Coyotes trapped by U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services outside Tucumcari have tested positive for contagious-strain mange.
During a meeting of the Quay County Commission Monday, Ron Jones, USDA wildlife specialist, said two of 12 coyotes trapped in the past three weeks have tested positive for red mange.
Jones said the coyotes have moved closer to Tucumcari and residents have reported them killing cats and trying to get into yards after small dogs. He said because of the drought, the coyotes are moving closer to town in search of food.
"This drought has affected all of the wildlife in the county," Jones said.
Jones said residents still have grass, which attracts rabbits, prime prey for coyotes. He said this also exposes family pets as a potential food source.
Jones said coyotes carry mites, which can transmit the disease to a family's pet it encounters while searching for food. He said the coyotes testing positive were trapped south of the city near the New Mexico State Police headquarters on State Highway 209 and along Interstate 40 near Flying J.
Veterinarian Jean Corey told the commissioners she has diagnosed two cases of red mange in pets so far this year in Quay County.
Corey said this is the first year in her 30 years of practice in Quay County that she has seen this type of mange. She said mange is a highly contagious disease that is passed by contact with the infected animal and can potentially be passed to humans.
Corey said mange usually starts around the elbow area on the animals and looks crusty and then starts spreading to the legs, chest, stomach and possibly the ears. She said mange is very itchy so the animals are always scratching and making the sores worse.
Jones said in the advanced stages of red mange, coyotes have been seen with no hair on the bodies except for a few tufts of hair on the tails. He said their skin will turn a dark blue or black and will they will have sores all over their bodies from scratching.
Also on Monday:
• Commissioners approved the amended 2012-2013 Resolution No. 21 and Proclamation of Special Quay County election for Twelve Shores.
• Assessor Janie Hoffman recommended commissioners not to pass Resolution No. 22, property tax equity because of the language changes that were made.
• Extension Agent Tom Dominguez drafted a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services concerning the Lesser Prairie Chicken, opposing attempts to list it as a threatened species.
• Undersheriff Larry Cooksey said during the month of February the sheriff's office had four arrests, 385 service calls and two sex offender registrations.
• Road Superintendent Larry Moore said signs for Quay Road 64 has been installed, they will be adding stripes to the road and engineers have approved the project. Commissioners approved the 2013-2014 New Mexico Department of Transportation road projects funding application.
• The county extension office will be moving back in the Terry Turner building Monday.