Chicago officials are investigating a series of coyote attacks that left three victims hospitalized with injuries.
Over the past two weeks, at least 10 coyote sightings have been reported, with four of those involving some kind of attack on a human or animal, according to CBS affiliate WBBM.
A spokesperson with the Chicago Police Department tells PEOPLE that there were two coyote attacks on Wednesday evening — one involving a 5-year-old boy, the other a 32-year-old man.
The young boy was “bitten multiple times” by a coyote around 4 p.m. on the 2400 block of N. Cannon, located near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The CPD spokesperson confirms that the victim suffered bites and lacerations to his ear and head.
Following the attack, the boy was transported to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he remained in stable condition as of press time. Meanwhile, the coyote fled the scene, running northbound from the location, the CPD spokesperson says.
Just 40 minutes after the attack, a Twitter user spotted a coyote two blocks away from the Lincoln Park Zoo and managed to capture a video of the wild animal limping as it roamed the Chicago streets. (It is unclear if this coyote was the same one who attacked the boy.)
Later that evening, the CPD spokesperson says a man was walking on the sidewalk of the 700 block of N. Fairbanks when “a coyote came from behind and bit him in the buttocks.”
The victim checked himself into Northwestern Hospital “with a scratch to the buttocks” and was listed in good condition, with an expectation to be treated and released.
Chicago Police and Animal Care and Control later confirmed on Facebook that they were dispatched to the scenes on Wednesday and are currently investigating the incidents.
“CACC is aware of and tracking two coyote incidents in the city from last night. Inspectors have been dispatched to investigate the incidents and any coyote sightings in the city,” the spokesperson wrote. “Though it is unusual for a coyote to approach or bite a person, residents should take caution if they encounter a coyote and notify Chicago Animal Care and Control by calling 311.”
The back-to-back incidents weren’t the only coyote trouble that the city has seen recently.
On Dec. 29, a 5-lb. toy poodle puppy named Ki-Ki was attacked by a coyote in Old Town. The little pooch barely survived the mauling, according to WBBM, which reported that the wild animal managed to grab Ki-Ki in its mouth and run away.
The coyote eventually dropped Ki-Ki and ran when a stranger began throwing shoes in its direction. The 8-month-old pup, however, was rushed to the vet, underwent emergency surgery, and suffered injuries to her leg, head, and nasal cavity, WBBM reported.
The night prior, a 7-year-old Schnauzer named Missy was attacked by a coyote in the Cabrini Rowhouses, according to the local outlet. The dog did not suffer any injuries from the incident.
In addition, several city residents have reported coyote sightings extending from the North Side and Lincoln Park to Old Town and the old Cabrini-Green area, according to WBBM.
One coyote was even captured howling on video by the local outlet as it spent more than four hours in a Chicago yard.
At this time, it is unclear why the city has seen an increase in coyote sightings lately.
Animal experts from Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute spoke to WBBM and said they believe coyotes have adjusted to city living due to the food that’s available, such as rodents.
“In general, coyotes are adapting to cities. They’re doing better and better over time as they learn how to make use of these urban landscapes that we’ve created,” Seth Magle, a spokesperson from the institute, told the outlet. “I feel confident in saying I think that their numbers are generally on the upswing.”
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The Humane Society of the United States said that coyote attacks on humans are rare, especially because the wild animals are nocturnal and tend to feed on small mammals.
In the event that a person comes into contact with a coyote, the HSUS advises that people stand their ground, shout, and throw something in the coyote’s direction — a tactic known as hazing, which can reinstill their natural fear of humans.
If a coyote does happen to bite a person, it is mandated that it be targeted and removed from the population, according to the HSUS. Most health officials will require that the coyote be tested for rabies, which also requires the animal to be killed.