Police in New Jersey are warning parents to keep their children and small pets inside after a series of coyote attacks and sightings and the discovery of two dens near a local school.
On Monday, a coyote was captured and later killed after officials in Norwood, N.J., say it attacked a police car.
"The coyote started to attack a police car," Norwood Police Chief Jeff Krapels told WABC-TV. "We called New Jersey Wildlife and they said that's not normal behavior for the coyote."
Warning: An aggressive coyote has just attacked the tires of a police car on Villa Ct, behind the NORWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL— Norwood Police, NJ (@NorwoodPoliceNJ) April 20, 2015
After a search of the area, police located the coyote behind a Norwood home. A wildlife officer shot and wounded the animal, police said, and it was later killed and taken to the state laboratory to be tested for rabies.
During their search, officials discovered two dens, including one that "has a tunnel towards the school."
Unfortunately, two dens have been found near the school and it is unknown if our Summit Street problem has been solved.— Norwood Police, NJ (@NorwoodPoliceNJ) April 21, 2015
School officials are keeping students inside as a precaution.
Traps will be placed next to the two dens and hopefully this problem by the NPS will be solved.— Norwood Police, NJ (@NorwoodPoliceNJ) April 21, 2015
The discovery comes a day after a man was chased and bitten by a coyote while walking his dog in the same town.
Warning!! A Norwood resident was just attacked by a coyote at McClellan & D'Ercole Court, while walking his dog. Please be careful.— Norwood Police, NJ (@NorwoodPoliceNJ) April 20, 2015
"I was trying to get to the house fast because he wasn't going away," Stephen Sinisi told CBS New York. "As soon as I got to my door, I felt something on my back ankle."
Sinisi received four rabies shots.
On April 6, a man in nearby Saddle River was attacked by a coyote while working in his yard. That coyote, who attacked a dog the week before, tested positive for rabies and was euthanized.
Even before the latest attacks, there had been an uptick in coyote sightings in the tri-state area.
This year alone, coyotes have turned up near a Consolidated Edison plant along the East River in the East Village; on a basketball court in Riverside Park; haunting Steven Spielberg’s sister’s yard in the Riverdale section of the Bronx; and marooned on the roof of a bar in Long Island City, Queens.
According to wildlife officials, "aggressive coyotes" are especially unusual, and attacks on humans are "extremely rare."
Nonetheless, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife website includes guidelines that "can help reduce the likelihood of conflicts with coyotes":
• Never feed a coyote. Deliberately feeding coyotes puts pets and other residents in the neighborhood at risk.
• Feeding pet cats and/or feral (wild) cats outdoors can attract coyotes. The coyotes feed on the pet food and also prey upon the cats.
• Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.
• Remove sources of water, especially in dry climates.
• Bring pets in at night.
• Put away bird feeders at night to avoid attracting rodents and other coyote prey.
• Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry, and other farm animals.
• Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
• Although extremely rare, coyotes have been known to attack humans. Parents should monitor their children, even in familiar surroundings, such as backyards.
• Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
• Clear brush and dense weeds from around dwellings — this reduces protective cover for coyotes and makes the area less attractive to rodents and rabbits. Coyotes, as well as other predators, are attracted to areas where rodents are concentrated, like woodpiles.
• If coyotes are present, make sure they know they're not welcome. Make loud noises, blast a canned air siren, throw rocks, or spray them with a garden hose.