A Colorado woman was bitten by a coyote pup on Tuesday after she and a number of other people were trying to pet and play with it.
While the woman only received minor injuries from the bite, she is now going through rabies treatment, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials. The incident took place in Yuma, near the Kansas and Nebraska borders.
Wildlife officers became aware of the incident after receiving a call from the doctor’s office where the woman was examined after the incident.
Upon investigation, officers determined the young coyote had been fed by people in the area, causing it to become used to humans.
When wildlife officers went to seize the coyote, which had been taken into the shop of another individual, the coyote was wearing a dog collar with a leash.
“This case should serve as a reminder to leave baby wildlife alone and to not feed wildlife,” said Wildlife Officer Josh Melby. “The lady who got bit is going through rabies shots now, which is unpleasant and expensive.”
The coyote pup was killed so a brain sample could be submitted to the Northeast Colorado Health Department for rabies testing, but the results are still pending.
Rabies is a fatal disease of the nervous system. The only way to test for it is through laboratory examination of brain tissue from an animal..
There is no effective treatment for rabies; however, a series of vaccinations and treatments immediately following exposure may prevent an infection in humans.
The feeding of big game animals in Colorado, including coyotes and foxes, is illegal.
Fines start at $100 plus surcharges, but the real consequences often come to members in the community, who may or may not even have taken part in the illegal feeding, CPW officials said.
When wildlife are fed by humans, the animals become habituated and expect to receive a food reward from people. That can lead to aggressive behavior by the animals and even attacks.
Wildlife officers across the state see the problem frequently with deer, elk, bears, coyotes, foxes and more, the CPW said.
CPW reminds citizens that all wildlife is just that, wild, and animals can act unpredictably.
Wildlife experts urged the public to always leave young wildlife alone and to never attempt to feed wild animals, whether directly by putting out food for them or indirectly by having food sources around your home that they can access.