TIERRASANTA, CALIF. — Humane officers in southern California got a call about an abandoned puppy that had been found in a canyon. After going to check out the little dog, they were surprised to discover it was not a dog at all, but a coyote.
The San Diego Humane Society said they put the coyote pup into the care of Project Wildlife so professionals could care for it until releasing it back into the wild.
While some people on Facebook were interested in adopting the coyote (which is illegal in California), others were concerned about disturbing wildlife that may not have truly been in any danger.
The shelter said it’s best to observe animals found in the wild for a while to ensure they actually are abandoned. It’s normal for parents to leave their babies alone during the day or for a while to hunt. In this case, the person who called about the abandoned pup had already removed it from the canyon and took it home since he thought it was a dog. The exact location where he found it was unknown, so the shelter didn’t want to risk returning the pup to a place where it may now be endangered and away from its mother.
According to the humane society, domesticated puppies and coyotes pups are very difficult to tell apart, but the best way to do so is by looking at the snout. Coyotes have elongated snouts. Coyote pups are also bigger and have white or whitish-gray toes.