A coyote killed a 96-year-old Wyckoff grandmother's chihuahua, prompting area alerts.
Hartman was snatched Tuesday night from just outside Doris Heitman's back door in a wooded Spring Meadow retirement community Tuesday night.
Her Heitman's grandson went into the woods with a kitchen knife and retrieved the dog’s body a short time later.
"He was my best friend. He was my helper," said Heitman, whose husband, George, died two years ago
"We were growing old together," she told News12 New Jersey . "I'm gonna miss him terribly."
“Wyckoff Police responded and documented the incident and immediately contacted TYCO Animal Control,” , Police Lt. Joseph Soto said. “Tyco monitored the situation and is investigating.”
Soto urged citizens to contact police through the department’s main phone number – (201) 891-2121 -- “if an animal is acting aggressively or threatening, so that we can contact animal control to respond.”
ALSO SEE: Sensing something was wrong, Doreen Latargia Entrup of Mahwah tried calling a neighbor to tell her she needed to come in off the street. That’s when a coyote attacked her, she said.
The lieutenant also provided tips produced by Tyco:
“As humans expand their living areas and coyotes expand their range, contact between the two is inevitable. Most of the time, coyotes go out of their way to avoid humans.
“In urban areas, coyotes are changing their behavior because of human behavior. These animals have become very accustomed to people due to finding food left on their properties.
“This is a serious concern. As they lose their fear, they will approach people looking for more food, putting themselves in hazardous situations that they would normally avoid. They will take advantage of eating whatever food is available.
“To prevent coyotes from coming on your property, you can take the following actions: close garbage and dumpster lids tightly; do not leave any food, including pet food, outside; clearing brush and weeds from around your house to reduce protective cover for coyotes and prey animals.
“Coyotes prey mostly on deer, rodents, rabbits, and roadkill. If you have noticed coyotes in your neighborhood, you probably have also noticed a reduction in rats, chipmunks, and squirrels. Coyotes are beneficial as a form of rodent control.
“Complaints about vermin have decreased greatly over the years. This is nature achieving a balanced environment!
“One of the more common diseases that coyotes get is Sarcoptic mange. This year’s heavy rainfall may lead to more mammals with this disease.
“Mange is a skin condition that is very irritating to the host animal. This can be easily treated in domestic pets. Treatment of wildlife is not possible. Living in wet den areas does not help this condition.
“Many animals survive this skin rash and go on to live long healthy lives. Some animals may die from this disease because they have other underlying immunity issues.
“Most towns in Bergen and Passaic Counties have a thriving population of coyotes.
“People should always be cautious when dealing with all wildlife. No matter how cute an animal is, you should:
- Not attempt to catch, touch or feed them;
- Never leave children or small domestic pets unsupervised (pets unleashed), even in familiar surroundings;
- Keep a compressed air horn or walking stick with you while walking your dog:
- NEVER run from a coyote.”
Anyone who finds an injured or sick animal should call their local department and “let them dispatch professionals to handle the situation,” Soto said. “Never attempt to approach or handle wildlife.”
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