New Jersey

Pack of Coyotes Descend on Dog Owner on New Jersey Street

A pack of coyotes descended on a dog walker in a New Jersey community Thursday, prompting police to warn residents about leaving pets and small children unattended outside. 

Maryam Rakham said she was walking her dog on Oak Road in Saddle River when a pack of five coyotes came out of the bushes and looked hungrily at her small dog Bijou.

"They look at my dog, showing teeth to attack," she said. "We were really fearful."

Rakham said Bijou, ever fierce, barked back at the pack of wild animals, but it was a passing driver who scared them off by honking his car horn repeatedly.

"It was a very scary experience," she said.

Wildlife officials are working with police to monitor coyotes in the area. Saddle River police say people walking or jogging outside, especially with pets, should consider carrying a compressed air horn or a walking stick to ward off coyotes if they encounter them. Police Capt. Jason Cosgriff also warned residents not to leave garbage out or feed coyotes. 

"If people feed coyotes they learn to associate humans with a meal," he said. "That means they lose their fear of humans."

Saddle River has seen a number of coyote attacks in recent years: in one month-long period in 2015, four aggressive coyote attacks were reported.

Wildlife experts say people can reduce the risk of coyote conflicts by not feeding them and securing trash and pets, among other steps.

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