updated 5/22/2007 6:49:15 PM ET 2007-05-22T22:49:15

For the second time in as many months, officials believe a coyote has attacked a child in this wooded, suburban town in central New Jersey.

Police and state wildlife officials set traps Tuesday, and were looking for the animal that attacked 5-year-old Brayden Gazette.

Brayden and his 8-year-old sister, Sydney, were walking in the street near their home at about 8:30 p.m. Monday when the animal bolted from some nearby woods and bit Brayden on his head. The animal ran off when the girl screamed.

Joann Gazette said she quickly learned from her children that the animal appeared to be a coyote.

"He was bloody and they were crying," Gazette said Tuesday.

46 stitches
Gazette took Brayden to Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank on Monday night, where he got 46 stitches in the back of the head, as well as two shots for rabies.

Gazette's husband, Larry, said he saw their black Labrador retriever, Francisco, chasing the animal. He too thought it was a coyote.

Soon after the attack, a coyote was spotted in the same housing development. Police fired a shot and the animal appeared to twitch, but a search found neither a carcass nor a blood trail.

The attack on Brayden Gazette comes more than a month after police said a coyote grabbed another toddler who was playing with a young relative in the back yard of a Middletown home.

Efforts to catch the coyote in the first attack turned up nothing.

Both attacks were near Naval Weapons Station Earle, some 40 miles southwest of New York City. Navy personnel are participating in the search.

Residents in that area have reported numerous coyote sightings in recent weeks, and several pets in the area have been killed recently, police said.

Donna Federico, 50, who lives behind the Lawrence's house, said she saw an animal that looked like a coyote shortly after Brayden was attacked. She said the animal walked out from behind her house and passed her about eight feet away, appearing to almost shrug as it went by.

"It was weird seeing it in a neighborhood like that," Federico said.

"In the beginning I felt sorry for it because we're closing in on its territory," Federico said. "But after it's attacked children, something has to be wrong with it."

Children 'very scared'
Marc Lawrence, who lives just across the street from the Gazettes, said his three children — ages 10, 8 and 4 — had come inside from playing with the Gazette children just minutes before the incident.

"They need to catch it because this is bad," he said.

Lawrence, 46, said his children play outside every day, but he'll be keeping a closer eye on them: "I'll be attentive with them all the time."

Joann Gazette said her children are too afraid to play outside.

"They're very scared so they won't go out," she said. "They have to find it because it's not right."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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