Jan 18, 2013 9:40 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News
Some people in a rural San Luis Obispo neighborhood are upset after a coyote was shot earlier this week and later died. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is now investigating the shooting and told KSBY the shooter has not been caught.
"In between the pictures is when my son and I heard the pop from right over there and we saw the coyote flop over on its back," said Jeff Kraus, who lives in the Laguna Lake Mobile Estates near Prefumo Canyon Road.
Kraus and his son often take pictures of wildlife in the Irish Hills Natural Reserve, which is in their backyard.
"We are the neighbors to the animals of this reserve and most people are aware of that," explained Kraus.
Kraus said he witnessed the coyote get shot early Tuesday morning. He walked up the hill behind his house and found it barely alive.
"I called San Luis Obispo Police and Pacific Wildlife Care," he said.
Pacific Wildlife Care is a local organization that helps rehabilitate wild animals.
"The coyote was very badly injured. He was awake and blinking and breathing, but not moving," said Brittany Butcher, a volunteer at Pacific Wildlife Care. "Our vet discovered that he had a severely fractured and pretty much shattered vertebra and there's no fixing that."
The coyote was euthanized, and then it was frozen to preserve its body during the investigation.
"Animal shootings are much more frequent than we would like them to be," said Butcher.
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife it's not illegal to hunt coyotes or shoot them on your own property to protect yourself, your pet or your livestock.
"This coyote wasn't doing anything wrong. He wasn't near livestock, he wasn't a danger to people," said Butcher.
"We don't like them to come in the park, but we are not about to shoot them," said Kraus.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking anyone with information about the shooting to call (888) 334-2258.
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