Woman describes horrific coyote attack

August 18, 2017 06:30 PM

She was attacked by a rabid coyote in Fort Edward. Now, Rita Sweenor is talking about the ordeal.

Sweenor says she was taking a picture of a Blue Herron, when the coyote sunk its teeth into the back of her leg.

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It's amazing how positive Rita Sweenor is in her hospital bed. The coyote did a lot of damage and inflicted a lot of pain. Sweenor says if she didn't fall into the feeder canal, she knows that coyote would have killed her.

Just two days after a vicious attack, with stitches from her scalp and face all the way down to her legs, Rita Sweenor was ready to tell her story. The 64-year-old Gansevoort woman says the moment the coyote latched onto her leg, she knew she had to fight.

"I just knew if I went down I would be dead. I knew if I ran, it would chase me. I just had to stand and fight. I am your choice," she recalled.

Chris Blackmer took video along the Feeder Canal Bike Path on Tuesday. He says he fought off the animal when it lunged at him.

However, on Wednesday around 11 a.m., presumably the same coyote attacked Sweenor and did not let up. She says it attacked with its teeth 10 to 15 times. Sweenor tried to choke it, but it was too strong.

Finally, she caught a break when she tried to throw the coyote into the feeder canal.

"So the third try that I did that, I had him by the hind leg and he was ripping my arm to pieces and I threw him again and we both fell in," explained Sweenor.

The coyote up one bank and Sweenor, with her lip hanging, tendons showing and blood pouring out, swam across the canal and made her way to a house she could see in the distance.

DEC officers searched the area Thursday and when a coyote came charging at an ENCON officer. He shot it. It tested positive for rabies on Friday.

Sweenor says she's not surprised and she's not going to be going back to the trail anytime soon.

"I don't actually know how I survived. I came close to dying. Got a beautiful family and husband and stuff. I’ve got to live," she asserted.


WNYT Staff

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