The case of the duct taped coyote – Does anyone care about coyote abuse?

Tucsonan Joe Gardner was on one of his favorite day trips to Lochiel, about 100 miles southeast of Tucson, where the air is clean and the land pristine – usually.

Except when he finds a dead duct taped coyote.

Duct taped coyote/submitted photo

Duct taped coyote/submitted photo

During his trek about two weeks ago, the 62-year-old who grew up in the Lochiel area noted buzzards circling about and followed their feast to find a mutilated carcass.

The coyote was definitely dead, with a hole in his underside where something had chewed out his entrails. He had not been skinned, but the two front legs and two back legs had been secured with tape, leaving him defenseless, provided he had still been alive when taped.

“I was surprised and puzzled and wondered about mutilation stories I had heard in the past,” Gardner said, “but those involved livestock, not wild animals. I also wondered if it was some kind of sick message for human smugglers, who are also referred to as coyotes.”

He vaguely recalled stories of livestock’s organs and genitalia being removed with “precision-appearing incisions” some time back in Cochise County. Perhaps Jack the Ripper of the cattle world.

Yet he had never seen such abuse of coyotes.

Lochiel school house/submitted photo

Lochiel school house/submitted photo

“I have not an inkling as to who or why would bind a coyote and leave it out for the buzzards,” he said. “I was born and raised in the area, and as a matter of fact, this was right in front of the one room school I attended when I was a kid. I know just about everyone who lives in the area, and can’t imagine any locals doing this, as they live in the area because they love and respect the land.”

Nothing respectful about a duct taped coyote.

Arizona’s animal cruelty felony law, ARS 13-2910, slaps a felony on anyone that “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly inflicts unnecessary physical injury to any animal.”

Awesome law. But it may not apply in the case of the duct taped coyote.

“Law enforcement would have to successfully allege that it was cruelty,” explained Marsh Myers, spokesman for the Animal Cruelty Taskforce of Southern Arizona. “Since coyotes can be legally hunted, an investigation would have to rule this possibility out. Sometimes the animal is hunted and then the carcass is just left to rot. It’s a sloppy practice but it happens all the time.”

In that case, it’s OK.

Many hunters are respectful – even reverent – about nature and engage in the sport for much more than just the kill. But there are always the idiots.

In another coyote case earlier this year, six mutilated carcasses were found dumped in a creek near an Oklahoma high school.

The critters had been skinned, with their front legs chopped off at the knees and their remains unceremoniously hurled where teens could easily find them.

The animals were originally thought to be dogs and all hell broke loose. Necropsies revealed they had been a half dozen coyotes. Hell kind of subsided.

While Oklahoma, like Arizona, does have animal cruelty laws with severe penalties, it would probably not apply if the animals were being hunted for their fur.

Authorities in Ohio were going nuts in 2007 trying to find the sicko who apparently skinned and boiled a dog – while it was still alive.

The animal, identified by a vet as a chow/pit bull mix, was fully skinned except for fur left on its paws, had cuts on its legs and neck and had wire wound around one of the back legs.

Someone finally did come forward to confess – that the animal was not a dog at all but simply a coyote he hunted but didn’t dispose of properly.

Even though the vet had initially been wrong about the animal’s identification, calling it a dog, the doc was not wrong about the animal having been still alive when it was boiled and skinned.

No matter. It was just a coyote.

The case was immediately closed and all pending criminal charges promptly dropped.



Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who loves coyotes as much as she loves wolves but not as much as she loves her dogs. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at E-mail


What do you think?

Is there a way to better enforce – or even prove – the animal cruelty felony law?

Can anything be done to better protect hunted wildlife from undue abuse?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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51 Responses to The case of the duct taped coyote – Does anyone care about coyote abuse?

  1. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski. Man’s capacity for cruelty never ceases to amaze me.
    While I’m no great fan of the coyote, this is demented. Therefore my vote is torture in kind. Just sickening.

