600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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May 01, 2006
Contact: Bill Hebner, (425) 775-1311, ext. 115 or
Kristin Mansfield, (509) 892-1001, ext. 326

Wildlife officials trap, euthanize coyote;
animal tests negative for rabies

OLYMPIA – A second coyote has been euthanized in Bellevue after it was caught earlier today in a trap set by wildlife agents. Tests indicated the animal did not have rabies.

On Friday, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement officer shot and killed a coyote in the same area.

The euthanizations followed multiple coyote attacks in the Eastgate area of Bellevue on children, adults and several dogs.

The coyote shot Friday could not be tested for rabies because brain tissue samples were insufficient. A necropsy examination indicated the animal had recently consumed domestic cats.

The trapped coyote – a male about 3 to 4 years old – was caught in a padded leg-hold trap. After the animal was euthanized, the coyote’s head was submitted to the state Department of Health for the rabies test and the carcass was transported to a private veterinarian for a necropsy examination.

WDFW and U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services responded to several recent reports of aggressive coyotes in the area. Early last week, an 18-month-old boy was bitten in the ear by a coyote on the playground of Eastgate Elementary School and a 4-year-old boy was bitten on the buttocks by a coyote in the yard of his home. In March, a woman was attacked in the same vicinity by a coyote that scratched her leg as she walked along a sidewalk to pick up her child from school, and in early April a coyote attacked a toy poodle being walked on a leash in Issaquah. On Easter, a leashed dog in the backyard of an Eastgate home was attacked by a coyote.

As a precaution, the woman and the children initiated rabies vaccinations.

About 15 traps set by WDFW and the USDA will remain in the area until Wednesday, and wildlife officers will continue to monitor for coyotes, said Capt. Bill Hebner, who supervises WDFW’s enforcement activities in the North Puget Sound region.

Coyotes normally do not attack people, said Steve Pozzanghera, deputy director of WDFW’s Wildlife Program. However, the animals become more and more aggressive as they become habituated to humans, particularly if they are fed – either intentionally or unintentionally.