Hybrid coyote sightings prompt warning at college campus

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SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – People are being warned about hybrid coyotes spotted roaming around a local college campus. Those hybrids are called “coydogs” and are the offspring of coyotes and dogs.

“I go out at least two or three times a week,” said USC Upstate student Caleb Lynn. “I like to stay healthy.”

Staying safe in the process is also crucial for school leaders. “We have a lot of walkers and runners on campus,” said USC Upstate Communications Director Carolyn Farr Shanesy. That’s why they’re alerting students and the surrounding community about a pack of 4 to 5 coy dogs roaming the campus this week.

Unlike an actual coyote, seen more often in the spring time, S.C. Department of Natural Resources says coydogs are rare in the Upstate.

“They were more common in South Carolina when we first started getting coyotes,” said SC DNR Assistant Chief of Wildlife Tom Swayngham.

School leaders say recent developments near the campus could have disrupted the ecosystem and shifted the animals towards the campus.

Farr Shanesy has seen a coydog herself.

“I spotted a small dog walking along East Campus Boulevard and I thought wow he looks like a coyote,” she said. “He got a little skittish and ran off into the woods.”

Two pups were recently trapped.

“Also the Palmetto Trail head is here on campus and so we have a lot of walkers and runners who use that trail head and we just want to make sure they use caution,” Farr Shanesy said.

She says sightings were on the back of the campus along North Campus Boulevard and near the soccer stadium.

“They’re not thought to be any more aggressive than a regular coyote and coyotes are not very aggressive,” said Swayngham. However, he says there is the risk of rabies. “If it’s rabid, it’s very obvious. You know, its staggering around if it’s intoxicated.”

A message was sent to make students aware.

Anyone who sees a coydog is asked to contact campus police. The number to call is 864-503-7777.

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