HANOVER, Ill. - Police in a Chicago suburb are warning residents who have called in about "zombie" dogs that the animals are actually mange-infested coyotes.
The Hanover Police Department said in an Aug. 30 Facebook post that it has received several messages from citizens reporting "what appear to be malnourished or neglected stray dogs."
"These are NOT lost pets, but are in fact coyotes," the department wrote. "There is unfortunately an increase in sarcoptic mange in the urban coyote populations which has caused these normally nocturnal animals to become more active during the day."
The department says the infected animals lose hair and develop infections, "eventually looking like some sort of 'zombie' dog."
Police said people should keep keep food inside and secure garbage that could attract the animals, the Belleville News-Democrat reported. Mange is highly contagious, so pets should be kept away from the animals.
Though coyotes are abundant in the area, the newspaper reported, there have been no documented coyote bites in Illinois in the past 30 years, according to the University of Illinois.
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