Skip to main content

County Services           How Do I?     

Health Alert: Potentially Rabid Coyote in the Monkey Run Natural Area (Dryden, NY)

(ITHACA, NY, June 4, 2024) – Tompkins County Whole Health’s Environmental Health Division (TCWH EH) is alerting the community to multiple reports of a potentially rabid coyote in the Monkey Run Natural Area of the Cornell Botanical Gardens (Cayuga Trail & Dryden Rail Trail). Cornell Botanical Gardens has closed the trails of the Monkey Run Natural Area until further notice while this situation is investigated. The Monkey Run area of concern covers the area bounded by Hanshaw Road (to the north), Route 13 (to the east), Freese Road (to the west), and Route 366 (to the south).

Multiple people and dogs have been attacked by a coyote in this area over the past three days. Out of an abundance of caution, TCWH EH advises everyone to avoid this area and to report any past exposure to our office by calling 607-274-6688 or emailing

Sightings of the coyote should be reported to the Ithaca non-emergency dispatch number at: 607-273-8000 to report location.

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating the area and Cornell University Police is aware of the situation.

Healthy coyotes generally avoid all human contact and rarely approach humans, unless the humans approach dens or their offspring. It is normal for healthy coyotes to look thin and for their coats to be matted or disheveled as they shed their winter coats in the spring. Females may act aggressively to protect kits/dens at this time of year as well.

A rabid animal will display signs of illness and atypical aggressive behavior. Wild animals should not be approached, touched or kept. Dogs should be kept on leashes while hiking and in public spaces to avoid encounters with wild animals, as well as unsupervised encounters with other dogs and people.

Tompkins County Whole Health reminds everyone to:

  1. Avoid contact with any unfamiliar cats or dogs and any wild animals.
  2. All cats, dogs and ferrets must have initial rabies vaccinations administered no later than four months of age. Keep vaccinations current.
  3. Report the following incidents to Environmental Health, 24/7, at 607-274-6688:
    • All animal bites or scratches.
    • Any human or pet contact with saliva or other potentially infectious material (brain tissue, spinal tissue, or cerebro-spinal fluid) of wild animals or any animal suspected of having rabies.
    • All bat bites, scratches, or any mere skin contact with a bat, or a bat in a room with a child, or sleeping or impaired person.

Further information can be found at:

Tompkins County Whole Health envisions a future where every person in Tompkins County can achieve wellness. Find us online at, and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TCWholeHealth. Get Whole Health updates or other county announcements via email or text, sign up here.

Media contact: Shannon Alvord,