A coyote that bit five people in Moraga and Lafayette over the past nine months has been captured and euthanized, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said today. It was caught on Thursday, March 11.

“DNA testing was conducted which matched the DNA recovered from the bite victims,” the Moraga Police Department said in a printed release. “U.C. Davis veterinary staff will be conducting a rabies test on the coyote. There is no current evidence to suggest the coyote is rabid, but because of the severity of the disease, it is standard operating procedure in an animal attack investigation such as this one. Rabies tests can only be done post-mortem.”

It is commonplace to encounter a coyote from time to time as we take walks in or around open areas. Heed this warning – steer clear. Coyotes can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially to small pets and children.

In February, this coyote last attacked and bit a 3-year-old girl as she walked with her mother pushing a stroller down the streets of Moraga. The mother got the coyote to disengage and run off. Fortunately, the injury was not serious. The girl was treated and released from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

Contra Costa County Animal Services, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife were also notified.

This is the 5th attack in that area, and according to Fish and Wildlife all the attacks were from the same animal based on lab results of DNA in the saliva found around the wound.

Coyotes are, by nature, fearful of humans, according to KeepMeWild.org, which is maintained by California Fish and Wildlife.

“However, if coyotes are given access to human food and garbage, their behavior changes,” the website reads. “They lose caution and fear. They may begin to harass domestic livestock and pets. They might threaten human safety.”

Be vigilant while outside at dusk and dawn, when coyotes can be active.

KeepMeWild.org offers the following tips to avoid a brush-in with a coyote:

Do not feed or attempt to tame coyotes.

Do not leave small children or pets outside unattended.

Install motion-sensitive lighting near your home.

Trim ground-level shrubbery (to reduce hiding places).

Know that coyotes are more active in the spring, when they are feeding and protecting their young.

If followed by a coyote, make loud noises and, if that fails, throw rocks in its direction.

If you witness a coyote attack, immediately contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife or local law enforcement.

According to National Geographic, coyote population is thought to be at an all-time high.