Kirkland man faces off with coyote after another dog attack

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Another dog has been attacked by a coyote in a Kirkland neighborhood, and this time a resident fought back and found himself in danger, too.

People living near the Kirkland trail have reported similar attacks on their pets in recent weeks. So far, two dogs have died and two were severely injured.

Alex Morris, of Kirkland, is the reason his neighbor's dog, Sadie, is alive.

The 16-year-old westie terrier has serious injuries, and isn't out of the woods yet. A coyote attacked her in her front yard. But before getting dragged away for good, Morris came to the rescue, hitting the coyote with a bat.

“So I just came through the side and whacked it across the face and then it immediately turned back,” said Morris.

That's when Alex said the coyote turned on him.

“That’s why I had my bat ready, because I knew that if I got close enough, it was going to try and lunge at me,” said Morris. “It already did once when I was by its potential kill.”

This is at least the fourth reported coyote attack on a small dog in the past three weeks, but state wildlife authorities say a wild animal has to show aggression toward people before the agency can intervene and this incident still doesn't fit the bill.

“Coyotes aren't just coming out of the woods and off the trails attacking people,” said Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife Sgt. Kim Chandler. “This is strictly a food-driven behavior, coyotes looking for an easy meal.”

Chandler stressed that there are thousands of coyotes throughout the region, and neighborhoods are no exception. So the best line of defense, he said, is to never leave your pet unattended -- not even a quick second -- in your own back yard.

“You have to have your pets on a leash,” said Chandler. “You have to be a responsible pet owner, particularly if you know you have a coyote in your neighborhood.”

However, Sadie's owner, Jackie Devich, fears next time it won't be a dog but a child who gets hurt.

“I don't want us to wait until somebody, a child or an adult, is hurt before we do something about this,” said Devich. “Right now our pets are being taken, and I think we should be doing something now about this.”

And next time she fears there won't be a good neighbor like Morris to save the day.

“I shouldn't have to be in this Kirkland residential neighborhood carrying a tomahawk, taking my dog out in the yard -- that's absolutely ridiculous,” said Morris.