News

Police seek coyote killer

Slaughtered animal found in Arastradero Preserve on Christmas Eve

Palo Alto police are seeking information from anyone who might know who killed and partially skinned a coyote in Arastradero Preserve.

Police do not know why or how the coyote was killed, but it appeared to have been trapped. Police are considering the incident a case of animal cruelty.

A person hiking in the preserve on Sunday found the dead coyote off the Redtail Loop trail. The animal was hung upside down from a tree and partially skinned. The hiker called police at about 12:13 p.m., police Sgt. Brian Philip said.

Animal control officers were called to the scene to collect evidence and a knife was located nearby, he said. The coyote was found about 50 yards west of the southernmost trail near Arastradero Road and the parking area. There was no sign of a firearm used to kill the coyote, Philip said. The incident was reported to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"Obviously, the fact that someone was able to catch and skin a coyote is a concern," Philip said.

Police are asking anyone who might have information about the incident, who finds a trap or snare, or who sees unusual activity or persons in the open spaces to call Palo Alto police dispatch at 650-329-2413. Preserve and open space users should also stay on trails to avoid possibly being injured by a trap or snare, he said.

A conviction for animal cruelty can result in imprisonment in state prison or in county jail for up to a year and/or up to a $20,000 fine, according to state law. Hunting, poaching, trapping or taking animals at Arastradero and other city open space areas is a crime, according to municipal code.

In general, California requires people to have a hunting license for hunting or trapping coyotes. Traps, including on private property, must be registered with state Fish and Wildlife, according to the California Code of Regulations and the Fish and Game Code.

Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the police's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.

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Comments

4 people like this
Posted by Aletheia
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 29, 2017 at 11:24 am

Aletheia is a registered user.

Uh, I think it's called "hunting". Although illegal in that area, it's certainly not "animal cruelty".


23 people like this
Posted by Sue Dremann
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on Dec 29, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Sue Dremann is a registered user.

Aletheia -- Police have not released details regarding the manner of the coyote's killing. We don't know that it was hunted. It may be there are circumstances that led animal services and police officers to label the death an act of animal cruelty. I am working to get more information, but relevant staff are out of town for the holidays.


17 people like this
Posted by Chuck
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 29, 2017 at 12:24 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by resident17
a resident of Monroe Park
on Dec 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm

resident17 is a registered user.

Could you please name the trail the remains were near? The description of the location in the article isn't clear.


17 people like this
Posted by Graduation Effect
a resident of another community
on Dec 29, 2017 at 5:11 pm

"The animal was hung upside down from a tree and partially skinned."

This sounds sadistic.

The FBI defines cruelty as intentional or reckless actions that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause——e.g., torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning or abandonment.

The FBI acknowledges there is a link between cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans.

Serial killers often begin their criminal careers by torturing and killing animals.

The perpetrator killed this animal for apparently sadistic pleasure. How many other animals has this perpetrator killed out of curiosity (sociopath) or for apparent fun (psychopath)?


Posted by resident17
a resident of Monroe Park

on Dec 30, 2017 at 3:54 pm

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6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 30, 2017 at 7:37 pm

@resident17 - where would you hire a "trapper" that is a member of a satanic cult? By skinning and hanging this animal, was he trying to send a message to other coyotes in the area?


Like this comment
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 31, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Marie is a registered user.

Umm - actually coyote pelts are worth $100 a pelt. It could have been economic. I hope so - but sadly - it is more likely to have been a warped human. I'm glad the city police and animal control are following up to get the real story.

However, it is true that coyotes are becoming a real danger. I have a friend living near Rancho San Antonio, who spotted two large coyotes walking down a residential street near her last week. My friend was getting into her car and it didn't faze them. Her neighbor, about to walk her 3 small dogs, decided not to. This same friend, got a video of a cougar in her (fenced) backyard recently (last couple of months). The video made it on to the evening news. I don't have an answer to the increasing number of wildlife in suburbia. Overpopulation is a big problem for predators in the wild. A good thing is that the cougar(and probably the coyotes as well) population is succeeding in keeping the number of deer down. The bad thing is a given area can only support so many cougars and coyotes. What are we to do about the juveniles being pushed into town because they are being pushed out by existing adults? Remember the one that was treed in Palo Alto a few years ago, 3 blocks from an elementary school on the east side of El Camino. I have no answer but I don't think doing nothing is the answer either. I hope the various animal control officers in San Mateo and Santa Clara County come up with a policy.


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