Coyote attacks 9-year-old girl in Davie County; ‘I am so happy that it did not get my eye’

ADVANCE, N.C. -- A 9-year-old girl is recovering after a coyote attacked her outside her home in Davie County.

The animal got away, and her family says coyotes are an ongoing and dangerous problem in the community.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission says coyote attacks on people are very rare and it's uncommon for them to contract rabies.

But this one attacked 9-year-old Madilyn Fowler unprovoked and her family didn't want to take any chances.

Madilyn loves living in the country in her Advance home. There's room to run and play with the dogs, but it comes with risks too.

“I had to get five rabies shots. I have to get four more on Sunday," she said.

A coyote, as big as the family's black lab, attacked Madilyn outsider her home Thursday around 6:30 p.m.

“I turned around the corner," she said. "I saw the coyote at my mom’s car and I had to run back. It was pulling my skirt. It was pulling my pants.”

Madilyn's mom April saw the attack from near the side of the house. She ran to her daughter and did the only thing she could think of.

"She whacked him on the butt!” Madilyn recalled.

April got Madilyn inside while the coyote got away.

April called her neighbors to warn them. She says one of them shot the coyote with a BB gun, but it escaped into the woods.

Madilyn has some serious bruises.

“I have a couple scratches on my back and my leg and my face," she said.

She didn't need stitches and she's happy it wasn't worse.

"I am so happy that it did not get my eye, because if it popped my eyeball out... Oh my gosh," she said.

Her family thinks the coyote was going for one of their dogs. They've lost pets that way before. Coyotes have killed their chickens, one of their cats and even a pony.

“I’ve never, ever, ever got attacked by a coyote! And the people in my family haven’t either," Madilyn said. "Because that doesn’t make any sense, because they don’t come out here in the day.”

Nearly a day after the attack, Madilyn is in some pain.

"My face when I wrinkle it up like that that, it kind of hurts just a little bit," she said.

Her family is amazed by her bravery and she's staying strong for them.

“I’m glad that I’m going to get a couple more shots and I’m going to be just fine," Madilyn said.

Because the coyote got away, Madilyn's family can't know for sure if it had rabies. Some of the neighbors are getting together this weekend, hoping to trap it and turn it over.

Davie County Animal Control says animals with rabies usually die within two weeks, but they can spread the disease to people and other animals in the meantime.

They're asking people in the Advance area to keep their pets inside for the next couple weeks.