Suburban woman demands state return seized coyotes

A south suburban woman is howling mad after state animal officers seized four coyotes from her backyard rescue shelter.

The state says you can't keep wildlife as pets. But the woman believes the coyotes could die if they don't return home.

For the past 13 years, Tomi Tranchita has been caring for wild coyotes in the backyard of her Tinley Park home.

But it all came to an unexpected end on April 24th.

"Banging on my door and yelling my name at 7:30 in the morning,” Tranchita said.

Tranchita shot cellphone video as officers from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Cook County Animal Control showed up with a search warrant and seized all four coyotes.

The officers shot three of the coyotes with tranquilizer darts, which Tranchita says caused them to bleed.

"I just don't understand why they were taken so brutally,” Tranchita said. “A bunch of large men that the coyotes were unfamiliar with. Scared them to death, flipped over their hiding places."

In a statement, an IDNR spokesperson says keeping wildlife as pets is illegal and says Tranchita was issued three citations, including keeping the coyotes without a permit.

But Tranchita says she has permits and licensing from the USDA, which has conducted regular inspections of her shelter.

The coyotes were sent to a wildlife rehab facility in the northern suburbs and Tranchita is not allowed to visit.

"I want my coyotes back. This is their home,” Tranchita said. “This is what they've known as a safe haven their entire lives. To put them now in unfamiliar places at their age is just cruel."