April 2024, Editorial Page

Coyote Control Faces New Challenge

The American Dream has always been imbued with some wildness. Not surprisingly, people can have widely differing opinions and definitions of its benefits and boundaries. Amidst reports of increasing coyote activity, Vashon social media groups have recently hosted lively debates that hint at a deepening divide between those who advocate for coyotes as a protection-worthy net positive and those who accuse the animals of negative, potentially predatory behaviors. 

Karen DuPleinty, Island eco-leader and chairperson of the international non-profit, “Coyote Forward,” dismisses the accusations as both inaccurate and misinformed. “The coyote diet consists of rodents, fruits, food waste, and occasional small game. They self-regulate and pose no danger to household pets.” 

Local retiree Art Froman disagrees. “What a load of bull****! We had a cat. Friendly. Got him home from the shelter, fed him, let him outside. Gone! Didn’t have time to think up a name or take his picture to put on the telephone poles.” Aimee Kay replied, “Karma always bites back. Letting cats roam decimates bird populations and causes climate change. Cats are just following instincts, so it’s on us to act humanely. We built our kitty a $45,000 sun porch to satisfy his sense of the outdoors while staying green.” 

The two camps sharply disagree on the merits of coyote control versus tolerance. Further exacerbating the ethical dilemmas, recent reports point to the presence of canid hybrids, a longtime commonplace of the American Frontier. These particular coy-dogs, however, may be of a completely new type. Across several states, the popularity of Goldendoodles – who have gregarious natures combined with often careless owners – has led to a proliferation of the dreaded Coy-Poodle.

Armed with a friendly demeanor and wavy fur, the variant can effectively camouflage predatory intentions, disarming suspicions until in attack range. This success formula seems to have made its way to Vashon.

As Facebook commenter Janet Yelling wrote, “We were out walking Gretchen, our dachshund, and saw some sort of poodle mix walking on the neighbor’s lawn. It kind of pranced over to say hello with its tail wagging. All of a sudden it grabbed Gretchen by the neck, tore her leash right out of my hand and made off into the woods. By the time we could get there, it ate her down to the paws. We don’t know whether to be heart-broken or grossed out. Now our son wants us to get one.”

While environmentalists caution against revenge for grief associated with alleged pet losses, one contingent proposes vigilante action in line with state and county laws allowing for protection of pets and livestock. The owner of “Riders of the Apocalypse” gun store, Zach Sheridan, is offering $50 per regular coyote pelt and $100 from the new Coy-Poodle or Poo-Yote variants. According to Zach: “They make a great conversation piece for the wall, and a beautiful jacket. Check us out on Ebay. Also, we have a sale on night-vision scopes now, just $1,999, and that includes sighting it in for you.”

In response to complaints and appeals for help, King County has established a dedicated hotline to report coyote-related incidents or to use for primal scream therapy. The number is 877-766-9683 or 877-POO-YOTE.

Artist’s rendition of coypoodle
April 8, 2024

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loopeditor Writings and other postings by the Vashon Loop Editors