in the Westchester County park with his family, jumped on the coyote and squeezed its neck.
“I heard screaming, and I’m, like, ‘Oh, no — he got somebody.’ I just ran toward the screaming,” Liberatore told the Westchester Journal News.
“I was ready to get bit,” said the off-duty cop, who said his jujitsu training helped him restrain the animal. “I didn’t want anyone else to get hurt.”
He told NBC: “I had my hands around its neck. I just sat and tried to squeeze the life out of it, but it was pretty resilient.”
Police in Mount Pleasant shot and killed the animal, the newspaper reported.
Libertore and the child were treated at a hospital. Both suffered bites. The girl was given stitches, antibiotics and rabies shots, WBDJ-7 TV reported. Libertore was also given rabies shots.
The coyote will be tested by the Westchester County Department of Health for rabies and any other diseases.
Local officials said such an encounter is unusual, but there had been other reports of attacks by coyotes on humans in Westchester earlier this year.