A spokesperson for Rabies Officer Dr. Larry Chasteen, whose office is where the coyote’s body was dropped off last week, said Friday that the animal was shot and killed on private property off U.S. 411 south of Ashville.
The owner of the property notified Chasteen’s office this week to give the location of the coyote.
Health Department and Conservation Department officials continued gathering information about the incident Friday.
The coyote was reportedly pursuing some cattle on the property where it was shot.
Chasteen issued a reminder to people in the area earlier this week to make sure animals’ rabies vaccinations are up to date and to keep a watch for unusual behavior in animals that have been known to carry the rabies virus, such as raccoons or other coyotes.
If the animals seem to show no fear toward humans, it can be a sign of the virus, he said.
“Coyotes are normally shy,” he said.
Coyotes are pack animals, and Chasteen said this adds to the possibility of having another infected animal.
Rabies is usually spread by saliva and can be transferred to any mammal. It affects the central nervous system and travels to the brain if untreated, causing death.
In cattle, Chasteen said early signs of the disease include lack of appetite, staggering and general lack of energy.
Chasteen said the confirmed case of rabies was the first for a four-legged animal in St. Clair County in his 22 years as rabies officer.
He recalled only two other rabies incidents, both involving bats.