West Seattle coyotes: Federal agent’s alert for dog owners

(October 2012 reader photo, by Katina, taken in an Admiral neighborhood)
An unexpected phone call this New Year’s Eve: Aaron the federal wildlife agent called to ask us to share another reminder about keeping your dog(s) safe from coyotes. “We are seeing an increase in coyote calls concerning predation on small dogs at night in West Seattle,” he said. “It’s easily prevented by going out with the small dogs at night as they are let out to relieve themselves. It sounds like simple advice, because it is, and can really help keep your small dogs safe. Removing this attraction can help keep coyotes focused on more natural food sources.”

This is the same advice Aaron offered in another phone call last July, which followed his appearance before the Highland Park Action Committee two months earlier. As we wrote then, he says that even dogs staying in their own yards might be “coaxed” by coyotes to come to the edge of the yard, where the larger canines can grab them. As for cats? As with dogs, if they’re outside and unaccompanied, they’re at risk.

He told us tonight he wants to get this advice out again “to (help) keep coyotes wild in our part of the city.” And they’re out there – if you haven’t seen our coverage before, five years of sightings are archived here). Sightings we’ve heard about this month include:

*Early morning, near Fauntleroy Church/YMCA

*Late morning, 9700 block 30th SW, “jumped our back fence and headed east towards 28th and Safeway”

*Early evening, California Lane (North Admiral)

*Early afternoon, crossing Fauntleroy Way at SW Rose Street: “Moving up from the park into the neighborhood”

What if you come face to face with one? Best advice: Scare it away. That too will help keep them wild, which is what’s best for them, us, and our pets, experts stress, over and over again. More advice here.

16 Replies to "West Seattle coyotes: Federal agent's alert for dog owners"

  • bri December 31, 2013 (8:27 pm)

    Where im from in idaho they pair up to draw animals out

  • 935 December 31, 2013 (8:52 pm)

    Neglected to mention the one chasing a road runner while on ACME rocket skates – don’t worry though….I saw him get squashed by a 5000 pound anvil. Coyote last seen slinking away while an accordion played in the background.

  • Rebecca December 31, 2013 (8:55 pm)

    Don’t just watch them. Put the dog on a leash. A coyote will snatch your dog while you watch from five feet away. West Seattle coyotes have learned not to fear people. Your mere presence will not necessarily deter them.

  • Mike December 31, 2013 (9:10 pm)

    Thank you for posting this. It’s vital people follow these basic ideas to keep Coyotes wild, along with raccoons and other wildlife. It’s the same rules when you back pack in the back country, unless it’s a brown bear, grizzly or cougar, make noise and don’t leave food out. If it’s a brown bear, grizzly or cougar, hope you have fast feet or some serious protection.

  • G January 1, 2014 (12:35 am)

    Several fascinating articles in recent Time Mag and Natl Geo, about the huge comeback many predators are making, including bears, cougars, and of course coyotes. Lots of other wildlife, from alligators, to eagles, to deer; there are more deer now than when the first Europeans arrived.

  • Joe Hunt January 1, 2014 (2:35 pm)

    Went hunting up near Colville last week and nailed one down. One less to worry about! Hopefully his cousins get the message.

  • Martha January 1, 2014 (2:58 pm)

    My dog is 155lbs. I would love to see what they would do around him.

  • ccarb January 1, 2014 (4:45 pm)

    The sad part is that issues like this tend to arise when humans overstep, leaving less and less room for wild animals to call home.

  • Tk January 1, 2014 (7:45 pm)

    I just moved to whidbey island with my big dog and pretty sure they tried to eat her one night. Scariest moment of my life.

  • Ks January 1, 2014 (9:19 pm)

    We spotted a coyote in our backyard a couple weeks ago. We are near madison middle school. Luckily our two dogs were inside.

  • JH January 1, 2014 (10:20 pm)

    A coyote was in my backyard last week in the Schmitz Park area. I was very excited because I hadn’t heard them in the park for over a year. Glad they’re still around. I have a great photo of it!

    • WSB January 1, 2014 (10:52 pm)

      Hey, JH, we’re still interested in coyote photos if you want to share – had to pull a file photo for this report because we haven’t had a pic lately. In any event, yes, they are still around! One expert recently estimated a triple-digit population on the peninsula — TR

  • JS January 2, 2014 (12:32 am)

    We spotted a coyote in our driveway a few weeks ago. We live on Marshall Ave SW, near 48th and Graham.

  • Greystreet January 2, 2014 (5:33 am)

    Maybe I’m missing something and perhaps my comment won’t be entirely appreciated. But why am I going to protect a “wild” animal in the city? I’m sorry my dog is more important to me than a wild animal that needs to eat, why does Seattle not do something to do rid the city of dangerous, disease-ridden coyotes? When do the citizens of the city take precedence over something in its “natural” habitat? Again, I’m sure most won’t appreciate my comment but my dog is a family member

  • BRB January 4, 2014 (11:47 am)

    Thanks to WSB for posting HSUS’s link to Why Killing Coyotes Doesn’t Work – Trapping and killing won’t stop conflicts with coyotes. Coyotes are not going away no matter how much taxpayer money is wasted on trapping/killing them. Also, let’s not forget that “coyotes eat large numbers of rodents, as well as fruit, vegetation, insects and carrion. They help keep ecosystems (and neighborhoods) vital, healthy and clean.” I’m glad coyotes can keep the neighborhood rat population down. Boulder, Colorado had an issue with coyotes habituated to humans in a neighborhood, got proactive and enacted a month-long hazing program that was successful. My pets are my family members too. It’s why I have happy, safe indoor cats. Supervising dogs when they go out to relieve themselves does not seem like a big bother. And yes small dogs should probably be on leash because statistically they are grabbed by coyotes more than any other pet (Yorkshire terriers in particular). I don’t want to live in a sterile neighborhood devoid of wildlife. Nor do I want to see the tragedies of pet loss. The neighborhood can easily turn the situation around if there are habituated coyotes. And yes, few small changes on the part of all individuals are needed. Aren’t our beloved pets worth it?

Sorry, comment time is over.