New Jersey

Man Attacked by Coyote in New Jersey Yard Week After Dog Mauling: I Didn't See It Coming

UPDATE: Coyote That Attacked New Jersey Man Working in Yard Was Rabid: Officials

The 77-year-old New Jersey man attacked by a coyote while working in his yard earlier this week says he yelled at the wolfish animal and it ran into the woods, then it came back and sunk its teeth into him, creating a puncture wound visible through his tattered jeans.

John Zeug didn't need stitches after the Monday morning attack, but he got eight rabies shots -- a complete first round of treatment. Zeug said he thought the coyote had run off in the woods after he yelled at it, then "boom," he said, it "came back and got me in the back of the leg."

He said he didn't see the animal coming. Zeug managed to run up to the front steps of his Twin Brooks-area home in the heavily wooded town of Saddle River and get help from his wife. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Officers spotted the animal running through a neighbor's yard later in the day and called in animal control and officers from the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, police said. The responding officers found the coyote in the woods and euthanized it, police said. It was taken to a lab for testing.

Authorities believe the coyote, a female, made her den under a log cabin on Zeug's three-acre property. Zeug said seven dead coyote pups were found behind the shed; it wasn't clear how they died. 

Police say they believe the same coyote attacked a neighbor's dog last week; that dog, a labrador retriever named Jack, needed 30 stitches to close his wounds. Workers in the area Monday said they saw a coyote acting aggressively toward dogs; police said coyotes are attracted to the canines' sound.

"She was not scared of us, didn't run ... kind of challenged us and moved away," said Saddle River Police Capt. Jason Cosgriff. "A lot of Saddle River is woods, lots of places for coyotes to run around."

But Zeug's neighbors don't want any coyotes running around near them or their dogs.

"I have a 110-pound Rottweiler and he is scared of nothing -- a beast -- and he was nervous," said neighbor Brogan Wu, who also has a bulldog and Samoyed and says the coyote was spotted stalking the slower dogs. "If my dog is scared, that scares me because he's scared of nothing."

Another neighbor, Kristen Walsh, said she put a large trap in her backyard after seeing coyotes in her backyard and on her driveway, not far from where her children play.

"It's come to the point where no one wants to play outside," she said.

Officials are continuing to comb the Saddle River woods for signs of coyotes. Anyone who sees a wild animal acting aggressively should call police, they say.

Authorities have noted that it's become "quite common for coyotes to enter into urban and residential areas and in many cases make small wooded areas their home," according to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Last month, a family in Closter showed NBC 4 New York an old doghouse in their yard in which two roaming coyotes had taken up residence.

People who encounter a coyote should never run away; instead, they're encouraged to "haze" the animal with techniques like making loud noises or throwing sticks or objects towards but not at the coyote, the Humane Society says.

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