A feral animal rips into a man walking his dog in Manchester, and police suspect that it's a coyote.

Authorities warn residents to be on the alert while they explore the circumstances that left the 53-year-old victim with multiple bites requiring extensive stitches on both arms for lacerations and cuts on July 27.

According to police, the victim and his German Shepherd left his Johnson Avenue home and were strolling at about 5 PM when what he described as a "large brown aggressive dog" lunged from a wooded patch near his house and began biting with no provocation.

He was treated at Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township, which reported the incident to police about four hours later.

No one witnessed the encounter, police said, and an extensive search of the neighborhood yielded no sign of a coyote. However, several residents told investigators that they had previously heard howlings that resemble coyote calls.

Patrolman Kyle Rickvalsky, Manchester's Animal Control Officer and staffers of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife are continuing to probe the incident.

Because the animal hasn't been definitively identified, police issue recommendations about coyotes, which they say are highly territorial at this time of year as they raise offspring and guard their pups, mates and food.

  • Coyotes can be found in any open space, parks, neighborhoods and even commercial areas.
  • When a coyote appears to be stalking a human, it might actually be trying to to maneuver one away from its pups or food.
  • Your pet might look like prey to a coyote.

If you spot one, here are vital recommendations:

  • Never feed coyotes. Feeding them frequently draws them back to neighborhoods for more, endangering everyone in them. In most cases, feeding coyotes is illegal.
  • Keep unattended cats and dogs indoors or in fully-enclosed runs, especially at night. Don't assume that a fence is a sufficient back-yard barrier.
  • Stay with your leashed pet outside. Turn on lights during dark hours and periodically check the yard for intruding wildlife.
  • Use a short leash to walk the dog. Six feet is the maximum length recommended by state wildlife officials.
  • Keep whistles, horns or other noisemakers handy to repel coyotes lurking near the house and yard.
  • Don't turn your back on a coyote, and don't run away from one. If you're in a close encounter, yell, clap your hands, blow a whistle if you've got one, and try to appear as large as possible.
  • Keep children and pets close. Don't let a coyote stand between you and them.
  • Remember where and when the encounter occurred, and avoid it afterward if the experience was dangerous. Coyotes often follow routines.

Manchester police take non-emergency calls at 732-657-6111. For emergencies, call 911.

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