Four rescued coyotes, living in comfortable pens at a Tinley Park residence were dragged, tranquilized and removed from their home with catch poles as they rolled, choked and gasped for air. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources conservation police, accompanied by Cook County Animal Control officers, seized the coyotes that had been in the care of Tomi Tranchita for the past 13 years.
“My coyotes were taken 4-24-19 by IDNR. I’ve had Licensing for 13 years. They were brutally treated for no reason. They were shot with tranquilizer guns, choked with wire nooses on poles. Drugged and bleeding, they were dragged out of their spacious outdoor pens, choking and gasping for air, rolling as they tried to get away from the pain. They were pulled out of their safe places with no empathy or regard for suffering. They could have died in the process and they are still at risk in a holding facility, likely very traumatized and hiding in a corner and not eating.
According to Tranchita’s Facebook page, Animal Control officers confiscated paperwork and the coyotes named Luna, 13; Sandy, 13; Bella, 10; and Peytah, 4. She has since been told she will never see the coyotes again.
“My four coyotes were all found by concerned citizens and imprinted on humans and determined unreleasable. I never had an intention to live with coyotes but as fate would have it, they became the most important endeavor of my life. I was volunteering for a rescue group when coyotes came into my life, 13 years ago. Our local shelter had been given coyote pups by a man who thought they were dogs. … And the journey began …
The sanctuary I have provided for them has been the only place they have known their entire lives. This has been their pack and their home. This was their safe space. I was able and willing to provide them a safe haven for the rest of their natural lives.”
Luna was terribly frightened and injured during the seizure:
Officials cited keeping wildlife as pets in Illinois is illegal and issued the following wildlife violations to Tomi:
- Unlawful take of a fur-bearing animal (coyotes)
- Unlawful collection of a protected species without a permit
- Unlawful take of a protected species and keeping it alive
According to the Chicago Tribune, however Tranchita said she told the officers that she has a USDA license. The USDA’s List of Active Licensees and Registrants, Tranchita’s certificate is good through March 7, 2020.
“I’ve had four coyotes in my care,” Tranchita stated. The older three are considered elderly and don’t have many years left. I’ve always maintained licensing and took excellent care of them. I’ve been active in education the public about the value of coyotes in our fragile ecosystem, as well as how to peacefully co-exist…I am the only human they have known on a daily basis for their whole lives.”
Tranchita said she does not consider the coyotes pets and is against anyone breeding them to become pets, however after more than a decade of caring for them, she has grown attached to the animals. Everyday for the past 13 years, she has fed them kibble and raw meat and maintained the double-fenced pens to keep the coyotes and her neighbors safe. Coyotes are not fussy eaters. They eat rodents, rabbits, fish and frogs, but will also eat vegetation and are very beneficial to the present ecosystem by killing rats, mice and grasshoppers.
“It’s Saturday May 4. I have not been allowed to see them although I have begged and asked and been told there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to be in contact. NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE.
PLEASE make some calls to Illinois DNR and CCAC and help me get them home! Help me get a visitation NOW. Although I would be relieved to see them, this is really more about THEM. I know they are frightened after this ordeal. They are in an unfamiliar place, and they would be frightened even if they were taken humanely. I KNOW they would benefit from seeing me. I’m the only human they have lovingly greeted and looked for on a daily basis to provide food, comfort, and love,” Tomi posted on her Facebook page Saturday.
To help, contact the Department of Natural Resources www.dnr.illinois.gov
under Contact you can email a question or comment.
The main phone number is 217-782-6302
Please contact Cook County Animal Control
Deputy Director Mark Rosenthal
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