Dog or coyote? Rescue awaits DNA results to identify emaciated animal

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CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) – Animal rescuers in Pennsylvania are awaiting DNA test results to identify a mysterious four-legged creature that has been found in a woman’s home.

The rescue took place on January 17. The woman, who lives in Fairfield Township, said she found the unidentified animal near her front door by following its paw prints in the snow. She kept the animal inside her basement until TJ’s Rescue Hideaway took the animal away from her home.

Maria Dillman, who helped with the rescue, says the animal showed no signs of aggression.

“I usually deal with aggressive dogs, and they usually take a stand,” she said. “This animal was trying to retreat. He was trying to make himself smaller; he made no sign of aggression towards us.

Dillman said the animal was in very poor condition when they took him in.

“He was completely emaciated. It had almost no fur…I think that animal was looking at her [the rescuer] and just knew that she was a pure human, and that she was going to help him.

The animal was eventually taken to Wildlife Works for DNA testing. The rescue center is currently treating the animal for mange.

Dillman said the animal was doing well overall. She visited the animal last week and even took her dog to see if the animal would warm up to another possible furry friend.

“He was so scared, you could tell, you know. He looked away and he tried to make himself small again,” she said. “But I think he will recover in the spring and can be released.”

Photos of the animal have been circulating on social media and many are wondering if it is a dog or a coyote. Dillman said she thought the animal was a coyote, simply because of where it was found.

“If you look at where the finder’s house is, it has woods on either side. And I remember when we pulled up to his driveway (street), I looked and said, ‘I don’t think that’s a dog anymore.’ And then when you get to the scene, you can clearly see that it’s not a dog.

There is currently an agreement between the two rescue centers as to who will care for the animal once the DNA results are received.

“If he was half dog and half coyote, he would go to the sanctuary. If he was more dog than coyote, he would potentially come back to us, because I rehabilitate the dogs that come in, in that state.

Dillman said people reached out and asked if the animal would be available for adoption. But she says it’s unlikely this animal will go to a foster.

“In the unlikely event that it’s a dog, it’s a wild dog. It’s going to take years… of rehabilitation to teach it to be at home, to teach it to be around humans, maybe other animals… and something like that is very traumatic taking him out of what he (is) used to and forcing him to acclimatize to what he is not.

Dillman said if the dog was in their care, she was confident she would be able to rehabilitate the animal.

DNA results should be available in the coming weeks.

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