Man regrets reporting coyote with head stuck in container after animal is shot and killed

MARYSVILLE, Wash. — A Marysville man said he regrets calling the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife about a coyote that had its head stuck in a plastic container after one of the agency’s officers shot and killed the animal Tuesday.

Michael Contos said he spotted the coyote earlier in the day in front of his home and first called a local wildlife rescue group before trying to help the animal himself with no luck.

"I got real close,” said Contos. “Reached out and I spooked it and it ran into the woods."

He said he then called the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and they sent an officer.

"I thought that they would come out with a dart pistol or something so he could save it,” said Contos.

But Michael said the Fish and Wildlife officer used a gun, not a tranquilizer, and he watched as the coyote was shot several times.

"Just staring at him saying 'Wow, really'?” said Contos.

Contos, who shared with KIRO 7 a picture of the coyote with its head stuck in the container, said he’s been thinking about that moment ever since.

"Could've been saved,” said Contos. “Instead it was shot."

KIRO 7 called the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and a captain said someone first reported the same coyote with a container stuck on its head back on Oct. 12 in Bothell.

That’s nearly 20 miles from where the officer killed it Tuesday in Marysville.

Fish and Wildlife said it was too dangerous to safely remove the plastic container from the animal's head that was starving to death so the officer ended its suffering by killing it.

The officer would've likely fired only once at the animal’s head had bullets not been deflected by the container, according to Fish and Wildlife.

“Do you think that was the humane thing to do?” asked KIRO 7 reporter Michael Spears.

"Could go either way on that,” said Contos. “Yeah, but no, it could've been saved."

Contos, who said the officer's gun misfired several times, prolonging the animal's death, now regrets calling Fish and Wildlife.

"I'm just sick that it happened,” said Contos. “I feel sorry for the animal."

The Department of Fish and Wildlife said it received calls throughout the day Tuesday about the coyote and that the responding officer followed protocol.