Meet Chicago’s Four-Legged Employees

Like many cities, Chicago has its fair share of four-legged employees.  There are of course Police/Fire dogs as well as assistance and therapy pups, but today I wanted to introduce everyone to some four-legged workers that most people never see, let alone know exist!  Recently, my friend was lucky enough to snap a photo of one of these night-shift workers on the job.

dog blog

This is no off-leash pet.  Any guesses who this is and what she is up to?

Believe it or not, and I definitely didn’t believe it at first, Chicago has over sixty coyotes living in the city!  These coyotes are no nuisance, they are tagged and tracked as they go about their business of keeping the urban population of rodents, geese and other small animals in check.  The coyotes are quite averse to human contact which is why many Chicago residents have no idea they even exist.

pet adventure

Coyotes: proudly serving Chicago (officially) since 2000 (Source: Wikipedia)

There is a great article/video about the coyotes here and more information about the Coyote Project can be found here.  These city ghosts, as the coyotes are known, can be found even in the most dense urban area of Chicago, so I hope to see one in person one day.  And if I am lucky enough to see a coyote it will give me the opportunity to ask if there are any job openings.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Eko definitely has the instincts for the gig!

As far as I know, Chicago’s Coyote Project is the only one of its kind.  Does anyone know of any similar programs?  I would love to read about how other places handle conservation issues in unique ways.

26 thoughts on “Meet Chicago’s Four-Legged Employees”

  1. There was an articvle once about one in Chicago that went into a local store and went to the refrigerated display that held sandwitches. Animal control had to get him out!!

  2. We also have had problems with local coyotes (and foxes) eating local pets – even jumping the fence to attack them in the back yards. these are primarily in the Denver suburbs, which are large cities themselves. Sometimes, we also have issues with mountain lions and bears. 😳 None of these get official recognition for vermin control, and we have a robot for goose dispersal. Seems a bit off.

    • The mixture of wildlife and urban development can cause some serious friction. I like the Coyote Project because it attempts to find a somewhat natural balance, but like you said, there are some serious drawbacks to consider.

      • I’ve thought of this post a few times lately, because I’ve seen a couple of coyotes with tracking collars on them in our residential neighborhood. We have such a large contingency of coyotes here, and some have bitten children — and they all eat our pets. So tracking collars are better than capture and removal, which is often discussed.

      • From what I have read it seems like capture and removal is a temporary solution since new coyotes almost inevitably move in. No program will ever be perfect and there is no one-size-fits-all answer, but I like Chicago’s program because it tries to establish an ecological balance and because it helps select for coyotes who don’t bother humans.

  3. Fingers crossed they can limit the numbers so they don’t start needing to appear during the day or everyone will start blaming them on missing pets. We love these conservation projects but so often they backfire because the human instinct is fear. Good luck dear coyotes!

  4. We are trying to get rid of them in our area as they are killing small dogs and stuff. They are wild and come into neighborhoods and cause trouble but hopefully the city ones are a bit better behaved. Does the city provide them with housing as well?

    • It is definitely a balancing act – wild coyotes are problematic in more rural areas, but rats are a much bigger public health problem in cities. For Chicago, coyotes are an asset but I know that in many other areas their presence is a big problem.

    • I’m sorry but I can’t resist……Emma, they live in a loft in Chicago and during the day they lay on the couch drinking beer and playing cards. Their loft kitchens have granite countertops and large screen TV’s. They prefer 2 bedroom lofts for when they have guests over. (I’m sorry Will but I couldn’t resist!) Sorry Emma!

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