Coyotes: Federal Way man wants to shoot them

In Washington, coyotes occupy almost every conceivable habitat type, from open ranch country to densely forested areas to downtown waterfront, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. - Courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
In Washington, coyotes occupy almost every conceivable habitat type, from open ranch country to densely forested areas to downtown waterfront, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
— image credit: Courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Federal Way citizen Donald Barovic has a problem. A coyote problem.

According to Barovic, coyotes prowl his property, killing and eating his livestock. The 84-year-old Barovic has spoken to the council before regarding this issue, requesting clarity on how he can defend his livestock if he's not allowed to use a firearm.

Barovic was back in City Hall on Jan. 16 during the council's meeting to warn of the coyotes coming into the city. Barovic said the city code makes it an arduous process to try and properly protect his animals.

"I would like to know why I can't use a 12-gauge shotgun with seven and a half shot, that has only about 100 yards of range, to exterminate a predator that's attacking my livestock. I try to obey the law, but you make it almost impossible," he said.

According to Federal Way City Code 6.25.050, "it is unlawful for any person to knowingly discharge a firearm where there is a reasonable likelihood of jeopardy to people, property, or animals within the city."

Barovic mentioned an amendment to the city code regarding cats and dogs, their licensing and other issues on zoning and animals inside the city. The longtime Federal Way resident has appealed to the council to let him take care of the coyotes himself.

"We aren't going to have many cats and dogs in Federal Way, because we have coyotes," he said. "I have seen seven coyotes in the past four days. I mean, they are becoming very aggressive and hungry, and I lost six goats (previously)."

City spokesman Chris Carrel said the city, and Federal Way Police Department, are aware of Barovic's issues with the coyotes.

"This is a long discussion that has a lot of history behind it," Carrel said. "The police department has spoken with Mr. Barovic, and provided some alternative approaches to dealing with the coyotes."

One suggestion by the city would be for Barovic to get a donkey to keep on his property. The well-known farm animals are said to be an effective deterrent to coyotes, according to members of the city's animal services department, Carrel said.

"They did give him that information, and even offered to help him locate a donkey if he was interested, and he declined at that time," Carrel said.

Another consideration the city has to take in when dealing with Barovic's situation is where he is located. While he may have a fair amount of property that is partly wilderness, Barovic does have neighbors around him.

"The police department has to worry about the fact that this is a highly populated area, and even if Mr. Barovic has 10 acres in a really nice area of Hylebos, he's still surrounded by neighbors," Carrel said. "It's a delicate balancing act."

Coyotes are no strangers to Federal Way city limits. In a recent letter to The Mirror, local blogger Teri Lenfest wrote in response to a report on a local woman who was surrounded by coyotes while walking her two dogs:

"There are coyotes all over Federal Way, including West Hylebos Park, the BPA Trail, and near the Twin Lakes Golf Course. I even saw one sneaking out of the Saghalie Middle School grounds one morning," wrote Lenfest, who helms the West Hylebos Park Blog from the Bog.

In their natural habitat coyotes generally eat mice, rats, gophers, mountain beavers, rabbits, squirrels, snakes, lizards, frogs, fish, birds, grass, fruits and berries, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Coyotes have been known to eat cats and small dogs as well. The Mirror has published past reports on pets that were likely mutilated and eaten by coyotes.


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