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Thursday, December 4, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Lost, Frightened And Trapped -- Coyote Ducks Into Downtown Building

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

On a bad day, the bustle of downtown Seattle can be enough to make anyone go berserk.

Especially if you lose your bearings and suddenly become the target of swooping birds.

That's what happened yesterday to a young coyote that somehow found its way to First Avenue.

Apparently confused by the hubbub of the city and fending off the dive-bomb attacks of several crows, the 30-pound animal ducked into the downtown Henry M. Jackson Federal Building shortly before noon.

After a frenzied run across the lobby, the coyote wound up trapped in an empty elevator, where it stayed until animal-control officers arrived.

"It looks to be a very healthy and good-looking animal," said Don Jordan, Seattle Animal Control manager. "We don't know how it got there, or why, or where it came from."

A witness told authorities that the 6- to 12-month-old coyote was being chased by crows as it meandered downtown, said Ken Spitzer, spokesman for the General Services Administration, which runs federal buildings.

The animal activated the sensors of an automatic sliding door and entered the building, where it slipped past metal detectors and took a panicked jog around the lobby.

"It was just a frantic, wild animal - bouncing off the glass and everything," a security guard said.

After it came to a dead end in a hallway, the coyote ran into an elevator and was trapped when the doors called.

Building officials then shut down the elevator. The animal remained in the elevator for more than two hours, Spitzer said - officials weren't sure whom to call and it took some assurance that they weren't joking.

The animal was captured in a cage and taken to rural East King County, where it was released.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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