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Coyote familiar to Aquidneck Island scheduled to be euthanized

A coyote that's well-known to residents on Aquidneck Island is slated to be euthanized because it's too comfortable around humans.

A coyote that's well-known to residents on Aquidneck Island is slated to be euthanized because it's too comfortable around humans.

The coyote, which is known as "Cliff,” is a frequent visitor to neighborhoods on the Middletown/Newport border.

He's welcomed by some, but others view him as a threat.

"He might be approached by a child and people are very concerned something might happen,” Dr. Numi Mitchell of the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study said. “And, of course, he's a wild animal."

Using GPS, a map displays his travels during over a week in July. His tracking device shows frequent stops at dumpsters, restaurants, fish piers, as well as specific houses, which is the problem.

Residents are feeding Cliff, which made him unafraid to come around.

While he should be eating geese, rabbits, and deer, Mitchell said 95 percent of his meals are being fed to him by humans.

"When you start bringing them into urban settings, it's never a happy ending," Mitchell said.

Middletown police have been investigating a series of complaints about Cliff. Mitchell said Chief Anthony Pesare has decided the animal needs to be put down.

Despite her role as a conservationist, Mitchell agrees, saying Cliff's frequent appearances could be dangerous to humans.

As soon as the animal moves out of a residential area, it willl be shot and killed.

Meanwhile, officials said they've done everything they can to save the coyote, including firing rubber bullets at it to try to scare it away for good.

But nothing's worked, and laws don't allow for it to be relocated.

Ultimately, it’s a tragedy that could've been avoided.

"That's the really sad part because this whole thing was avoidable,” Mitchell said. “If you really love these animals, then don't feed them. You're not doing them a kindness. A fed coyote, is a dead coyote."

Feeding a coyote can get you up to a $500 fine on Aquidneck Island.

The chief of police declined an interview request.

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