A DNA test has proved that a coyote captured on Chicago’s North Side is the same animal that attacked a 6-year-old boy.
Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) officials released a statement saying that the animal had been shot in the chest with a BB gun, which likely explains why it was limping when it was caught, and why it had been acting aggressively. Additional medical tests found no signs of rabies, but additional testing will be done to make sure it doesn’t have any dangerous diseases or viruses.
The animal is expected to remain at the Barrington-based Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. It was captured after being chased by Chicago police and animal control officers for several blocks.
“We want to thank our city, county, state and federal partners for their resources and support during the successful and safe capture of the coyote”, CACC officials said.
The coyote was caught using a tranquilizer dart after CACC inspectors responded to calls of an injured coyote on the 1700 block of North Dayton Street. A day earlier, a coyote bit a 6-year-old boy multiple times on the head near the nature museum in Lincoln Park. The boy was running up the hill when the coyote attacked. Two runners from the DePaul University track team helped kick the animal away before the boy was rushed to Lurie Children’s Hospital.
In recent weeks, several coyotes have been spotted walking the streets of the North Side, from Lincoln Park to Old Town and the old Cabrini-Green area. Attacks on humans have been extremely rare in the decades they have lived in the city and typically the animals are so afraid of people that their first instinct is to run away. However, dogs have been targeted.
A little more than a week before the boy was attacked, a 5-pound toy poodle puppy barely survived a coyote mauling near Burling and Willow streets in Old Town. The night before that, a Schnauzer was attacked at Cambridge Avenue and Delaware Place.
In the past week, there have been at least 10 reports of coyotes phoned into CACC.
“In general, coyotes are adapting to cities. They’re doing better and better over time as they learn how to make use of these urban landscapes that we’ve created”, said Seth Magle of the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute. “I feel confident in saying I think that their numbers are generally on the upswing.”
The Humane Society advises that if you see a coyote, you should not run or turn your back. You should instead shout or throw something in the coyote’s direction, in what is called hazing. Use caution, as the coyote could be aggressive.
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