The coyote attacked the young girl on Thursday night in an area north of the pier on Huntington Beach, police said in a statement on Friday.
The child, who has not been named, was found by responding officers with “serious but non-life threatening injuries” at about 9.45pm, the Huntington Beach Police Department said.
A video shared on social media, which was obtained by Fox 11, meanwhile showed the moment a coyote approached the young girl and attacked her, causing her to fall to the ground.
A nearby adult turned around and immedteily came to the young girl’s aid, causing the animal to flee the beach. Another adult and child appeared to be at the scene at the time.
Police said two coyotes have since been killed in the search for the animal responsible for the attack, both of which were “believed to have potentially been responsible for the bite”.
One coyote was shot in the area of Goldenwest and Pacific Coast Highway on Friday morning and a second was captured in the area of Atlanta and Huntington and later killed. Both are being sent for autopsies.
“The carcass will be sent to a laboratory in Sacramento where wildlife forensics scientists will work on it Saturday and attempt to compare the samples of DNA from either of the carcasses to that of the samples taken from the victim’s bite wounds,” said the California Fish and Wildlife Officers (CDFW) of the second animal in a statement.
“Both will also be tested for rabies, which is done post-mortem which usually takes a few extra days,” the department added. “CDFW is making no further effort to locate coyotes associated with the attack.”
Garie Joncon, a witness, told ABC 7 he spotted the coyote before it went to attack the child and “all of a sudden it went in by this family and there was a kid on the ground, and then like five minutes later, we walked back, whole crowd around the baby. The baby evidently got like bit.”
Local residents told the station coyote sightings are not rare, and Huntington Beach police have called on members of the public to report any further sightings.