Officials won't euthanize coyote linked to attacking boy, 6, in Lincoln Park; will stay in rehab facility

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The coyote captured and linked to attacking a child in Lincoln Park won't be euthanized or released back into the wild, according to Chicago Animal Care and Control.

The animal, now named "Mercy", will remain in what officials called a "permanent educational setting" where it will be monitored.

CACC Executive Director Kelley Gandurski said coyotes are an important part of the urban ecosystem, preying on small rodents, and typically do not want contact with people.

RELATED: Boy bitten multiple times by coyote in Lincoln Park, police say

DNA linked "Mercy the Coyote" to the attack of a 6-year-old boy near the lakefront in Lincoln Park on the North Side near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The boy was bitten multiple times.

The boy's caretaker and two witnesses fought off the animal and the boy was taken to a hospital for his injuries.

In a separate incident in Streeterville, a 32-year-old man told police the coyote came up from behind and bit him.

The man transported himself to the hospital with minor injuries.

A full veterinary medical diagnosis along with daily observations, lead officials to believe that "Mercy" had no signs suggestive of rabies.

The facility rehab center that took in the animal said the coyote has not shown aggressive behavior since being treated.

Coyotes normally perform an important role in the Chicago area to help control rodent, deer and Canada goose populations. They've long been part of life in Chicago and they're protected by the state.

According to the Urban Coyote Project, about 1,000 coyotes are tagged and tracked in Chicago, and an estimated 2,000 in Cook County.

"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 CACC by calling 311. It remains extremely rare for a coyote to approach or bite a person," CACC said in a statement.

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Experts are warning that recent coyote attacks on Chicago's North Side may indicate highly abnormal behavior.

Coyote experts warned that the recent coyote attacks may indicate highly abnormal behavior.

A look at the city's database of coyote complaints shows a steady increase since July 2019, with more calls this January than any other month last year.
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