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July 29, 2016

Police: South Jersey man injured after possible coyote attack

Police in Ocean County, New Jersey issued a warning on Friday after a man was attacked by what authorities believe could be a coyote.

A 53-year-old man from Manchester Township was walking his German Shepherd on Wednesday around 5 p.m. when he encountered "a large, brown aggressive dog" in a wooded area near his residence on Johnson Avenue.

The man told authorities that the animal attacked him without provocation. He suffered bites and cuts to both arms during the encounter.

The victim was transported to Ocean Medical Center where he received stitches on both arms and was later released.

Police searched the area, but could not locate the animal matching the description. However, some residents told police they have heard coyote calls in the past.

The investigation is ongoing.

Since authorities could not determine what attacked the victim, the Manchester Township Police issued a public service announcement with safety tips:

• 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.