Minnesota Man Brings Pet Coyote To Dog Park, Chaos Ensues. Is This Even Legal?
Every now and then a story crosses my PC that makes me shake my head in wonder. This is one of those tales that sounds like fake news, but it's true.
I work with a terrific meteorologist named Sam Ryan, who personally witnessed something absolutely bizarre at a dog park in Eden Prairie, southwest of Minneapolis. Sam was walking his dog when he encountered a coyote puppy running around, off-leash. According to Ryan, the owner was a younger guy, smoking a cigarette and wearing a black hoodie with a low-hanging baseball cap. When asked about his "pet" the man smiled and said, "Yep. 100% pure coyote." The coyote was reportedly playing quite well with other dogs who were doing more sniffing than usual....they were curious.
Ryan told me that he moved away, to the other end of the park. He then called park rangers at Three Rivers Park to report the coyote, just in case there was a future incident. At first, they said they would send out animal control. Ryan stopped them and repeated over his phone, "The coyote is someone's pet, and it's playing with the other dogs in the park." The lady on the other end of the phone was shocked.
Another officer called Ryan back. He said he checked and there are no state laws against having a coyote as a pet. But are there any rules at the dog park? Ryan asked. He was confused and stumbled and then said, "We've never in the history of the park had a call like this and therefore couldn't think of any rule on what animal you can actually bring to the dog park." He said they would be looking into it.
It is illegal to have a pet that is a crossbreed of a dog with a coyote, wolf, dingo or jackal. But there doesn't appear to be a Minnesota state law against having a pet coyote. I know, crazy huh?
If anyone asks, you probably can have a pet coyote, but do NOT keep a pet beaver, walleye or minnow. Minnesota statutes clearly state you can't have these "regulated animals" as pets:
Wait, I don't have the freedom to have a pet antelope or muskrat? Apparently not.
Sam Ryan is still dazed by what he witnessed, and he believes things could have easily gotten out of hand.
Note to self: leave your pet coyote at home or at least have it on a leash.
That said, my pet tarantula is relieved.