Prolonged Killing Violates Law
For Immediate Release:
March 19, 2020
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
San Bernardino, Calif. – After receiving disturbing video footage of a man repeatedly shooting a writhing coyote in the head at close range for several agonizing minutes at the Sierra Lakes Golf Club in Fontana, PETA sent a letter urging the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office to pursue cruelty-to-animals charges against the shooter.
In the letter, PETA notes that the coyote was ensnared by the foot—possibly in an illegal leg-hold trap—and that the prolonged, bungled killing was in violation of California’s anti-cruelty statutes as well as state wildlife codes and regulations.
“The pain and fear that this coyote must have felt throughout this ordeal is hard to imagine,” says PETA Senior Director of Cruelty Casework Stephanie Bell. “PETA is calling on officials to hold this abuser accountable for subjecting an animal to such an agonizing death—and to intervene before he does it again.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Deputy District Attorney Emily Williams follows.
March 18, 2020
Deputy District Attorney Emily Williams
Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit
San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office
Dear Ms. Williams,
Greetings from PETA. Our headquarters has been alerted to alarming video footage reportedly captured recently at Sierra Lakes Golf Club at 16600 Clubhouse Dr. in Fontana, depicting a coyote ensnared by the foot (possibly an illegal leg-hold set) and being shot around the head and face repeatedly with what appears to be a firearm of minuscule caliber. The shooter awkwardly extends the weapon away from himself with a single hand pitched at a downward angle from the wrist, essentially eliminating the certainty of any immediately fatal accuracy. With each shot, the terrified animal jerks, yelps, and attempts to escape, eventually appearing to have been rendered immobile toward the end of a prolonged and torturous ordeal although still writhing in agony while the shooter apparently reloads again. The video can be viewed here.
California Code of Regulations Title 14 § 465.5 states, “All furbearing and nongame mammals that are legal to trap must be immediately killed or released. Unless released, trapped animals shall be killed by shooting where local ordinances, landowners, and safety permit” [emphasis added]. Clearly, the intent of the law is that trapped animals who are not released should be afforded a quick death. While California Penal Code § 599c states that the cruelty-to-animals statute is not meant to interfere with “game laws” or the right to destroy venomous reptiles or other dangerous animals, the depicted actions fail to meet the standards set forth by the wildlife codes and therefore should not be exempted. Respectfully, would your office be willing to review this matter and consider filing cruelty charges as provided for by § 597? May we hear back from you today?
Thank you for your time and the difficult work that you do every day.
Emergency Response Division Manager
Cruelty Investigations Department