An off-duty police officer is being hailed a hero after he jumped on a rabid coyote and strangled it as the animal attacked a girl on a New York playground.
The little girl was bit on the arm and needed to be stitched up, received antibiotics as well as rabies shots.
NBC New York reports that five-year-old Natalia Petrellese’s mother, Kasey King-Petrellese, says she took her daughter and 3-year-old son to James M. Carroll Park in Westchester around 4 p.m. It wasn’t much later that a coyote, out of nowhere, charged at little Natalia full speed.
“My daughter’s hair got caught on my button and she said, ‘Oh, Mommy’ and stopped — and that’s when the coyote came at us an angle and lunged up,” said King-Petrellese.
The animal gained on them as they ran for their car, first attacking the boy.
“I’m telling you it was like a cheetah,” she said. “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. When he got up he swung over to my daughter’s side and bit her arm.”
Luckily, off-duty Irvington police Officer Arcangelo Liberatore spotted the coyote lurking nearby. He and his wife were helping their own children into their car when they heard screaming and went back to help, according to the Journal News.
Liberatore jumped on the coyote, clutched its neck and slammed its head on the ground.
“I just sat and tried to squeeze the life out of it,” Liberatore told NBC New York. “But it was pretty resilient.”
“I was ready to get bit at any point. I just held onto that thing for dear life. I didn’t want anyone else to get hurt,” he said. “I just couldn’t let that happen.”
Mount Pleasant police shot and killed the animal and its remains were sent to the Westchester County Health Department for testing.
King-Petrellese, her two children, and Liberatore all received rabies shots at a hospital, according to NBC New York.
The county health department says coyote sightings may be common, but unless they have rabies, it’s very unlikely for them to interact with humans.
Thank God for this hero being at the right place at the right time!
We wish them all the best!
H/T Fox News