Authorities say mystery animals, possibly coyotes, attacked an infant boy and apparently killed several dogs in Middletown, New Jersey, over the past few weeks.

In the most recent incident, officials say a 20-month-old boy visiting from Florida was attacked in the vicinity of 626 Kings Highway East on Friday night.
The child was reportedly running around with his cousins and uncle in a yard when a mystery animal attempted to grab and drag him.

The frightened infant was able to break free from the attacking animal, authorities said. The young boy was treated for scratches and minor bite marks at the hospital and released.

He and his family have since returned to Florida. Until the attack on the infant, authorities in Middletown say they were confounded by random attacks on local dogs.

Police say four puppies were dragged off from McGuires Grove Apartments and later found dead.

In another incident, the animal or animals allegedly attempted to snatch a small dog on Highview Circle.

There were also several reports of attacking animals along the Navy property.

Officials say the animals were spotted last night off of Chapel Hill Road.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is responding to the township to search for the animal. The tracker today is searching for the animals near the reported incidents and setting traps.

The township is using the reverse 911 system to inform residents. The township will also post information on the Web site, MiddletownNJ.org

Since coyotes are nocturnal, caution should be used in the evening hours when you are in your yard with your children and pets.

If you see an animal that appears to be a coyote, please call the Middletown Police Department at 732-615-2100. Please also be advised that the township is working with state wildlife agencies to address and track this issue.

The Eastern Coyote, at a glance:


Description: The Eastern coyote looks like a medium-sized German shepherd dog, with long thick fur. The tail is full and bushy, usually carried pointing down. Ears are erect and pointed.

Length: 4 to 5 feet (including tail)

Weight: 35 to 45 pounds (males usually larger than females.)

Color: Variable, from blonde or reddish blonde to dark tan washed with black. Legs, ears and cheeks usually reddish.

Source