Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tales from the Animal Rights Trenches, 1.2

Last month we posted about the coyote in Discovery Park, Seattle. The park is about 500 acres of urban forest on the western edge of Seattle. There is a limited amount of private housing there and there are residential streets outlining the edges of the park.

A coyote killed a couple of cats and was seen approaching porches. There was a panicked outcry and, first, traps were set out to trap and kill the coyote. Then, a USDA guy came out to kill it with a rifle.

More outcry followed.

Finally, the City of Seattle stepped in and settled things down. With several partner groups, it held a "Living with Wildlife" workshop for the neighborhood. Because we live near the park, we got an invite too. So we went!

The meeting was very well run. Here were the represented groups, all with tables and information: Seattle Parks and Recreation, Washington Fish and Wildlife, Woodland Park Zoo, Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), and the Seattle Animal Shelter. I saw plenty of board members from Friends of Discovery Park too.

The meeting was effective because there was one presentation with a slide show....and then, instead of opening up the meeting to a shout fest (believe me, I was ready for it!), the meeting was disbursed for citizens to approach the represented groups for one-on-one talks about concerns. Brilliant, really. It diffused what could have been an angry confrontation into opportunities for real conversations and education.

There were a couple of people there ready to call for this coyote's death. One woman interrupted the presenter THREE times because two of her cats were presumably killed by the coyote. She was quite irate when he suggested she keep them INDOORS!

Another man sitting next to me said his wife was concerned about their three-old daughter. Obviously, this child is left alone in an urban forest where mentally ill and homeless people sometimes wander. But it's the COYOTE that is dangerous. My husband had to pull me away from that one.

Because we complain so much on this blog (for good reason!) I wanted to point this out as a good meeting, strategically planned for maximum effectiveness. As for the coyote, he (or she) is exhibiting normal urban wildlife behavior. As long as he doesn't threaten humans, he won't be shot.

Here's hoping we move onto another topic in Discovery Park.

Photo by Hard_Rain.

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