Coyotes live in North America and roam the plains, forests, mountains and deserts of Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central America. But as the population in the United States continues to scale higher, coyotes are now hunting and roaming the streets as they adapt to living in major U.S. cities to find food.
Although there have been just two reports of people killed by coyotes in recent history, the four-legged creatures will attack other animals, especially smaller ones like dogs and cats if and when searching for food. Normally nocturnal by nature, coyotes will appear during the day if hungry, or if suffering from an injury or infection.
With that in mind, residents in one Chicago suburb have been warned this week to avoid feeding or aiding “zombie dogs” that have been roaming the streets. It is feared that people will fail to recognize the creatures are not dogs, although they may look and walk like dogs, they are infected coyotes.
Hanover Park Police Department released a public statement regarding the coyote situation via its Facebook page, saying that the coyotes have been acting strange because they are infected with sarcoptic mange that causes them to be active during the day.
“Infected animals will often appear ‘mangy’ — which looks just like it sounds. They suffer hair loss and develop secondary infections, eventually looking like some sort of ‘zombie’ dog,” the department said in the statement.
They noted that the infected animals aren’t “typically aggressive” but that citizens should be sure to stay away and firmly prevent pets from engaging with them.
“Please DO NOT approach these animals or allow your pets to approach them. You can avoid attracting them to your yards and neighborhoods by not leaving food out and by securing your garbage,” the department said.
DML News learned of this story by way of an email that came in from a reader. She wrote, “There are sick coyotes roaming around in Chicago. As if this place was not dangerous enough with the gang members and drug dealers, I have to now worry about these wild looking things killing my dog.”
Read the full statement from the authorities below:
“Recently we have received several messages and posts from citizens concerned about what appear to be malnourished or neglected stray dogs. These are NOT lost pets, but are in fact coyotes. There is unfortunately an increase in sarcoptic mange in the urban coyote populations which has caused these normally nocturnal animals to become more active during the day. Infected animals will often appear “mangy” – which looks just like it sounds. They suffer hair loss and develop secondary infections, eventually looking like some sort of “zombie” dog. The infections affect their vision, causing them to look for food during the daylight hours. These infected animals are not normally aggressive, but should be avoided at all times. Please DO NOT approach these animals or allow your pets to approach them. You can avoid attracting them to your yards and neighborhoods by not leaving food out and by securing your garbage. Attached are photos of normal coyotes and an infected coyote.”
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