An aggressive coyote shot and killed in Bellevue early this morning by a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officer could not be tested for rabies because tissue samples were insufficient.
State Department of Health officials notified WDFW today they were unable to conduct rabies tests on the coyote, because the animal's brain was not intact. The WDFW officer who killed the coyote attempted first to fire without hitting the animal's head but was unsuccessful.
The coyote is believed to be the same animal that recently charged a man, and possibly the animal that bit two young children earlier this week, attacked a woman walking on a sidewalk in late March and attacked a toy poodle being walked on a leash in Issaquah. The woman and the children initiated rabies vaccination as a precaution.
The concentration of coyote attacks on people is unusual, WDFW wildlife biologists say. Although coyotes usually do not attack people, they learn to become more aggressive as they become habituated to humans, particularly if they are fed.
Although there has never been a confirmed case of rabies in a coyote in Washington, the disease has occurred in coyotes in other areas of the country, said Kristin Mansfield, a veterinarian for WDFW.
WDFW officers took the animal's carcass to a private veterinarian in the area for a necropsy examination, and submitted the head to King County health officials, who transported it to the state health department.
The coyote was a sub-adult male, and weighed approximately 24 pounds.