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Wyckoff police say reports of coyote ‘pack’ attack on dog is inaccurate

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

PUBLIC SAFETY: Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox said animal control officers determined that a local dog was found with puncture wounds that don’t indicate an attack by a “pack” of coyotes, as one resident had claimed.

“Nobody ever saw the dog held by the throat. Nobody ever saw a ‘pack’ of coyotes,” Fox told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “Apparently the dog was outside, and some puncture wounds on the back of the neck were observed.

“Animal control states that the woman reported that shortly after she saw a coyote in her driveway,” he said. “That’s much different than a ‘pack’ of coyotes that had a dog by the throat.”

The chief also noted that police were never called.

Fox’s remarks came in response to comments on CLIFFVIEW PILOT this morning by resident Karen LaCorte, who said that coyotes grabbed a neighbor’s cocker spaniel-poodle mix on Thursday, letting go because of an electronic fence collar.

“My neighbor’s dog was attacked,” she said. “The coyotes had the dog by [its] throat, then dropped it.”

The pet ( see photo ) suffered two sets of punctures wounds on his neck as a result and had to be treated at a local animal hospital, she said.

LaCorte this afternoon said “two large coyotes were involved in [the] attack” and that she never spoke to a local animal control officer, speculating that perhaps it was her neighbor. She said she contacted state fish and wildlife officials because she believes they are the proper authorities in such cases.

“The pack has been in my yard every damned night,” LaCorte said. “One coyote was spotted yesterday with an injury to its leg and we’re wondering whether people are setting amateur traps.

“I’m supposed to go check the woods behind my house for them, but I’m hoping to avoid that.”

Coyotes reportedly killed nearly two dozen chickens in Mahwah two months ago. They also have been spotted recently in Elmwood Park, Englewood Cliffs and Saddle Brook.

Experts say you’re more likely to be bitten by your own dog. Coyotes rarely attack people and will run when approached — especially when you make eye contact, shout or open your jacket to appear larger, they say.

Still, encroachment by humans on their habitats, defense of their newborn and the need for food, water and shelter can make some Canis latrans aggressive.

Last week, a female jogger in San Diego reported being bitten by a coyote.

Earlier this month, a coyote attacked at least two people outside their homes in a northern Massachusetts town a little over a half-hour north of Boston, police there said. One man was bitten as he entered his home with his 4-year-old daughter and another “had to kick the animal several times” in his front yard, they said.

Unofficially, there have been roughly 160 confirmed non-fatal coyote attacks on humans in the U.S. in the past 50-60 years — most of them in California, authorities said. Two fatalities have been reported in that time.

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