By: Richard L. Smith
In a harrowing incident on the Maplewood side of the South Mountain Reservation, the Essex County Sheriff's Department swiftly responded to a terrifying coyote attack on a teenage girl and her dog Friday afternoon.
The incident occurred around 3 p.m. and just before the holiday season, leaving the community on edge and emphasizing the importance of vigilance when venturing into wildlife-inhabited areas.
According to a preliminary investigation, the coyote targeted the girl's Shih Tzu, locking its jaws around the small dog and attempting to drag it away.
The teenager jumped into action and bravely intervened to free her dog from the coyote's grip.
Reports say during the rescue attempt, the coyote bit the girl on her leg, causing injuries that required medical attention. One other person was injured while the coyote attacked.
Police located the injured dog and promptly transported it to Fairfield Animal Hospital for urgent medical care. The dog is currently receiving treatment for the severe injuries sustained during the encounter.
As the investigation continues, authorities are actively searching for the coyote, which remains at large.
Residents in the surrounding area are advised to exercise caution and immediately report any sightings or encounters with the animal to local authorities.
The incident serves as a reminder of the potential risks involved when interacting with wildlife and the need for heightened awareness, especially in natural areas such as the South Mountain Reservation.
While these areas provide beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities, remaining vigilant and following safety guidelines is crucial to minimize the chances of encountering dangerous wildlife.