Coyote-dog hybrid caught in Thorsby

Published 10:27 pm Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Residents of a Thorsby neighborhood have been spooked by recent sightings of wild animals that are difficult to describe.

Animal Control Officer Bobby Tucker was able to capture one of the animals and determined that it was a “coydog,” or a hybrid of a coyote and a dog. The young male had features found in both coyotes and domesticated dogs but was obviously wild.

Using traps, Tucker captured the animal near a wooded area in the vicinity of Indiana Avenue and Lincoln Street.

“Everybody was calling it a fox, but it doesn’t look anything like a fox,” Tucker said. “There are a lot of elderly people in the area concerned with seeing them. We don’t know a lot about them or what they’re capable of.”

The trapped coydog was about 4 months old. It had gray and white fur on its head and back, similar to that of a coyote. Its ears also pointed straight out rather than upward. But it wasn’t quite a coyote — or a dog.

A coydog is defined as the offspring of a male coyote and a female dog. The similar term “dogote” is used to describe the hybrid offspring of a male domestic dog and a female coyote. Nothing is known about the parents of Tucker’s discovery, however.

Tucker believes the parents are a coyote and a German Shepherd, because there have been reported sightings of a German Shepherd in the area. He thinks the animals may have been eating from pet food bowls in the neighborhood. He plans to set more traps this week.

“We intend on catching them,” he said.

The coydog was taken to the Chilton County Humane Society and had to be euthanized. Humane Society Director Joe Murphy described the animal as “extremely feral” and said it had not been socialized.

Even though Murphy has pet wolf hybrids rescued from other shelters, he said the Thorsby coydog displayed aggression around humans and would likely bite out of fear.

“I really don’t know many people who would want this dog,” Murphy said.

Thorsby Mayor Dearl Hilyer said the town is making an effort to respond to all animal-related calls.

“We are trying to address things as they come up,” Hilyer said.