Coyotes infected with sarcoptic mange, which can make them look like “some sort of ‘zombie’ dog,” are being confused for stray pets in the suburbs, Hanover Park police say.
“Recently we have received several messages and posts from citizens concerned about what appear to be malnourished or neglected stray dogs,” a Facebook post on the department’s page Thursday reads. “These are NOT lost pets, but are in fact coyotes.”
The department says there is an increase in the disease in urban coyote populations which makes the normally nocturnal coyotes come out during the day. Infected coyotes will appear “mangy,” often hairless and haggard.
“These infected animals are not normally aggressive, but should be avoided at all times,” the department says. “Please DO NOT approach these animals or allow your pets to approach them.”
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Police say residents can best keep the animals from yards and neighborhoods by securing garbage cans and not leaving food outside.
There hasn’t been a single coyote bite or attack on humans reported in northeastern Illinois, according to Cook County’s urban coyote ecology and management website.
“Domestic dog bites are far more common than bites by wild animals,” the site reads.
If a resident is concerned that a coyote may be a “nuisance,” the county suggests calling the police, animal control or Department of Natural Resources.