Attack by coyote that injured 13-year-old girl and dog leads to NJ park closure

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Saturday, July 1, 2023
2 people, including 13-year-old girl, dog attacked by coyote in NJ
Two people, including a 13-year-old girl, and a dog were attacked by a coyote in Maplewood, New Jersey on Friday. CeFaan Kim has the latest details.

MAPLEWOOD, New Jersey (WABC) -- Two people, including a 13-year-old girl, and a dog were attacked by a coyote inside a park in Maplewood, New Jersey on Friday.

That park will now be closed for the next five days.

The attack happened just after 3 p.m. inside South Mountain Reservation off Bear Lane, according to the Essex County Sheriff's Office.

They say a coyote attacked a 13-year-old girl and her dog, who she was holding at the time. The girl suffered puncture wounds to her leg and was taken to Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center.

Her dog was taken to a local animal hospital in critical condition but is expected to survive.

Shortly after the first attack, a woman was also bit by the coyote.

All victims are expected to be okay.

Out of an abundance of caution, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. said police closed Crest Drive and the South Mountain Dog Park on Friday through Saturday.

However, that closure has since been extended through July 6. In addition to Crest Drive and the South Mountain Dog Park, picnic and parking areas will also be closed.

"Under the recommendation of NJ Fish and Wildlife and in an abundance of caution to protect the safety of the public, Crest Drive, the South Mountain Dog Park and all picnic and parking areas between South Orange Avenue and Glen Avenue, including Locust Grove, will be closed for the next five days," said DiVincenzo Jr. in a statement.

Although the dog park was closed Friday, the attacks happened back along the trails where Eyewitness News reporter CeFaan Kim saw hikers, joggers and dogs with owners unaware of what happened.

"The first time I noticed anything was a cop car driving up the road there and that was it," jogger Robert Hansen said. "It seemed a little quieter but I thought that was the haze and the smoke and just Fourth of July weekend.

Others aren't that concerned.

"Because I think it's probably almost the same size as my dog," dog owner Zhouzhen Feng said. "But if you have a small dog, of course."

Police say they are out looking for the coyote and will put it down if they find it.

They believe the coyote is rabid because coyotes travel in packs and this one was alone.


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