Ricky Gervais Calls for the Release of Confined Coyote to Wildlife Sanctuary
Celebrity and animal rights advocate Ricky Gervais has joined In Defense of Animals in calling on Cook County officials to release Rocky, a coyote confined in a cage at the River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook, Illinois.
In Defense of Animals is collaborating with Chicago Alliance for Animals, a grassroots organization that has been working for months on the campaign to free Rocky. More than 20,500 supporters have signed our alert calling for Rocky’s transfer to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.
Rocky is a 4-year-old coyote who was surrendered to Animal Control in Tennessee when mistaken for a German Shepherd puppy. Once labeled “imprinted on humans” and deemed unreleasable into the wild, he was transferred to Cook County Forest Preserve's River Trail Nature Center in Illinois. There, he’s been living alone in a small, dismal enclosure next to the parking lot for over four years. Rocky exhibits numerous signs of stress, such as pacing, biting and licking his paws, and scratching, for which he is on antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications. Throughout the winter months, his water bowl was observed repeatedly frozen solid. After the staff was questioned, the bowl was moved out of view. Rocky's environment violates the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blue book Forest Preserve policy manuals on housing wildlife and Illinois' Humane Care for Animals Act, as well as the Forest Preserve's own Mission Statement.
Despite increasing calls to release Rocky, and widespread media coverage with features in the Chicago Sun-Times, WGN-TV, and Chicago’s PBS, among others, on July 26, Cook County officials decided to keep Rocky at the nature center and simply enlarge his enclosure. In Defense of Animals, Chicago Alliance for Animals, Ricky Gervais, and countless activists are pushing back against this decision and demanding that he be released to the wildlife sanctuary. It is inhumane to keep a coyote alone in a cage (regardless of the size) for the rest of his life. Rocky deserves to have plenty of space to roam, hide in underground tunnels, integrate with his own species, and be taken off the drugs that are used to address his stress. He should be free to live in as natural an environment as possible, and living at the sanctuary will meet his true needs.
“Rocky should not suffer the consequences of human error– it’s not his fault that people mistook him for a German Shepherd puppy. His physical and psychological deterioration must end. The fact that Rocky is on antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications is evidence of his inhumane captivity and urgent action is needed to help him. I stand with In Defense of Animals and demand Rocky be surrendered to an accredited sanctuary where he will be able to thrive for the rest of his life." - Ricky Gervais
Keep the pressure on for Rocky by making calls, posting on social media, and signing and sharing our alert.