On July 27, 2016, at approximately 5 p.m., a 53 year old Johnson Avenue man encountered, and was bitten several times, by an aggressive animal believed to be a dog or a coyote in a wooded area near his residence while walking his German Shepard.
The encounter was reported to the Manchester Township Police by the Emergency Department of Ocean Medical Center in Brick approximately four hours after the incident occurred, when the victim was at the facility receiving treatment. The investigation revealed that the victim received several bites, cuts and lacerations to both arms from what he described as “a large brown aggressive dog” which he came upon in the woods. The victim reported that he was surprised by the presence of the animal and was attacked without any provocation. He was treated and released by the Emergency Department staff that night after receiving numerous stitches on both arms.
There were no witnesses to the incident and although an extensive neighborhood canvas was conducted by members of the police department, no one reported seeing an animal matching the description in the area. A few residents, however, reported hearing what they believed to be coyote calls off in the distance in the past.
The incident is currently being investigated by Ptl. Kyle Rickvalsky along with the Manchester Township Animal Control Officer and representatives from the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Because the investigation has not been able to definitively determine whether the victim was attacked by a dog or a coyote, the following public service announcement is being issued by the Manchester Township Police.
- Coyotes are now raising their pups and can be more territorial as they guard their mates, dens, pups and food sources. Here are some coyote safety tips to keep your family safe in the outdoors:
- Coyotes can be found in any open space, parks, neighborhoods and even commercial areas. As people and their pets spend more time outdoors, the possibility of a coyote encounter increases.
- Coyotes may try to escort you out of an area to protect their pups or food sources when you encounter them on a trail. Humans may perceive this behavior as stalking, which is usually not the case.
- They may also view your pet as prey.
- To let coyotes be wild while keeping yourself and pets safe, please follow these pointers:
- Never feed coyotes—it is illegal to feed coyotes in most places. Feeding endangers your family and neighbors as it lures coyotes into neighborhoods.
- Keep unattended cats and dogs indoors or in completely enclosed runs, especially at night, and do not assume that a fence will keep a coyote out of your back yard.
- Accompany your leashed pet outside. Make sure you turn on lights if it is dark to check your back yard for unexpected wildlife.
- Keep dogs on short leashes while walking outside; the Division of Wildlife recommends a leash no longer than 6 feet.
- Leave noisemakers on hand to scare away coyotes that may enter your yard, such as whistles and horns.
- Don’t run away or turn your back on a coyote.
- Do not allow a coyote to get in between you and your pet or child—keep children close to you.
- Yell, clap hands, blow a whistle and try to make yourself look larger if you have a close encounter with a coyote.
Note where and when you have an encounter with a coyote. Coyotes often follow routines. Avoid this area in the future if the encounter was negative.