By Paul Archipley

Coyote in a pickle saved by concerned residents


Last updated 2/12/2020 at 11:09am

Mike Curtis

Kyle Foster poses with a distressed coyote that had got its head stuck in a plastic jar, then wandered Mukilteo area neighborhoods for several days before being freed by Foster and Mike Curtis.

For months, Mukilteans have been commenting on increased coyote activity hereabouts, trading stories about backyard sightings, and warning each other to keep pets and kids safe. Feelings ranged from caution to alarm.

But those feelings were replaced by concern and sympathy over the weekend for one poor pooch that had managed to get its head stuck in a clear, Costco-sized plastic jar.

For several days, people spotted the distressed coyote in the south Mukilteo area – on the golf course, in Picnic Point, Serene Lake and nearby.

Sightings were reported on social media. Bret Coffman, one resident who followed the discussion on the Nextdoor app, said, "A lot of people are really paranoid. But this is really a beautiful coyote."

Coffman said people were rallying, trying to find a way to help Mukilteo's own Wile E.

Calls were made to the Mukilteo Police Department, the state Department of Fish & Wildlife and other agencies.

Every time someone approached the increasingly frantic animal, it fled. No doubt, however, it was getting weak.

Finally, on Sunday, success.

Mike Curtis said he and Kyle Foster were walking through area greenbelts and neighborhoods with an eye out.

Near Beverly Park Road, they spotted it. Curtis said the coyote dashed into someone's backyard and, essentially, trapped itself. It found itself cornered between a shed and a fence. Curtis thought it almost seemed resigned to surrender.

"It almost felt like it knew it needed help," he said.

A Mukilteo animal control officer arrived, and Fish & Wildlife officials were called.

"I was nervous," Curtis admitted. "Our initial goal was to call Fish & Wildlife to help it. But when it ran into the backyard, we thought if we had a chance to grab it, we would.

"They told us to go ahead and release it."

Foster grabbed the coyote by the nape of its neck, pulled the jar off its head, and let it go.

Even though the pair finally released the animal from its prison, Curtis said it was the ongoing conversations in the community that enabled them to zero in on the areas where the coyote had been seen.

"We wouldn't have been able to do it without the community," Curtis said.

There was an outpouring of positive reaction to the news, too.

• Jennifer Whitney, a Harbour Pointe resident, said, "This is so good to see. I know people fear for their pets, but these coyotes are living, breathing creatures, and to see the kindness shown is really encouraging. Thank you, brave and caring neighbors who helped it."

• Mukilteo resident Margo Douglas agreed. "Thank you for your kindness and decency," she said. "We can all use a little more of that in this crazy world. Bravo!"

• Chennault Beach resident Roxann Van Wyk chimed in, "I love happy endings! Thank you both for caring enough to help this poor thing."

• "This made my day!" agreed Wingate resident Mike Dennis.

• And Picnic Point resident Emily Paskiewicz enthused, "Great news! You guys rock!"

• Chennault Beach resident Lisa Vallins offered a bit of advice, too. "Excellent work," she said. "Now let's look around in our yards and clean up any potential hazards that could recreate this problem. I just put my watering can inside."

While coyotes have adapted to the urban landscape, they are wild animals and should be treated with respect. They're great at keeping rodent populations at bay, but aren't adverse to changing their menu to small dogs and cats if the opportunity arises. They've also been known to attack children.

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Don't help them by leaving pet food and water out or trash containers uncovered.

Mike Curtis

The wary coyote trapped itself in a backyard before being caught and freed of its "headgear."


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