A child in Smithville had a close encounter with a coyote.
The Smithville Police Department said the incident happened in the backyard of a home near Highway 92 and Commercial Avenue.
According to police, a young girl was playing outside when her mother came out and saw the coyote near the girl.
"The coyote approached her, was growling when she turned," Sgt. Ralph Wheeler said.
Wheeler says the woman called police when the wild canine nipped at her daughter's finger. Luckily, the bite didn't pierce her skin. She was not taken to the hospital, police said.
"Anytime a wild animal bites a human being it's a concern," Wheeler said.
The girl's mother told KCTV5 News that others in her subdivision reported seeing a coyote roaming during the day and just up the street.
Roberta Jones saw one at her apartment complex on Monday.
"A coyote went right between the fence and my building and went west," she said.
She was worried about her neighbor's cat.
"I heard a noise, then it jumped. I knew it wasn't just a dog," Jones said,
Smithville police are warning people in the area to be on the lookout in a town where rural and suburban ecosystems overlap.
"Humans and animals are going to interact more. The chance of encounters increase," Wheeler said.
Police are in contact with the Missouri Department of Conservation regarding the matter.
"If you see a wild animal, give it its space, don't go near it. If you're concerned make sure to give us a call," Wheeler said.
On its Facebook page, the Smithville Police Department says "we regularly have sights of coyotes throughout town" and "they're not isolated to one particular area."
The Missouri Department of Conservation says that coyotes generally avoid humans but have been known to kill pets. They recommend keeping your animals indoors if you're concerned about them.
Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). All rights reserved.
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