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Wild canines causing trouble across town

Keep an eye out for coyotes; watch small pets

 

January 22, 2020

Photo courtesy of Becky Rudzinski

Coyotes raced through the snow on Harbour Pointe Gold Course Jan. 16. These nocturnal canines have been spotted around town for the last couple weeks.

Pointed ears, slender muzzle, drooping bushy tail...Is it a German Shepherd or a coyote?

The coyote is a medium-sized member of the canine family, which includes dogs, wolves, and foxes. These animals are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and hunt at night. This is why people usually only hear coyotes howling at night.

"Seeing a coyote out during the day is not a cause for alarm," said Lynsey White, director of humane wildlife conflict resolution for the Humane Society of the United States.

An encounter with a coyote in the urban and suburban landscape is rare, although Mukilteo residents have spotted quite a few in the last couple weeks.

One specific coyote caused more trouble than the others when it wandered onto the runway Friday, Jan. 10, at Paine Field. The canine temporarily delayed a passenger flight.

The wild animal was spotted Friday morning in an area where planes are moving, airport spokesman Scott North said.

The coyote was not harmed. North said the delay only lasted a few minutes.

The Snohomish County airport contracts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services to assist in minimizing collisions involving wildlife and aircraft.

A few days later, officers were dispatched to an area check for two beagles chasing two coyotes on the 7900 block of 44th Ave W. The dog owner was eventually contacted and both sets of animals were unharmed.

The Humane Society encourages pet owners to keeps cats indoors and never leave small dogs outside unsupervised. It also suggested that people secure food sources and store garbage in wildlife-proof containers.

The organization said coyotes may mistake small, unattended pets as prey or attack large dogs they view as threats.

Coyote attacks on people are very rare. The society said more people are killed by errant golf balls and flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes.

 

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