YUMA, Colo. — A woman was bit by a coyote pup Tuesday after multiple families tried to pet and play with the young animal in Yuma. The pup was euthanized.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the bite was minor, but the woman is undergoing rabies protocol.
CPW said this should serve as a reminder to always leave baby wildlife alone and never feed them, as the pup was euthanized so a brain sample could be sent to the Northeast Colorado Health Department to test for rabies.
"In these cases, wildlife is always the ultimate loser," CPW said.
The only way to test for rabies — which is always fatal unless a patient gets an immediate series of vaccinations and treatments — is laboratory examination of brain tissue. The results of the lab test are pending for the pup.
CPW officers first learned about the incident after receiving a call from a doctor's office at Yuma District Hospital, where the woman went for treatment after the bite.
"Upon investigation, it was apparent this young coyote had been fed by people in the community, causing it to become habituated," CPW said. "When wildlife officers went to seize the coyote, which had been taken in by another individual to his shop, the coyote was wearing a dog collar and had a leash on it."
Feeding big game in Colorado, which includes coyotes, is illegal and fines start at $100.
Animals that become habituated often learn to expect food from people, which can lead to aggressive interactions, CPW said. This is a frequent problem with deer, elk, bears, coyotes, foxes and other animals.