Snoqualmie neighborhood hot spot for Coyote sightings: 7 reports in one day, 3-year old attacked on front porch

UPDATE | DECEMBER 4TH, 6:30PM

City PIO Joan Pliego has confirmed that the Snoqualmie Police Department visited with the family of the girl injured by a coyote in the Deer Park neighborhood of Snoqualmie Ridge and took a formal report. She added, “All appears to be fine with the family at this time.”

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ORIGINAL STORY

A Snoqualmie family was featured in a Q13 news story Sunday night, December 3rd, recounting how a coyote had pinned down their 3-year old on their front porch while the father was hanging Christmas lights nearby.

Luckily the father said he was able to scare the coyote off. According to the Q13 story, the child suffered some scratches on her shoulder, puncturing through her heavy winter coat.

The incident occurred on Thursday November 30th around 5-6PM, the same night the Snoqualmie Police Department said it received a report from a mom and daughter who encountered an aggressive coyote in the same vicinity while walking – in the 35000 block of Swenson Street in the Deer Park neighborhood.

SPD said it has not received a report of the coyote front porch attack. City Public Information Officer Joan Pliego said the police department is very concerned and wants to be contacted by the family. She said SPD needs an official report in order to properly deal with an aggressive animal, along with an address of the incident to determine action needed with the Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Over the weekend, in a 24-hour period, SPD said it received seven coyote sighting reports in the Deer Park vicinity, one of which was mine. I encountered a coyote while driving on Swenson Street near Venn Ave as it was coming out of the woods directly behind a fence. A woman pushing a stroller on the opposite side of the street was stopped, seemingly watching the animal to see what it was going to do. I pulled by car between the woman and coyote and she was able to go on her way.

I called in a report and waited less than 5 minutes for an officer to arrive, keeping the animal – who had retreated about 20 feet into the woods – in my sight. I showed the officer the coyote’s location and was told I could leave the scene. City PIO Pliego has asked for the outcome of that officer’s follow up.

On Monday officers investigated a report from a resident in the area who thought her neighbor might be feeding the wildlife. Pliego said officers made contact with the neighbor and it was determined he had bird feeders hanging from his fruit trees. The officers explained the feeders attract wildlife and the concerned neighbor agreed to remove them and tend to any old fruit in the yard.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife, responding to SPD notification, put down a coyote on Friday, December 1st near the PSE substation at the end of Douglas Street in the Snoqualmie Ridge Business Park. This wooded area also connects to the wooded areas surrounding the Deer Park neighborhood.

A WDFW officer reported that one other ‘excessively bold’ coyote had been recently be euthanized in the area. The officer said WDFW has received a couple of reports of standoffs or coyotes following residents, but like SPD have had no reports of an attack. The officer also said it is possible someone in the area is feeding the animals. [Feeding can refer to intentional or unintentional.]

Pliego said SPD is very concerned about the coyotes and stresses that they want to be notified. On December 1st the city put out a news release about the reported incident of the mother and daughter encountering the aggressive coyote in which they asked residents to call 911 to report the sightings.

Per the earlier release: 

“Although we are in wildlife habitat, if you see a coyote or bear– even if it’s non-threatening – please call 911 to be put through to a Snoqualmie Police Officer. The Snoqualmie Police Department and the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife track activity for public safety.”

Residents are also asked to secure their garbage as it is a huge attractant to local wildlife and also habituates the animals to humans, sometimes making them more bold.

From out October 9th story on Tips for Dealing with Coyotes by Melissa Grant

In Washington coyotes look like a sort of small shepherd mix with a thick bushy coat in shades of brown, yellow, gray and rust. They average anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds, with the males being slightly larger than the females. They live in the wild about as long as a domestic dog, 14 years. They are solitary animals, in monogamous pairs or in small family groups, with territories as small as two miles or as large as 40 miles. They are called “song dogs” for their wide variety of yips, growls, whines and howls.

Coyotes are opportunistic scavengers and hunters, meaning they will eat anything they can capture or find. They prefer to eat wild, but will eat garbage, poultry, pet food and pets (mostly cats). They will occasionally kill domestic dogs (and foxes) if they view them as a territorial invader. They hunt mostly at night, but will hunt during the day if undisturbed.

Seeing a coyote in daylight hours is not a cause for alarm. They are probably looking to feed their families. A coyote who displays no fear of humans has likely been fed by humans. We need to be responsible with our attractants. Pet food should never be outside and garbage should be secured.

So what do we do about the coyotes that are already habituated?? There has been talk of killing coyotes, which is legal but only if it is threatening you, your family or your pets within city limits. But understand, attempts to eradicate the coyote have happened for centuries and they respond by breeding more. Under normal circumstances, only the alpha pair breeds, but if something happens, the pack responds by forming more pair bonds and in a year or two you have more coyotes.

The seemingly kinder approach of relocating coyotes is an option, but in the end it is not a more humane approach. Relocated animals, not knowing the area, are often killed by cars, in territorial disputes with other animals or just in an attempt to get back home.

How to Help keep Wildlife Wild

“Hazing” the coyotes to convince them that neighborhoods are a bad place for them is suggested. If out walking. making loud noises can scare them off – like air horns (can be ordered on Amazon) or fill soda cans with pennies and shake them. If you’re at home, you can bang pots and pans together or spray them with a hose. Yell, wave your arms, stomp your feet make yourself look large and scary. You can also spray them with bear or pepper spray. If it doesn’t work the first time, keep it up convince them to leave.

 

Coyote on Swenson Ave near Venn Ave, 12/3/2017 around 11AM.

 

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