Mystery animal rescued from wild 'went berserk' in shelter, 'demolished' crate, climbed shelves, 'chewed' window seals — and escaped. But what is it?

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A mystery animal — possibly a coyote, possibly a dog, maybe a combination of the two, or perhaps something else entirely — “went berserk” in a western Pennsylvania shelter one night last week, “demolished” its cage, climbed shelves, and “chewed” window seals before escaping back into the wild,
PhillyVoice reported.


Say what?

The male animal began making headlines in mid-January after a woman
found him near her home in Westmoreland County, the outlet said.

The animal was being housed at Wildlife Works, a Youngwood non-profit that rehabilitates and releases distressed animals, PhillyVoice noted, adding that the creature's fur showed visible signs of mange.


The shelter also sent out blood samples from the animal for DNA analysis, which takes several weeks, the outlet said.

Then last Thursday morning, a Wildlife Works staff member arrived at the shelter to find it partially ransacked, with trash strewn all over, PhillyVoice said, adding that there were scratch marks on the walls, a window's seal and screen were torn apart — and the mystery animal's cage was open and empty.

The creature had escaped,
WJW-TV reported.

“The crate was just demolished. The hospital room was demolished. He had clambered up on a set of shelves and then reached over — this was no easy feat, let me tell you — he managed to stretch over to a window,” Beth Shoaf, Wildlife Works' executive director, told PhillyVoice earlier this week. “These windows are high at the top of the walls. They're not windows you look out of, you know? And he chewed the window seals to force the window open — and out he went!”


Shoaf added to the outlet that “nobody in the world thought something like this could happen. He was half-dead.”

PhillyVoice noted a Wildlife Works Facebook post — which has since been deleted — said the group is upset the animal escaped:

He never acted aggressive or distressed, and there had been no evidence of escape attempts. We had him for about a week, during which time he ate nutritious food and received treatment for his mange and secondary infections. We can only guess he was starting to feel somewhat better and decided it was time to go.

Hopefully those of you who know Wildlife Works know this is NOT [our] standard of care, and will understand how devastated we are — not just for ourselves but for that poor creature out there in the cold again struggling to survive.

Shoaf told the outlet she took down the Facebook post with the photos after Wildlife Works was “deluged” with comments — most positive, but some hostile. PhillyVoice said one person threatened to come to the shelter and hunt down the animal.

She also noted to the outlet that the shelter is trying to lure the animal back and has set traps in hopes of recovering him, but there has been no sign of the animal since his escape.




Mystery animal awaiting DNA results escapes rescue facility | NewsNation Prime

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Name that animal…

While Wildlife Works waits for DNA results, Shoaf noted to PhillyVoice that the shelter has received many guesses regarding what exactly the mystery animal is.

“Everything from an abused greyhound to Chupacabra. Seriously. There were lots of people that thought it might be Chupacabra,” she told the outlet, in reference to the mythical creature said to drink livestock blood. “The only place I ever saw Chupacabra was on ‘Scooby Doo,' and it didn't look like a dog.”

PhillyVoice readers have said the animal is a Mexican hairless dog or a coydog, the outlet noted.

“I did not realize how many species of hairless dogs there are,” Shoaf added the PhillyVoice. “There's something called a Xolo [another name for a Mexican hairless] and there's a dhole. It was very enlightening.”




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