OAKLAND COUNTY (WWJ) – Authorities attempting to rescue a coyote suffering from gunshot wounds off dangerous ice in Waterford Township fear the worst after attempts to reach the wild animal failed.
The Oakland County Sherriff’s Office said they dispatched their Search and Rescue Team after receiving a call around 9:13 p.m. Thursday evening about a coyote that has been shot by an unknown person.
The caller said the wild animal was suffering and dragging its hind legs on the frozen surface of Watkins Lake near the 4300 block of South Shore St.
The sheriff’s office said local residents attempted an earlier rescue of the coyote, but were forced to turn back due to dangerous ice conditions. Authorities with the Waterford Township Police Department and the Waterford Regional Fire Department also attempted to reach the animal with no luck.
When the Search and Rescue Team reached the scene, rescuers were able to locate the coyote – who managed to drag itself over 200 feet from the shore – with thermal imaging.
Authorities confirmed the animal couldn’t make use of its hind legs.
“[The team] deployed a hovercraft with rescue swimmers to locate the injured coyote,” the OCSO said in a report. “SSRT conducted a search of the area with night vision and thermal imaging, however, were unable to relocate the coyote.”
It is believed the animal fell through the ice and was unable to pull itself out from the water.
The OCSO strongly urged residents to stay off the ice and once again set out a reminder that warming temperatures make conditions on frozen bodies of water extremely dangerous.
While wild animals fare well when out on the ice, the OCSO did acknowledge instances were they fall through tend to be cases where the animals is sick or injured.
Residents were asked to contact the Sheriff’s Operation Center at 248-858-4951 if the coyote is spotted again.