Ashna Satpathy, Staff Writer
A peculiar crisis has engulfed the Lincoln Park and Gold Coast areas of Chicago, a crisis resulting in a bitten child and the lockdown of neighborhood schools, leaving residents mortified: coyotes are on the loose.
“A 6-year-old child was running up the hill north of the [Peggy Notebaert] Museum on Cannon Drive with his caretaker right behind him. The coyote was in the grassy area just over the hill and the child may have inadvertently gotten close to the animal. The coyote bit the boy. The caretaker was able to get the coyote to release the boy by kicking it and yelling. The boy is in good condition. According to Cook County, there has not been a case of a rabid coyote in Cook County since the 1950s,” says Cook County Alderman Michelle Smith in a concerned email to residents. Furthermore, the head of Chicago Animal Care and Control Kelley Gandurski held a press conference where she explained the issue in detail.
Latin students living in the area expressed their concerns about the animals being so close to home. “It’s scary because apparently all of these coyotes are really sick,” said junior Zoie Yannias. “They are injured or there’s something wrong with them; they are limping in the videos.” She is especially worried for her dog: “they are a lot more afraid of people, making them more hostile, so they’re going after people and their dogs.” These concerns were heightened when she learned that other people had the same worries. “My apartment building got a notice not to walk dogs because [coyotes] were spotted in front of my house,” she said.
Further precautions were taken on Thursday morning, as neighborhood schools Lincoln Park High School and Lincoln Elementary were placed on “temporary soft lockdown” after sighting a coyote in front of the high school. “We were in our third period of classes and then there was an announcement saying that we were going to be on lockdown because there was a coyote on campus,” said Lincoln Park High School junior Leah Kwiatkoski. According to NBC Chicago, “the lockdown restricted the students from going outside while Chicago Police and Animal Care and Control ‘assessed the situation.’” As it turned out, “none of the students seemed to be too freaked out about the situation; it wasn’t a big deal for us,” said Kwiatkoski.
As stressed in Alderman Smith’s email, “Chicago Animal Care and Control is urging residents to call 311 if they see a coyote. If you see a coyote in our Ward, after reporting to CACC, please also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 773-348-9500 and we will relay that information to CACC immediately.”