CHICAGO — A coyote who bit a 6-year-old boy earlier this month was injured and aggressive, possibly because a person shot him with a BB gun, officials said.
The coyote was caught and taken in by Chicago Animal Care and Control on Jan. 9, a day after biting the boy in his face in Lincoln Park. Officials said Sunday that DNA testing confirmed the captured coyote was the one who bit the boy.
An evaluation also showed the coyote had been shot in his chest with a BB gun, “which could have caused the limp in its movements as well as the aggressive behavior,” according to Animal Control.
Human behavior is the top reason for coyote attacks — whether that is from chasing (on in this case, shooting) the animals or feeding them, according to the Humane Society.
The coyote — who became recognizable quickly because of his distinctive limp — was caught after people reported seeing an injured coyote on the North Side.
Animal Control first became aware of the coyote on Jan. 6, when people reported an injured and aggressive coyote.
Then on Jan. 8, a 6-year-old boy was walking near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum with his nanny when he went up a hill. He apparently surprised the coyote, who bit him.
The nanny and two passersby helped the boy, who was hospitalized.
The bite was the first recorded coyote attack in Cook County in at least a decade. Coyote attacks are extremely rare despite how common the animals are in and around the city, officials noted.
Later that day, a 32-year-old man said he was bitten by a coyote in Steeterville. Officials said that incident was not a confirmed coyote bite.
A dog was also reportedly bitten by a coyote and had to be rescued by its owner and passersby, and a waterlogged coyote was rescued from Monroe Harbor the same week.
The day after the boy was bitten, someone reported seeing a coyote at Oz Park, which sent Lincoln Park High School into a temporary lockdown.
The coyote has not shown signs of rabies, but he will receive further testing to ensure he does not have any diseases or viruses.
“Coyotes are common throughout the Chicagoland area and protected under the Illinois Wildlife Code. Residents should always take caution if they encounter a coyote and notify [Animal Control] by calling 311,” a spokesman said. “It remains extremely rare for a coyote to approach or bite a person.”
Animal Care and Control could not immediately answer questions about what will happen to the coyote, but we will be updating this story.
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