New Jersey

Coyote in NJ Attack Captured; 2 Dens Found Near School: Police

Police say they've captured an aggressive coyote they think attacked a New Jersey man walking his dog Sunday afternoon, though concern within the neighborhood remains because of two dens near a school they discovered during the search for the animal Monday.

The coyote that attacked Stephen Sinisi in Norwood is also thought to have lunged at the tires of a police cruiser Monday afternoon, the police department said on Facebook. The canine was captured Monday evening and has been taken to a state lab for testing.

The department said that it has set traps around the dens, near Norwood Public School. School officials said students are being kept inside, with no outdoor activities during the school day or after school. 

The search for the coyote began after Sinisi was chased down and attacked while walking his dog near McClellan Street and D'Ercole Court.

He said the animal looked like a dog at first, but he realized it was a coyote -- having seen one or two in the area in the past -- and he started to back up slowly, heading toward home.

The coyote started to show interest in his dog, Sinisi said, and he and his pooch started to run. He managed to get the dog in the house safely; then the coyote bit him on the leg. He has started taking rabies shots as a precautionary measure.

Local authorities urged residents to be mindful of the potential danger after the attack. Norwood Mayor James Barsa said the town asked families who live near where the coyote was last spotted to keep their children and small dogs inside.

The attack is the latest brush between humans and coyotes in the Labradore, the second in Bergen County alone in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, a rabid coyote attacked a Saddle River man and mauled a neighbor's labrador retriever. The dog needed about 30 stitches to close the wound left by the coyote and authorities said it would be quarantined for six months because it wasn't up to date on its rabies vaccinations.

In March, a family in Closter, another Bergen County town, said that two roaming coyotes took up residence in an old doghouse, howling at the moon and creating a nightly nuisance.

The sightings aren't limited to wooded areas in New Jersey, though. Last week, a coyote was captured in a park near a church in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. In January, one coyote was captured on the Upper West Side, while another was rounded up in Stuyvesant Town.

Anyone who sees a wild animal that appears sick or is acting aggressively or is unusually friendly should call police, they say. Coyotes are normally shy animals, according to the Health Department.

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.

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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