An Iowa man says an abandoned coyote pup he adopted became his emotional support animal.
Matt Stokes has now hired an attorney to help him get his coyote back from a sanctuary where officials placed him.
In April, Stokes noticed a pack of coyotes.
"They ain't bothered me and they keep the raccoons away and woodchucks away. I said it works out having them here,” Stokes said.
But that only lasted a few weeks. Stokes says that shortly after, the mom and other pups left, leaving just one behind.
"So I put food out again and water and kept checking him for another week. It was two weeks he was out here by himself,” Stokes said.
So Stokes named the coyote “Drifter.” He said the pup helped his own illness.
"If it wasn't for him, I would probably be missing my toe, or my foot or my leg. 'Cause I got an infection of the bone. I had to make sure I took care of myself so I could take care of him,” Stokes said.
During all the time they bonded, Stokes said he never felt unsafe. That’s why he was shocked to receive a call from Waterloo (Iowa) Police that authorities had removed Drifter from Stokes’ property.
The animal is now at Wildthunder Wildlife and Animal Rehabilitation.
The owner of Wildthunder said the goal is to release Drifter back into the wild.
The owner added that it’s dangerous for coyotes to run through neighborhoods.
"He's never been wild; he's always been tame,” he said. "We would lay on the couch on Saturday afternoons and take a nap together. He's my buddy.”
Stokes even took the step to get a doctor’s note certifying Drifter as an emotional support animal that helps with depression and anxiety. He plans to apply for a license to keep a dangerous animal.
"He'll never make it in the wild. He won't make it a day,” Stokes said.