After helping what appeared to be a stray puppy on the side of the road, a family later realized they had in fact brought a small coyote into their home.
On May 2, the Cape Wildlife Center, located in Barnstable, Mass., uploaded a photo of an adorable furry animal to its Facebook page.
In the caption, the center explained that the animal was an Eastern Coyote pup and had recently been separated from his family.
After getting lost, the pup wandered off the side of a “busy road” until a family noticed him.
“He was then accidentally brought home by a local family after they mistakenly identified him as a lost puppy,” the post read.
The family discovered that the four-legged creature was not a pet and contacted the Cape Wildlife Center.
With assistance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Wildlife Hospital and Education Center then determined “there was no potential risk of exposure to rabies, and were able to l ‘cleared to receive care and have been cleared to rehabilitate by Mass Wildlife’.
At the time the post was shared, the coyote was being kept in an isolation ward while waiting to meet a “foster brother” from the Rhode Island Wildlife Clinic. The New England-based center said the two animals will be vaccinated and raised together in the facility’s outdoor cage.
“This case had a happy ending, but it could easily have turned out differently,” the Cape Wildlife Center wrote. The center has warned that coyotes can carry rabies, a viral disease that kills humans and other animals.
The message continued: “If the finders had been bitten, scratched or had prolonged contact, we would have been instructed to euthanize the pup and test for rabies.”
Cape Wildlife Center advised contacting the appropriate rescue resources before stepping in to help a wildlife animal in need.
In the comments, many social media users praised the family who unknowingly took in the coyote and others wondered about the pup’s future.
One asked, “Will he ever be released into the wild?”
The center replied, “Yes, they will be released into the wild later this year when they are ready.”
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