Coyote who attacked man in Saddle River tests positive for rabies

SADDLE BROOK, N.J. (WABC) -- A man was attacked by a coyote while he worked in his yard in New Jersey Monday, and the animal has since tested positive for rabies.

The man in Saddle River was able to escape and was taken to the hospital for his injuries.

John Zeug has a huge bandage covering three puncture wounds on his left leg where he was bitten.

"Kind of scared me, because that doesn't happen with coyotes in the daytime," he said. "And attacking a full-size adult, it's kind of unheard of."

He said he had seen the coyote in the three days leading up to the attack, but that it did not seem aggressive to him.

It turns out the coyote's den was under his cabin, in a storage shed that had a litter under it. All of the babies had died.

Conservation officers determined it was the same coyote that injured a neighbor's dog last week, and the dog needed treatment by a veterinarian.

Police and state wildlife officials found the coyote in the woods, where it was euthanized.

They tracked the animal down because it was not acting normal.

"When we came in contact with her the first time, she was not scared of us," Saddle River Police Captain Jason Cosgriff said. "She didn't run like any of the other coyotes or most of the other wildlife here in Saddle River we come in contact with. Kind of challenged us and moved away."

Testing confirmed the presence of rabies, and Zeug immediately started rabies post-exposure vaccination. The developments prompted acting Saddle River Mayor Dr. Al Kurpis to call an emergency meeting.

The Saddle River Police Department and the Department of Fish, Game and Wildlife are seeking the mate or any other offspring of the rabid coyote.

At this time, officials request that no small children or pets should be left unattended outdoors, and all pet owners are reminded to keep their animals up to date on their rabies vaccinations. The Health Department reminds everyone to stay clear of all wildlife, especially any that are acting sick or unusually friendly.

Anyone who sees suspicious-acting wildlife is asked to report it immediately to the Saddle River Police Department.

Any residents who suspect that they or their animals may have been exposed should call the Saddle River Health Office at 201-327-2609 ext. 234.
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