1 coyote trapped, killed near Magnolia


by KING 5 News and Associated Press


Posted on January 22, 2010 at 7:38 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 22 at 6:31 PM

SEATTLE -- State wildlife and Seattle police have captured and killed one coyote roaming Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood.

A large male was caught in a leg trap early Friday in a greenbelt near the Interbay golf course, according to State Fish and Wildlife Department Capt. Bill Hebner. The coyote was killed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture agent who has been working with a state wildlife officer.

Hebner said agents are certain it's one of a pair of coyotes -- a male and female -- that had been fed, either intentionally or unintentionally, and lost their fear of people.

 The 3-or-4-year-old 40-pound male with a full, fluffy coat, matched the description of a coyote in the neighborhood. Earlier this month a coyote grabbed a small dog and nearly killed it. The coyotes would stand their ground when people tried to scare them away.

"It fits the description. We have a high degree of certainty we caught the offending animal," Hebner said. "It was in very healthy condition, obviously well-nourished."

Most coyotes weigh 25-to-35 pounds. Tissue is being tested for rabies and other possible disease.

With the male dead, Hebner said, agents will give the female a chance to return to natural ways.

"We hope the female will resort to more instinctive behavior and regain her fear of humans," Hebner said. But if she continues to threaten people, she also will be trapped and killed, he said.

A number of coyotes live in the area, which includes nearby Discovery Park. Hebner said they become a problem when people feed them because they look hungry, or leave pet food or garbage outside where it can be reached.

"Food conditioning results in a death sentence for the animal," Hebner said. "We can live with the animals if we learn not to feed them."

Owner Laquita Fenton caught one of the coyotes attacking her dog Tina earlier this month. Her dog was curious about the coyote.

"So she ran to greet him by sniffing him and he went at her with grabbing at her neck and shaking her up and dragging her into the woods right there," said Fenton.

Tina recovered after $900 worth of surgery. Since then, the search has been on around Magnolia to find the coyotes.

Whenever wildlife and human life intersect, there's concern. Last September, a cougar was captured after being spotted around Discovery Park in Magnolia. He was released into northern Snohomish County.

Bears are a somewhat common sight in Western Washington. A bear was caught on camera in Redmond trying to get into somebody's garbage can.

Last October in Arlington, school officials were on alert because a bear had been seen in the vicinity. The trap was set with food and the plan was to relocate the bear.