Clallam County Sheriff’s Office seeks leads on coyote carcass dumping

SEQUIM — The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office seeks information about the killing and dumping of multiple dead coyotes by the Dungeness River just north of Sequim.

At least 13 coyote corpses have been discovered at the bottom of the northwest portion of Ward Bridge off Woodcock Road.

Local walkers and bike riders took notice, posting on social media. Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King with Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said residents reported it to the sheriff’s office several weeks ago for possible action after contacting the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Becky Elder, community outreach liaison for Fish and Wildlife, said an agency officer investigated and “verified that the coyotes were shot and killed and that there was no evidence that they were poisoned, trapped or that any other unlawful means of harvest were used.

“Coyotes may be hunted year round, and there is no bag limit,” she said. “A Small Game or Big Game hunting license is required to hunt them.”

Elder said a person can lawfully shoot a coyote and let it naturally degrade. Since the coyote bodies are on Clallam County property, the officer contacted county officials about posting a “No Dumping” sign.

“Additionally, our existing wastage laws do not apply because coyotes are not classified as ‘game animals,’” Elder said.

“Based on our investigation, there was no evidence of unlawful take of the animals, and although unsightly, this is not considered unlawful dumping as there are no signs currently posted prohibiting it.”

King said sheriff’s detectives are investigating the scene as illegal dumping on public right of way.

“We think it could be a nearby homeowner with a coyote problem,” he said. “Obviously, our preferred way of disposal is burial.”

He said Wednesday the sheriff’s office had no leads so far. According to state law RCW 70A.205.195, a suspect(s) could face misdemeanor charges based on the size of the dumped items (carcasses).

As of Wednesday, there was no timeline for cleanup due to availability of work crews with the Clallam County jail population.

“We haven’t been able to put together work crews for some time due to COVID,” he said.

Before removing the coyotes, which are near flowing water, King said they’ll have to come up with a strategy as “they’ve begun to decay so it’s not going to be pleasant.”

Reports of harvested animal carcasses being left behind in Clallam County are somewhat common during each hunting season, King said, with the animals typically found at the gates to timber land.

“To me, this person is either flaunting their kills or just being lazy,” King said.

“The message we want people to know is we encourage folks to have a more responsible way of disposing of animals. Dumping is not appropriate.”

Those with information on the dead coyotes are encouraged to contact Sgt. John Keegan by calling dispatch at 360-417-2259 and asking to speak with Keegan.

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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