Hiker rescued a ‘puppy’ in a California canyon. Except it wasn’t, humane society says

Courtesy of the Humane Society of San Diego

He may be a good boy, but he’s no puppy.

A San Diego-area hiker who came upon an abandoned adorable while walking his dog in a canyon brought the pup home before ringing up officers from the local humane society, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Monday.

Only the days-old pup wasn’t a pup. It was a coyote, said San Diego Humane Society officials, the newspaper reported.


It’s unknown whether the coyote pup was abandoned or whether its mother was in the area, though Dariel Walker, a San Diego Humane Society spokeswoman, told The Sacramento Bee on Tuesday that it is common for coyote mothers to leave their young for the day while they hunt for food.

Taking a coyote home? That’s rare, Walker said.

“It’s not very common. That’s the first time I’ve heard of that happening. It’s a rare occurrence.”

The March 22 call led Humane Society officers to the man’s home in Tierrasanta, near San Diego, a hamlet known for its open space, its popular hiking trails and its coyote population.

“It’s a pretty common occurrence for our officers to take calls on coyote sightings” in the area, Walker said.

A quick check confirmed that the pup was a coyote before officials made the call to bundle up the little one for the trip to a wildlife sanctuary in Ramona, San Diego County. The Fund for Animals Wildlife Sanctuary raises and rehabilitates animals then returns them to the wild.

“He was very surprised,” though Walker gave the man a little bit of a break. “It’s very difficult to distinguish between a coyote and a dog,” she said before offering a hint. Follow the nose.

“The elongated snout, that’s the easiest way,” Walker said. “And, they’re just larger.”