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The Tale of a Coyote’s Visit to Carytown

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending thanks to the work of Richmond Wildlife Center and RACC.




This story was posted by the Richmond Wildlife Center on their Facebook page. If you’d like to help the Richmond Wildlife Center consider making a donation by picking something off of their Amazon Wishlist or make a cash donation on their website.

Yesterday around 730am we received our first phone call about a “fox” held up under someone’s car in Carytown. The car was parked just less than 3 feet from the backdoor of 8 apartments, one housing small toddlers and many with small pets. This vehicle was also parked in an area adjacent to a bustling area for Carytown parking behind Lex’s Of Carytown

It was a day I was working the center without volunteers so it would be the end of the day before I would be able to respond.

I started receiving more phone calls again around 4pm by scared and concerned residents that the “fox” was still present. Several callers indicated animal control had been called and that they were told animal control would not respond to the call. I had the callers text me photos of the animal so I could verify species and see if I could see any signs of injury.

To my surprise it was not a fox at all. It was a very scared looking adult coyote right there in Carytown.
Bless her heart, my volunteer Jen, who is also vaccinated for rabies like myself, finished up her paying job and met me to help me assess this coyote and help residents.

It is illegal to rehabiliate coyotes in Virginia unfortunately. Mostly due to the terrible stigma humans have placed on these animals unnecessarily and public pressure on the government. If she had been hit by car, was sick or injured in any way all we would be able to do legally, no matter if she could easily be cared for, is euthanasia. This is what misinformation and fear does, adds a species to the state mandated euthanasia list.

After assessing the situation she appeared to be without any obvious injury, but a complete physical exam would need to be performed. She was petrified of the foreign world, lots and lots of traffic, and us humans she found herself surrounded by.

We do not own a catchpole. We needed to find one to borrow one. We called Richmond Animal Care and Control dispatch and the Supervising Officer directly to inquire if we could merely borrow a catchpole. More than 30 minutes passed before we received a response from animal control. In the interim we called a local veterinary emergency center who did not have a catch pole as well as City of Richmond Fire Stations 12 & 18 to see if they had catch poles, they did.not.

Please consider visiting our Amazon Wishlist where we have placed a number of items we need to include a catchpole.

Animal control arrived with a catchpole and we worked together as a team to assess this animal. Once the coyote was in the catchpole, I pushed the coyote forward towards the officer as he gently pulled the animal out. I quickly covered its eyes and performed a thorough physical exam. There were no injuries. She was completely healthy other than being petrified and developing stress/anxiety diarrhea. She could be immediately released in a safer area. She was carried to the animal control vehicle and prepared for release.

Animal control was on their way to respond to a Black Vulture down in Churchill before getting our pleas for a catchpole. So we opted to take their Vulture call while they headed to send this poor girl home.

Coyotes are not vicious crazed animals who will attack just because. She was exhibiting normal wild animal behavior. Petrified of the unpredictable animals around her, humans. Every animal has to eat to survive, but they aren’t stalking and hunting you down. All healthy wild animals are more afraid of you than you are of them. Anything they do, is just a fight, flight, freeze, or fawn response to protect themselves from YOU, the apex big scary predator. This coyote chose a freeze and fawn response because it was not safe for flight due to the traffic and human activity. Smart girl.

We are glad this one went on to be released by animal control. Coyotes are an important part of our ecosystem to keep checks and balances in place with the species in nature.

Thank you to the officers for their assistance and team effort.

Video of her release in the comments and provided by Officer Leinberger of Richmond Animal Care and Control.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.