Joe Namath Coyote Fur Jacket Helped Prevent Injuries

Coyotes are wild animals, too many of them are entering human territory. If not controlled, many more human attacks will occur besides the loss of many pets.

by Steve Lieberman, March 26, 2014

ORANGEBURG – A woman bitten by a coyote while defending her dog learned Wednesday that the animal was rabid and she needs to take life-saving injections, Rockland County officials said.

Mary Lou Gardner went to the hospital for her first injection after being informed by the Rockland Health Commissioner Patricia Ruppert, said Scott Salotto, spokesman for the Rockland County Executive Ed Day.

Gardner will need several injections to combat the rabies during the next two weeks, Salotto said.

Tests on the coyote were done quickly by the state police laboratory after Orangetown police shot the animal dead on Tuesday morning.

The results of rabies can be fatal if not treated.

Gardner was walking Jasmine, her 18-pound Shih Tzu, near Greywood Drive about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday when the coyote began to stalk them.

“I saw it walking between two houses and coming at us,” the 52-year-old said. “I didn’t want to let my dog off the leash.”

Gardner held her dog tight and threw her coat on the coyote as it approached.

“It went after Jasmine (and) I started kicking the coyote, so (it) turned on me and started biting my leg,” she said.

Neighbors heard the attack and rushed outside, yelling and banging on things to distract the animal, which finally retreated into a back yard as Gardner ran to a house with her dog.

Joe Namath (shown here with Marc Kaufman) wearing his Marc Kaufman Furs custom coyote coat

Orangetown police arrived a short time later and shot the coyote, which was taken to the Rockland County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Gardner, who was given a tetanus shot at the Nyack Hospital emergency room, suffered bites to her left leg and forearm. Her dog was given a rabies shot.

Noting that the rabies treatment isn’t as severe as it was years ago, she was philosophical Tuesday about her wildlife encounter.

“I’m glad it was me and not someone else,” said the mother of two grown daughters and a son. “I have a lot of elderly neighbors and there are children here. I took one for the team.”

The neighborhood had been on the lookout for the animal since Monday evening, when police issued a warning via the state’s NY-Alert system. The alert said coyote sightings were common this time of year, but that aggressive animals which show no fear of humans are not common and should not be approached.

“The police took this seriously,” Gardner said. “They did their job.”

Experts say people who encounter coyotes should make loud noises to try to scare them off. If the animal does not flee or becomes aggressive, avoid all contact.

A number of animal attacks by coyotes have been reported in Westchester; in 2010 attacks on children were reported in Rye and Rye Brook. Packs of coyotes have been seen in residential areas of Rockland and, while they’ve been known to go after deer and pets, attacks on people have been rare.

Joe Namath’s coyote coat was the breakout star of this year’s SuperBowl

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