What to Know
A mother and her 4-year-old son were attacked by a coyote as they walked in a New Jersey park Thursday evening, police say
The mother and son were attacked by the animal inside the Fairfield Recreational Complex, with the animal biting both victims
A police officer was later forced to shoot and kill he critter when it began to approach the officer aggressively
A mother and her 4-year-old son were attacked by a coyote as they walked in a New Jersey park Thursday evening, police say.
The mother and son were attacked by the animal inside the Fairfield Recreational Complex on Hollywood Avenue in Fairfield.
The 37-year-old mother was pushing her toddler son in a stroller just before 7 p.m. in between tennis courts and the park's pool, near a wooded area, police said. Another person at the park alerted the mother that the coyote was following directly behind her, and when the mom turned to see, the critter lunged at her. She fell to the ground and the stroller came toppling down with her, as the coyote bit her on the leg, according to cops.
The coyote then went after the small child, chomping down on his leg before going back after the mother, who had gotten back up to get the stroller upright. The animal then took off into the woods, police said.
Both victims were brought to the hospital for treatment.
Officials were forced to close the park Thursday evening, as they investigated the incidents. The New Jersey Conservation Department, the Department of Environmental Protection, and Associated Humane were all asked to help police find the coyote.
Fairfield Police said they searched the area for the coyote, finding it walking along a fence line. The critter began to approach the officer aggressively, forcing the officer to open fire and kill it. The Associated Humane Society took the carcass to test it for rabies.
Residents in the area told police that a neighbor's dog had been attacked Wednesday night by the coyote. It is unclear if it is the same one that attacked people on Thursday, as the one mentioned by neighbors is described as being much larger. Multiple people in the neighborhood had reported seeing a large number of coyotes behind their homes recently.
"The Fairfield Police Department is still cautioning all residents in the area of Big Piece Road and all those who use the recreation complex that they still need to exercise great caution when walking around their yards or in the park," said Chief Anthony G. Manna.
Fairfield police urges anyone who sees the animal to stay away from it and call police.