New Jersey police, fish and game personnel and the U.S. Navy are searching for a coyote that attacked a 5-year old boy in Middletown. This is the second attack on a child within a quarter mile of each other and it has residents in a fret. Officials have urged parents to keep their kids inside after dark as both attacks occurred right around dusk.

Brayden Gazette and his 8-year old sister were playing in a neighbor’s yard across the street from where they live. The two were walking back toward their own home when the coyote attacked the boy.

The Gazette child was rescued, according to his family, by his 8-year-old sister, Sydney, who was walking with him and screamed when the coyote attacked.

“He and his sister were playing in the yard across the street. The other kids had just gone into their house, and they were walking back home when the coyote came out from under those trees,” said Joann Gazette, pointing to a grove of hemlocks across Pomo Court.

The animal knocked the child down on the neighbor’s lawn and began biting him on the back of the head, cutting deep into the child’s scalp. His sister turned as her brother began to scream, and she instantly began screaming at the coyote to get off her brother.

“She was pretty scared, but she’s a tough girl,” her mother said.

The children ran in the front door of their home, located at Pomo Court and Hopi Drive. Their dog, a black Labrador named Cisco, ran out of the house and chased the coyote, which ran onto another lawn at the end of Hopi Drive.

“It hung around there. It just kept hanging around on the lawn,” said the mother.

Brayden suffered six deep cuts on the back of his head and neck and is recovering. As a precaution, he is taking rabies shots.

The area abuts land owned by the U.S. Navy and it is a heavily wooded area where officials say a lot of coyotes live. Although the hunt is on and designated people will shoot to kill any coyote they see, they have no way of knowing any coyote they kill is the one that attacked either or both of the two kids.

Officials say this kind of attack is rare and is usually prompted by a coyote being sick or really hungry. Either way this is a typical result when there are too many of both humans and animals encroaching on each other.

People should be taught that any wild animal, no matter what we think of it or how cute and cuddly it may seem, is potentially dangerous and should be treated as such.

Tom Remington