Two More Unexplained Clusters Reported
POSTED: 3:58 pm CDT April 5, 2006
UPDATED: 4:37 pm CDT April 5, 2006
Email This Story | Print This Story
CHICAGO -- Two more unexplained clusters of dead animals have been found at a Southland nature preserve, similar to the odd grouping of dead raccoons, dogs and opossums collected last week at Kickapoo Preserve in Riverdale.
Officials looking into both cases say they think a person may have dumped the animal bodies but are reserving final judgment until after lab tests are completed.
Mike McCarthy, tennis coach at Rich South High School, said he came across seven or eight dead animals on a November walk along trails through the privately managed Izaak Walton Preserve in Homewood.
McCarthy said he found the bodies of coyotes, raccoons, opossums and rabbits, all within 20 feet of each other. None looked injured except for the rabbits, which had been partially eaten.
McCarthy said he found a second, similar pile after his dog led him to a wooded area of the preserve in January. Those animals were more decayed but also apparently uninjured, he said. "I was thinking maybe somebody shot them, but there were no blood trails, nothing," he said.
Homewood police and preserve officials said they received no report and didn't collect the bodies. McCarthy said the animals were gone within two days, so he didn't call in a report. But preserve president Robert Ahlf believes McCarthy and is concerned.
"What worries me is that something might be wrong in the preserve," Ahlf said. "It's bad enough if it's a dumping ground, but if someone is conducting malicious activities in the preserve, we need that stopped right now."
A local environmentalist reported finding 15 animals, including dogs, raccoons and opossums, in a 100-foot-wide area in Kickapoo last month. Cook County Forest Preserve police collected the bodies, which were sent to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Tuesday for examination.
Cook County Animal Control director Dan Parmer said it will take a week to get all of the answers back from the lab, but he's not sure what he'll find.
Click here to find out more!
"It is weird," Parmer said. "I think they were put there."
Parmer said the animals found are never together in natural circumstances. "Animals that are sick usually go off by themselves to die," he said.
"Raccoons and dogs don't associate together, and opossums and dogs don't associate together. Them crawling there to die together would be the most impossible thing you can imagine. The situation there almost looks like it was staged," he said.
Ahlf speculated someone could be running a "no questions asked" animal removal service without a license, trapping nuisance animals for homeowners and then killing the animals.