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Thursday, April 27, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Coyote attacks raise alarm in Bellevue

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

A 1 -year-old boy was bitten on a school playground and a 4-year-old boy was bitten while playing at home in two separate coyote attacks in Bellevue on Tuesday.

The attacks took place in the Eastgate area, one at Eastgate Elementary School, 4255 153rd Ave. S.E., said Capt. Bill Hebner of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife's regional office in Mill Creek.

Because of the proximity of the incidents, officials think the same coyote could be involved in both attacks. They follow another Eastgate incident in March in which a woman was bitten on the leg while she was walking on a sidewalk to pick up her child from school at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, 3850 156th Ave. S.E.

The 1 -year-old was bitten on the ear while he was playing under the supervision of his parents at the school, while the 4-year-old was bitten on his buttocks while playing outside at his home. Both attacks occurred within a couple of hours, Hebner said.

The 4-year-old was treated for bites and has started rabies-prevention vaccinations, and the parents of the younger boy are considering rabies treatments. The woman in the March attacks also received rabies vaccinations.

State wildlife officials have contacted federal animal-control experts, notified Bellevue police and provided the school with safety information.

The officials are warning area residents about the attacks and are attempting to capture the animal.

Capture methods could include immobilizing the animal with a tranquilizer dart and setting traps with padded leg-holds, Hebner said. The animal would be humanely euthanized and tested for rabies, he added.

Numerous coyote incidents in the same area usually indicate the animals may have become accustomed to getting food from humans, he said.

To discourage coyote populations, officials advise, among other things, keeping garbage and compost covered.

Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259

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