Roaming ‘zombie dogs’ put Chicago residents on edge
Police in Hanover Park issued the warning in a Facebook post Thursday after receiving several reports that malnourished or neglected stray dogs are roaming around the Illinois village.
The authorities go on to make clear that the ‘dogs’ are not domestic animals, rather urban coyotes infected with sarcoptic mange, a highly contagious skin disease which gives them the look of the undead.
“There is unfortunately an increase in sarcoptic mange in the urban coyote populations which has caused these normally nocturnal animals to become more active during the day. Infected animals will often appear ‘mangy’ – which looks just like it sounds,” Hanover Police said.
“They suffer hair loss and develop secondary infections, eventually looking like some sort of ‘zombie’ dog. The infections affect their vision, causing them to look for food during the daylight hours.”
Sarcoptic mange is borne by a mite that burrows deep into the skin causing intense itching and irritation. Humans can contract the disease but instances are rare, as the mites prefer to infest dogs, cats, horses, sheep, and various other species.
The Hanover Park Police Department has warned residents not to approach the coyotes and to keep their pets out of harm’s way.
According to Urban Coyote Research, there has never been a single coyote bite or attack reported on humans in northeastern Illinois. The University of Illinois, meanwhile, reports that there have been no attacks across the entire state in 30 years.
In Illinois, coyotes are protected as a ‘furbearer,’ meaning it is illegal to trap or hunt them without a license from the state.