    • Rynski says:

      mornin’ radmax – i AM a great fan of coyotes so i say this is demented times 5 million. glad you voted for torture in kind. and yes, man’s capacity for cruelty is quite vast. as a side note, i’m in the middle of reading true crime on jeffrey dahmer’s reign of sickness.
      NO living creature should be abused. not even bugs. i hate when people rip the wings off flies. insects should be killed respectfully – in one fell swoop.

    • jester says:

      Yep Man can be the most cruel of life on this planet . I spent a year in Bosnia working with “SFOR” and some of the Serbs separatist would round up WHO they wanted and line them up then they would walk down the line and kill them with a Hammer instead of shooting them .men women children they did not think they worth waisting
      a bullet  on. we would find them like that tied up and hit .
      sorry I know it’s a bit vivid for some But it reflects on man’s lack of
      feeling for life I mean what went wrong with someone to make them
      that numb to what they do .

      • Jennatoolz says:

        That’s just incredibly awful and there are no words for that. It’s the way those people are brought up (I’m assuming, of course) that makes them think that it’s okay to do those things. What went wrong is their entire upbringing…at least from my stand point. To them, it’s probably just the way it is.

        How terrible it must have been to witness something like that. I wouldn’t be able to handle something like that…I’d be way too emotional.

      • Rynski says:

        hammers. i agree, jester, that man can be the cruelest life form on this planet. that’s why some people prefer animals over people (no names, please).
        and yes, jeannatoolz, i agree upbringing – or lack thereof – plays a huge role. some shrinks have hypothesized certain folks can be born with an “evil gene” but i don’t know about that one….

      • azmouse says:

        Probably a combination of nature and nurture. Obviously, not all people brought up in a horrible household become horrible people. But if there is the bad childhood on top of mental health issues or abilities to detach from what happens to you and what happens to your victims, then it’s a very bad outcome.

  2. azmouse says:

    Sad, sick and extremely cruel. It shouldn’t matter what the animal is. People capable of hurting an animal are usually capable of much more.
    There was recently a cat that was covered in duct tape and thrown out in a yard. It made national news. Some guy got sick of his neighbors kitten and covered it with tons of duct tape. Thank goodness someone found it in time and they painfully had to remove all the tape, but the kitten survived.

    • Rynski says:

      now a duct taped cat? i am so glad to hear the kitten survived. that’s awful. bet the punishment for the dude is something like one year ‘supervised’ probation where all he has to do is call in and say he’s not torturing a cat.
      you’re right about people who hurt animals being capable of much more. animal cruelty is one of the big three warning signs of a potential killer, part of the A, B. C – arson, bed wetting and cruelty to animals (if i remember correctly).

  3. radmax says:


    I have no opinion because I watch TV and eat marshmallows all day.


  4. radmax says:

    Maybe it’s time for some duct tape control laws. It’s evidently the torturers weapon of choice. 🙂 Mornin’ az!

    • Rynski says:

      …or at least a type of WARNING on the duct tape label:
      WARNING: this item is not to be used for wrapping up kittens, binding coyote legs or placing over the mouth of kidnap victims. the use of this product for such purposes will result in severe penalties.
      heck, that warning on the mattress tag has people leaving it attached for years.

    • azmouse says:

      Mornin’ Maxter  🙂


  5. Jennatoolz says:

    That’s just awful. I, too, read about the story of the lil kitty that was duct taped and saw a picture of it too. It hurts my heart. 😦

    A few years ago, I was visiting my mom up in Queen Creek. There’s a lot of desert around her place, so we’d often go exploring. One time we found a dead dog, obviously not a coyote, with a huge stick shoved up his hind end. We wondered what the point of that would be? Fun and games? Who knows…it was really sad, and disrespectful to the deceased doggy.

    • Rynski says:

      …and the dog stick torturer was probably never caught. sick, sick, sick. makes me want to train sawyer to attack strangers – oh, wait – he already would (haha).
      seriously, tho, the abuse is no laughing matter. some fun and games.

    • azmouse says:

      So sad.

