New Jersey

Another Coyote Captured After New Jersey Attack Tests Positive for Rabies

Police say the male coyote that was captured in New Jersey after a man walking his dog was attacked earlier this week has tested positive for rabies, marking the second time in a month in one Garden State county that one of the canines has turned up rabid after acting aggressively toward people.

The update from Norwood police Wednesday comes a few days after the coyote bit Stephen Sinisi on the leg while he was walking his dog in the neighborhood. Sinisi said he and his dog were chased by the animal as they tried to make it to their house. 

Sinisi said after the attack that he had begun a series of rabies shots. 

Police launched a dragnet Monday to find the animal. During the search, an aggressive coyote attacked a police cruiser's wheels and officers found two dens close to Norwood Public School.

Police say they're fairly certain the coyote who attacked the car is the one they captured in a local backyard but aren't sure if the animal also attacked Sinisi. Police spotted a second female coyote that got away and found an additional two dens Tuesday.  

Conservation officer Robert Driscoll explained why he shot and killed the male coyote in Spadacinni's backyard Monday.

"As we approached, it didn't run away," he said. "It stayed there, I was probably about 15 yards away from it when it decided it wanted to move. I acted as if it was a risk to public health and safety." 

Joanne Spadacinni, the homeowner where police captured the rabid coyote in her backyard, has since set up baited traps as police continue to look for the female coyote. 

"I feel bad that this is happening to the coyotes, obviously. Nobody wants to see an animal have to be put down, but with the threat of rabies and the fear of people not being able to walk their dogs safely, I feel that this is necessary," she said. 

There's been no indication the female coyote has pups. 

Sunday's attack is 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. A coyote was spotted in Riverside Park on Wednesday morning, sparking a massive search and marking the fourth time in three months one of the mangy animals has been spotted in Manhattan. 

Last week, a coyote was captured in a park near a church in Chelsea. 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.

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.

-- Roseanne Colletti contributed to this report 

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