SADDLE RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Concerns are mounting about an aggressive coyote population in some New Jersey towns.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, the hostile animals have been menacing people and pets.
One Saddle River resident captured video in his backyard of a pack of seven coyotes. One is seen chowing down on a smaller animal while others rest. Then suddenly, the pack becomes more aggressive, wanting a taste of the kill.
“The concern is that in a large group they could possibly knock someone down, overpower them,” said animal control expert Carol Tyler.
Officials say the coyotes have been terrorizing the town. One woman was surrounded as the animals tried to snatch her dog.
Tyler said the American Jackal may be more visible this time of year as they hunt and prepare for winter. Three large family groups have been identified.
“We have the perfect environment here. We have large parcels of property with some overgrowth, where they can make their dens. We have abundant food sources for them with the reptiles, rodents, garbage, roadkill,” she said.
An abundance of deer may also contribute to the issue.
“We had a referendum. Majority of people said they wanted to entertain the idea of using nonlethal methods to control the deer population,” Saddle River Mayor Albert Kurpis said.
That would mean sterilization. If approved by the state, the mayor expects the council to unanimously vote ‘yes.’
Saddle River has partnered with neighboring towns to combat the coyotes.
Donna Loggia’s son was driving home around 10 p.m. Thursday in Mahwah.
“He saw two dogs and he was very, very afraid that they were going to get hit by a car,” she said. “So he pulled over and he was trying to lure them into his car, and then he looks at them and says, ‘Oh no, these are coyotes.'”
The two mangy animals were not in the woods but right off Ridge Road and MacArthur Boulevard.
Robert Conly said he’s seen the same two coyotes.
“Biggest thing is people are building. They’re taking away their homes,” he said.
If you have a close encounter with a coyote, wildlife experts say do not run. Stand still and make a loud noise.
Saddle River’s Coyote Management Task Force has developed a strategy to identify coyote dens and trap the animals.