BARNSTABLE (CBS) – A local family was surprised when the adorable “lost puppy” they thought they had rescued turned out to be a baby coyote.
The Cape Wildlife Center, based in Barnstable, said the family had found the animal last week “wandering and in distress by the side of a busy road”.
“He was later accidentally taken home by a local family after they mistakenly identified him as a lost puppy,” the center said on Facebook. “After realizing their confusion, they called us for help.”
The center and the Department of Public Health determined that the baby coyote had not been exposed to rabies. He is recovering at the center and will soon be introduced to an adoptive coyote from Rhode Island.
The coyote puppies will be vaccinated and raised together in “as much natural education as possible” within the center.
Officials say it was a happy result, given the coyotes’ susceptibility to the deadly rabies virus.
“This case had a happy ending, but it could easily have turned out differently,” the center said. “If the finders had been bitten, scratched or had prolonged contact, we would have been mandated to euthanize the pup and test for rabies.”
The center says people are encouraged to contact the relevant authorities before taking action to help wildlife.