The skinned carcasses found in the freezer of an Edmonton restaurant last week were coyotes, wildlife officials have determined.

When public health officials were first called in Nov. 5, they weren't sure if the four canine bodies belonged to dogs, coyotes or wolves. There was public outrage that the animals may have been dogs.

John Leer, spokesman for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, said a scientist at the department's forensics lab conducted autopsies on the carcasses Monday.

"One of the lab scientists compared different characteristics of canines to come up with that finding," he said.

"He looked at written information of wolves, dogs and coyotes and measured various bones, teeth and the positioning of teeth to determine that they are coyotes," said Leer.

The autopsies did not reveal how the animals were killed. Because they were gutted, investigators couldn't determine the sex of the animals.

Ed Greenburg, an official with Edmonton's Capital Health Region, said the investigation into the Panda Garden restaurant, where the carcasses were found, continues.

Greenburg said the fact that the animals were coyotes doesn't change anything and inspectors are still looking into the possibility that uninspected meat was served at the restaurant.

Under the Wildlife Act, it is illegal to sell meat from any wild species.

There is no law against selling and serving canine meat, including dogs, but it must be killed and gutted in front of federal inspectors.