British girl, 3, mauled by coyote leaving ear hanging off during family holiday
A three-year-old British girl was mauled by a coyote in an attack that left her ear hanging off, her family said.
Elodie Lewis was on holiday with her older sister, mum Megan, dad Michael and her grandma when the animal injured her last month.
They were watching the sunset on the remote North Herring Cove Beach near Provincetown, Massachusetts, when the coyote appeared suddenly.
Megan, from South Morden, London, said Elodie screamed and then they saw an animal that looked like “a massive dog” near her.
She told MyLondon : “I’ve been going there since I was young and I’ve been taking my kids there since they were babies.
“We decided to stay out and watch the stars as the sun was fading, lying on a blanket looking up.
“Elodie was few feet away and suddenly we heard her scream, look over and it looked like a massive dog.”
Because it was dark, initially the family did not think Elodie was injured and everyone was convinced the animal was a dog that had got off his lead.
But as they headed towards their car, the animal kept following them.
When she saw it was a coyote, Megan was “terrified” as the animal did not move away.
Megan explained: “Michael ran back to the car and as I walked after them I saw it following us. Then I saw it was a coyote.
“I was terrified. As soon as I realised I didn’t’ know what to do. My natural instinct was to scream at it.
‘It was staring at me in the eyes. I was worried for myself, for my mum’s safety.
“It stalked us back to the car. It had no fear of us. It was less than two feet away from me.”
Only when they entered the car, the family understood Elodie had been attacked.
The mum said: “I put the light on Elodie’s face and there was blood everywhere.
“There was no cell service so we had to drive up the road. I ripped off my sweatshirt and was compressing her wounds.
“Her ear was basically hanging off. It was completely mutilated and she had cuts on her face and her neck.”
Eventually, they managed to contact an ambulance, but the nearest hospital was an hour’s drive from the remote beach.
Once in hospital, doctors gave Elodie three doses of ketamine to help with the pain while a plastic surgeon tended to her wounds.
Though thankful for the care the family got, healthcare in the United States can leave patients with a hefty bill.
Megan explained: “At hospital before they even gave her pain killers they came to get our travel insurance details. Sat us down to make sure we could pay.
“Our insurance might not even be able to cover it. But I was told it’s going to be held against us that we didn’t call them before any medical procedures took place.
“Even if we could have called them I was focused on my daughter – if she was going to be okay, if she had rabies.
“Calling them would have been the last thing I‘d have thought of.”
Because of this, the family are worried they could be stuck with a medical bill of around $35,000 (£25,200).
The concerned mum said: “I’m worried we’ll have to re-mortgage our home, it’s more than our life savings.
“There’s no way we’ll be able to pay it.”
A desperate Megan, now with Elodie safely back in the UK, has launched a fundraiser asking well-wishers to help with the medical costs.
The mum said Elodie is now recovering, as she explained: “Her injuries have healed so beautifully. I think part of that is that there was a plastic surgeon on call. She’ll have a scar on the back of her neck but her face should recover.
“He managed to fix her ear, put the four pieces back together.
“I’m not sure she can really understand what happened. She was so outgoing and now I have to pry her off me when I drop her at nursery.
“She’s more afraid of the dark.”
Megan is also calling on National Seashore, the government body overseeing the area where the attack took place, to step up and better protect visitors.
She said: “Within the last five years there have been coyotes in the area, but it’s become a problem in the last few years.
“In July a woman was cornered by a coyote and had to get rescued by boats. The rangers told me it was the exact same coyote.
“A woman was bitten there in May 2020, she and I have been speaking.
“They know there was a coyote problem but there was no signage or anything.
“After Elodie’s attack they had put signs all over the beach warning people of the coyotes.
“They need bleed kits and SOS phones. It’s imperative they do. If this had to happen to my child, I want something positive to come from it.”
After the attack, park rangers at the beach shot and killed the coyote that attacked Elodie.