CHICAGO (CBS) — A howling coyote was caught on camera by a Near North Side resident – right in his backyard in broad daylight.
It was one of many coyote encounters we’ve shown you recently in the Lincoln Park and Near North areas in particular, as Cook County’s coyote population grows.
As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reported, Animal Care and Control fields more than 400 calls about coyotes a year.
Information is taken down and complied about all the animals, but generally, nothing much happens when people call Animal Care and Control about coyote sightings.
Officials said that is because their hands are essentially tied by state law.
Tim Aikens came across the coyote raising its head and howling out loud in his backyard near North and Clybourn avenues. It looked like a scene that belonged in a zoo.
“It was here for about four or five hours,” Aikens said.
Coyotes are suspected in two attacks in the greater area in a little more than a week.
On Sunday, Dec. 29, Lynell Dillon said a coyote attacked her 7-year-old Schnauzer, Missy on a patch of grass in the 900 block of North Cambridge Avenue in the Cabrini Rowhouses.
The following morning, about a mile to the north at Willow and Burling streets in Old Town, Linda Bacci’s toy poodle, Ki Ki, was turned into a chew toy by a coyote as the Bacci was attempting to leash the five-pound puppy.
“The coyote had come from across the street and was staring at me,” Bacci said. “(We’re) eyeball to eyeball, and I reached for the dog, and he reached for the dog – and he got her first.”
The coyote that attacked Bacci’s dog one week ago had a distinctive limp, like one that was spotted outside a Near North Whole Foods.
Aikens is convinced the same coyote that mauled Ki Ki decided to move into his yard temporarily.
“The same one, because it’s common with a limp that everybody’s been reporting,” Aikens said.
Ken Fron first spotted the coyote, and at Aikens’ urging, he called 911 and Chicago Animal Care and Control.
Fron said Animal Care and Control did not come to the scene, though they did respond by phone. But by then, the coyote was gone.
That is because Illinois law dictates that coyotes are protected and are not considered to be a public health concern. And for those who think people are at risk, officials say there hasn’t been a reported attack against humans in 30 years.
Still seeing a wild carnivorous animal lounging in his backyard was disconcerting for Fron.
“This is becoming a little concerning for the community,” Fron said.
And although Fron knows that the county has only relocated one coyote from the area in the past 18 months, he believes this one should be the second.
“If someone could have come out, tranquilized it, got it to a vet, fixed him up, brought him to a forest preserve, that would have been a really great ending to the story,” Fron said.
City coyotes have a range of seven to eight miles, so the limping coyote could very well have been the same one that attacked Bacci’s dog and napped in that nearby yard.
Aikens and Fron believe the coyote lives in a long-shuttered school yard that is adjacent to their home.