The police department in the Chicago suburb of Hanover Park is warning local residents to stay away from diseased coyotes which have lost a bunch of hair and look “like some sort of ‘zombie’ dog.”
“Recently we have received several messages and posts from citizens concerned about what appear to be malnourished or neglected stray dogs,” the Hanover Park police department says in a Facebook announcement. “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 noctural animals to become more active during the day. Infected animals will often appear “mangy” — which looks just like it sounds,” the police department’s Facebook page also says.
Hanover Park police were compelled to issue the warning because residents had been calling police with reports of what they believed to be neglected pets, according to Chicago radio station WLS.
Sarcoptic mange, the disease inflicting the suburban coyotes, causes hair loss and the development of various secondary infections.
“Eventually,” sarcoptic mange causes the coyotes to resemble “some sort of ‘zombie’ dog,” Hanover Park police explain.
“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.”
Sarcoptic mange is a contagious disease which can be spread to domesticated dogs if they come into contact with infected coyotes, WLS notes.
Coyote populations exist in and around Chicago. However, no one in the city of Chicago or the greater Chicago region has been attacked by a coyote for many years, according to Urban Coyote Research, a group which studies coyotes in the Chicago metropolitan area.
The southern and central parts of Illinois are teeming with coyotes, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.