CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Animal rescuers in Pennsylvania are awaiting DNA test results to identify a mysterious four-legged creature that was found by a woman’s home.
The rescue happened Jan 17. The woman, who lives in Fairfield Township, said she found the unidentified animal near her front door by tracking its pawprints 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 in the rescue, says the animal showed no signs of aggression.
“I deal typically with aggressive dogs, and they usually make a stance,” she said. “This animal was trying to retreat. It was trying to make itself smaller; it made no signs of aggression towards us whatsoever.”
Dillman said the animal was in pretty bad shape when they took it in.
“He was completely emaciated. He had hardly no fur … I do think that this animal looked at her [the rescuer] and just knew that she was a pure human, and she was going to help him.”
The animal was eventually taken to Wildlife Works for the DNA test. The rescue facility is currently treating the animal for mange.
Dillman said the animal is doing well overall. She visited the animal last week and even brought her dog along for the ride to see if the animal would warm up to another possible furry friend.
“He was so afraid, you could just tell, you know. He looked away and he tried to make himself small again,” she said. “But I do think he’ll recover by spring and be able to be released.”
Pictures of the animal have circulated around social media and many are wondering if it is a dog or a coyote. Dillman said she believes the animal is a coyote, simply because of where it was found.
“If you look at where the finder’s home is, she has woods on either side. And I remember when we pulled on her lane (street), I looked and I said, ‘I don’t think this is a dog any more.’ And then arriving on the scene, you can clearly see it’s not a dog.”
There is currently a deal between the two rescue facilities about who will care for the animal once the DNA results come in.
“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 dogs that come in, in this condition.”
Dillman said people have reached out and asked if the animal would be available for adoption. But she says it’s unlikely that this animal will be able to go to a home.
“In the unlikely event this is a dog, it is a feral dog. It’s going to need years … of rehabilitation to teach it to be at a home, to teach it to be around humans, perhaps other animals … and something like that is very traumatizing taking it out of what it (is) used to and forcing it to acclimate to what it’s not.”
Dillman said if the dog is released in their care, she is confident that she will be able to rehabilitate the animal.
DNA results are expected to be in the next couple of weeks.