HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBS 2) — Imagine a coyote greet you at your door, or walking down your street!

That’s what people in two New Jersey towns said they’re seeing on an almost daily basis, and now they’re demanding help, reports CBS 2’s Elise Finch.

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Debbie Labrosse has lived in her Hackensack home for 33 years. Like many of her neighbors in Hackensack and nearby Maywood, her backyard is adjacent to the Borg’s Woods nature preserve, which wasn’t a problem until recently – when the local coyote population grew.

“I guess the scariest thing was when I was taking my granddaughter out in the car, I put her in her car seat,” Labrosse said. “I came around the other side, and as I went to start the car, the coyote came right in front of us on the street.”

Neighbors had similar stories.

“The other night, we came home late in the evening, my husband and I, and the coyote walked right up outside our car,” Hackensack resident Kathleen Canestrino said.

Hackensack residents told CBS 2 they suspected a diminishing supply of raccoons and squirrels was forcing coyotes into nearby neighborhoods to look for food. Some residents said they want the coyotes rounded up and relocated.

“Everyone will feel safer if they move them to another area,” Emil Canestrino said.

“Now that they’re coming onto the street and onto people’s property, that’s something different,” Labrosse said. “I thinkt hat the government has an obligation to protect us in those circumstances.”

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Others, however, said the coyotes have rights too.

“That’s nature,” said Toni Iacono. “They belong here. Just deal with them.”

“This is their natural habitat, and as long as they don’t bother us, we’re not going to bother them,” Adi Arad said.

Wildlife officials said they only relocate coyotes when they become aggressive, and roaming the streets doesn’t qualify.

Officials in Maywood were encouraging their residents to take precautions and keep asking for help.

“If they have sprinklers, they can turn sprinklers on – it’ll chase them away – or hit them with the hose,” Borough Administrator Thomas Richards said. “Don’t leave food out, and just be cautious.”

“It doesn’t hurt to keep on asking,” Nancy Jengo, Maywood Commissioner of Safety, said. “When enough people are concerned, you do get results.”

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Maywood officials said they will be scheduling a public meeting about coyote protection before the end of the month.

Elise Finch