Sightings of ‘zombie’ dogs prompt warnings in Chicago – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Police in Chicago are warning the public after several sightings of what people have described as zombie dogs which are actually coyotes that are suffering from mange.

The Hanover Park Police Department said in a Facebook post that the agency has received numerous calls from concerned residents who say the animals appear to be stray canines that are malnourished or neglected.

Rebecca Dmytryk/Wildlife Emergency Services

(Rebecca Dmytryk/Wildlife Emergency Services)

These are NOT lost pets, but are in fact coyotes, a department official wrote.

The animals are suffering from sarcoptic mange, a highly contagious disease that causes itching, severe skin irritation and loss of fur. It can also affects the animals eyesight, causing the normally nocturnal coyotes to be more active during the day, the department said.

The condition, which is caused by mite bites, can spread to other animals – wild and domestic alike – by direct contact. It is usually not fatal, however, and can be treated with medication. The disease does not make the animals more aggressive or otherwise affect its behavior, officials said.

It is also not contained to Illinois. Rebecca Dmytryk of Wildlife Emergency Services told the Chicago Tribune that she has tracked coyotes in central California who have the infection. She said it spreads easily because coyotes are social animals.

Southern California Animal Advocates also have reported getting calls about animals with mange including raccoons, skunk, opossums and even squirrels.

Officials warn that if someone spots a coyote with the disease, they should call authorities and not approach the animals or let their pets get near them.

Don’t try to handle a problem yourself, because you don’t know what the animal is going to do,” said wildlife expert Mark Romano to the Tribune. “You never know how a wild animal will interact with a human being. You can never predict it.”


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Sightings of ‘zombie’ dogs prompt warnings in Chicago – The San Diego Union-Tribune

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