Washington state

Coyote rescued alive from car’s grille euthanized to stop ‘immense’ pain, rescuers say

A driver apparently struck a coyote on a Washington highway last week between Orondo and Wenatchee. It got lodged between the grille and radiator of her car, according to a man who said he witnessed the live animal get rescued and then posted about it on Facebook.
A driver apparently struck a coyote on a Washington highway last week between Orondo and Wenatchee. It got lodged between the grille and radiator of her car, according to a man who said he witnessed the live animal get rescued and then posted about it on Facebook. Screengrab from Facebook video

A coyote that was discovered alive in the grille of a car earlier this month had injuries so severe it had to be euthanized, rescuers said on Monday.

The coyote was struck on Highway 2 in north-central Washington state on July 3, but the driver didn’t realize she’d hit the animal until she got out of her car.

“After transporting the coyote to the shelter, it was determined that female coyote had extensive injuries,” Dawn Davies, executive director of the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society, said in an email to McClatchy.

Davies said two of the animal’s legs were broken, describing its pain and distress as “immense.”

“Due to the severity of the injuries, and consulting with the Department of Fish & Wildlife, the coyote was humanely euthanize(d) the same day to avoid prolonged suffering,” Davies said.

Brooks Davenport, who said he works near the woman who hit the animal, wrote in a July 3 Facebook post that it took 45 minutes to free the coyote after the woman discovered it trapped in her grille.

“Extracting the coyote took a tremendous effort,” Davies said. “The officer used a catch pole while employees of Mega Auto Sound unscrewed a portion of bumper.”

The woman driving the car suspected she might have hit something during her commute, but she didn’t spot anything in her rear-view mirror so she guessed that it was a false alarm — until she checked the front of her vehicle, the Wenatchee World reported.

“So she really did not even see the coyote,” Davenport said, according to the newspaper.

Davenport said the driver found the animal after she’d been traveling “10 miles or so,” explaining in his Facebook post that “the coyote had gone through the air scoop and was … alive between the (grille) and the radiator.”

One photo posted by Davenport shows that the animal was visible looking at the car from the front. Other pictures capture the hood popped open as rescuers work to extricate the animal. And a short video clip on Facebook shows the rescue attempt in progress.

“A couple people asked the gal from the Humane Society what the strangest thing she had seen at work (was) and she replied you’re looking at it!” Davenport wrote.

Davies said that “Wenatchee Valley Animal Care & Control does not typically respond to wildlife incidents, but will provide assistance when possible.”

Another coyote survived a crash in a similar fashion two years ago. That animal rode for more than 20 miles trapped in the vehicle grille of a Canadian driver, who assumed she had killed the coyote she hit, the Idaho Statesman reported in September 2017.

“When I got out to look, this poor little guy was looking up and blinking at me,” the driver wrote in a Facebook post on the 2017 incident, per the Statesman.

Some material in this story appeared in an earlier article by the author.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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