A coyote uses the wildlife crossing to cross Northeast Novelty Hill Road on Redmond Ridge about two years ago. Reporter file photo, courtesy of King County

A coyote uses the wildlife crossing to cross Northeast Novelty Hill Road on Redmond Ridge about two years ago. Reporter file photo, courtesy of King County

State officials: Don’t feed the coyotes

Spring is on the way, and with it local urban wildlife sightings could increase, including spottings of animal neighbors like coyotes, raccoons and even the occasional bear.

While Redmond and other Eastside cities are booming, they’re not far removed from the lush woodlands of the Pacific Northwest.

Consequently, it’s not uncommon to see wildlife within city limits, said Sgt. Kim Chandler, with the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Coyotes are everywhere, every municipality I think in the United States has the darn things,” Chandler said.

The Reporter has received reports of coyote sightings in the Education Hill neighborhood in recent weeks.

With mating season approaching, Chandler said there might be a corresponding uptick in sightings.

“They’re just here, no more than others, it just happens to be — well — you get a couple of nice days and folks are out and about more,” he said of sightings.

Smaller wildlife, like raccoons and coyotes, are generally not a threat to humans, even children.

However, they can pose a serious threat to pets such as small dogs and cats, as well as stock animals like sheep and goats.

“You have to take precautions,” Chandler said.

Leaving pets inside or keeping an eye on them in yards should reduce the risk of attacks by wild animals.

Even in more rural parts of the county, good practices to keep farm animals like sheep safe include stringing up an electric fence and bringing the animals into shelter overnight.

Generally, coyotes are skittish around humans.

In the 40 years Chandler has worked in King County, he’s only seen a couple instances of a human being bitten by a coyote.

“It does happen, it absolutely does happen, but those instances are so rare,” he said.

People are much more likely to be attacked by a pet dog than a wild animal, said Chandler.

Which is not to say people should cozy up to wildlife.

Garbage should be kept locked up and people should never feed wild animals.

In fact, feeding a bear is a criminal offense, but it is not illegal to feed coyotes. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, though.

“That is not acceptable, it’s not acceptable to feed any wildlife other than tweety birds,” Chandler said. “Absolutely do not put stuff out for raccoons, possums, bears, coyotes, any of that, because that encourages them and makes them become more dependent.”

Fear of humans is natural to coyotes, but feeding them erodes this.

Unless coyotes or other wildlife are a threat to humans, state officials won’t trap or kill them, but Chandler said it’s important for people to use good etiquette.

“It just takes one guy on the end of the block to screw it up for everyone else when they’re not picking all their stuff up,” he said.

There are also bears in the county, with some 700 sightings being reported in 2017.

Almost all of these were related to garbage being left out or not having bear-proof garbage cans, Chandler said.

At the end of the day, residents should keep an eye out for urban wildlife, but shouldn’t bother them.

“Be aware, just be a little more vigilant,” he said. “Again, they don’t really go after people, you may hear them howling and carrying on, that’s just what they do.”

Neighboring cities have had run-ins with coyotes too.

In 2016, a large coyote was killed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services in Kirkland after it had taken pets from yards and displayed “an unusual fearlessness toward people” for two months.

“The challenge of living with wildlife in urban area is that it takes consistent action on the part of the whole community to discourage aggressive wildlife,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a 2016 article in the Kirkland Reporter. “If one neighbor takes steps to avoid coyotes, but then another intentionally or unintentionally feeds them, efforts to minimize coyote confrontations won’t work.”

In short, don’t feed the neighborhood coyote, no matter how cute it might be.

More in News

King County Correctional Facility is located at 500 5th Ave., Seattle. File photo
King County jail’s leaky pipes have national implications

Lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court alleges Aquatherm has been selling faulty pipes.

Thieves brandish gun, make off with $100 in Safeway groceries

Suspects drove off in a white Honda CRV.

Eastsiders gathered on July 12 for a peaceful protest at Redmond Downtown Park. Protestors held demonstrations that spelled out “Close the Camps.” Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Eastsiders gather for Lights for Liberty Vigil to protest the inhumane conditions faced by migrants

Redmond was one out of the 46 vigils held across Washington state.

Siri Bliesner, Susan Wilkins and John Towers compete for Lake Washington School District Director District 5 position. Courtesy photos
Three candidates aim to fill an open seat on the Lake Washington School Board

Siri Bliesner, John Towers and Susan Wilkins compete for Lake Washington School District Director District 5 position.

A crash between a semi truck and another vehicle occurred around 4:45 a.m. on July 16 on State Route 202. Photo courtesy of Rick Johnson/Washington State Patrol
Renton man killed in head-on crash along Redmond-Fall City Road

The driver’s name has not been released.

PSE’s battery storage project could help the clean energy roll-out

The tiny pilot project in Glacier could eventually be expanded.

VoteWA is a $9.5 million program that came online last May and is meant to unify all 39 county voting systems in the state into a single entity. Courtesy image
WA’s new voting system concerns county elections officials

VoteWA has run into some problems in recent months as the Aug. 6 primary election draws closer.

An aerial photo shows the locations of two earthquakes and five aftershocks in and near Monroe, which rattled the Puget Sound region early Friday. The first was the magnitude 4.6 quake at upper right, 13 miles under the intersection of U.S. 2 and Fryelands Boulevard SE at 2:51 a.m. The second, magnitude 3.5, occurred 18 miles under the Old Snohomish-Monroe Road at 2:53 a.m. The aftershocks followed during the ensuing two hours. This image depicts an area about 3 miles wide. (Herald staff and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network)
Early wake-up call: Twin quakes under Monroe rattle region

Thousands of people felt them. They were magnitude 4.6 and 3.5 and hit minutes apart.

Most Read