A Verona woman saw what she believes was a coyote on Fairway Avenue on Saturday night, not far from the woods at the top of the street that extend into West Orange. Morningside Road resident Allison McNally was walking home from a party about 11:30 p.m. and saw an animal “creeping” along the street. “It was too big to be a fox; it looked more like a dog, sort of like a Husky,” she says. The animal had no collar and there were no other people around. “It had a bushy tail, but the tail was down,” she says.
Her description matches that of the Eastern coyote, which according to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife can be found in all 21 counties of New Jersey, and has a growing population. The agency points out that, although coyote sightings are fairly common, the animals do not cause a great deal of physical damage and attacks on humans are extremely rare. Coyotes subsist largely on rabbits, voles and mice. However, as their habitat shrinks, the agency predicts that they may be sighted more frequently in residential areas. It suggests keeping garbage cans that contain food tightly covered, clearing wood piles and debris that may attract mice, not feeding pets or birds outside, and keeping free-ranging cats closer to home.
The Verona police have received recent reports of fox sightings in the vicinity of Verona Park, but not coyotes.