      Many years ago when I was in high school, me and some friends were ditching class (I know, I was a rotten kid) and we were just wondering around the desert (went to Sabino and there wasn’t much around then) I found a beautiful Afghan Hound tied to a cactus with a rope and the dog had duct tape around his neck. He was dehydrated and completely emaciated, but alive.
      I rushed the dog to my Dad’s feed store because he’s so great with animals (anyone remember Diamond X Feed? That was Dad) We gave him water, but he was to weak to eat. He didn’t make it, but at least he didn’t die alone in the middle of nowhere.

  6. Dom says:

    Thanks for not immediately blaming this sick act on us hunters. A true sportsman/hunter takes pride in harvesting an animal swiftly and with the least amount of pain having to be endured by the animal. If the coyote was, indeed, alive when taped that was a despicable act. If the animal was already dead—why? In any case, isn’t it frightening to realize that these people live amongst us??

    • Rynski says:

      hiya dom – i wrote a previous column on hunting and learned a lot from talking with several hunters. it gave me a whole new perspective on hunting, especially as an animal lover. as you mentioned, the true sportsman/hunter shows respect.
      i, too, am puzzled over the point of the duct tape. and also wholly agree that it is VERY frightening to know such sickos are out there.

  7. Joe G says:

    By the way, Ryn, the coyote was just a couple hundred yards north of the Mexican border fence.

  8. A.Farley says:

    After running out of gas in the desert I came across a folding chair wrapped in duct tape in places that was  where a human was tied up and two empty rolls of duct tape and you could see where they cut whoever loose after I don’t know what but it was creepy. Those snaps of the ki-yotes you posted creeped me out too.
    redeem swift is the captcha for the day

    • azmouse says:

      Very creepy story, Farley.

      • Jennatoolz says:

        A very creepy story indeed! It reminds me of a time when I was driving back to Tucson from Sierra Vista a couple years back, and I saw a lot of clothing strewn over the barbed wire fence along the road. Bra’s, t-shirts, socks, you name it…it was all dangling on the fence for a mile or two. I thought that too was kind of creepy.

    • Rynski says:

      dear redeem swift –
      that IS a creepy scene. now you got me thinking about rickety chair i always see in the rillito riverbed while walking the dogs…don’t recall any duct tape on it, but maybe there is.
      jennatoolz – the strewn clothing is also creepy. i saw a bag of clothes strewn about at highway rest stop – one of those lonely rest stops that don’t have bathrooms but just scruby foliage and a picnic table. def. thought VICTIM.
      and azmouse – i was very saddened by the dog tied to cactus story above. sorry he didn’t make it but glad you guys tried to save him.

  9. A.Farley says:

    When they outlaw ductape then only outlaws will have ductape, it’s a sad, sad world with Leftfield around.
    “yaps chants” is still yet another captcha, who makes these things anyway?
    AZ mouse is still my role model even if she does that starbucks thing

    • azmouse says:

      I’m so flattered!!! But I don’t know what I did to deserve such an honorary position.

      Starbuck’s for Mom and Dad……just trying to finally be the good daughter they deserve. Always saw myself as the dysfunctional child of perfectly functional parents. lol

      • azmouse says:

        By the way, I’ve never seen a man pull off a flower in the hair as well as you do, Farley.

        But we all have to work on you and Leftfield being friends.  🙂

      • leftfield says:

        Maybe it would help if I understood why he has a dead muskrat riding on his upper lip.

    • radmax says:

      Ha! “I will give up my duct tape when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers”…’blaming duct tape for violence is like blaming spoons for Rosie O’Donell being fat’. Good one Farley!
      PS-I think Rynski dreams up those captcha things… 🙂

    • leftfield says:

      The phrase is “would be a sad, sad world without Leftfield around”.

  10. A.Farley says:

    You guys are becoming like La Familia to me. Ya’ll come down to Arivaca next time to the MoonDance Saloon when you get the time.
    F. bitchier is the Captcha

  11. leftfield says:

    Jester’s comment reminds me that genocide doesn’t start out as genocide.  It starts small, with a wink and a nod identifying some group as the “other”; people who are not like us.  Before long, it is easy to see this other group as the source of all our problems.  From there, it’s a short trip to denying their rights as human and persecution based only on their inclusion in the “other”. 

    • ado1 says:

      This from the same Lefty who expresses disappointment that no assassin got to President Bush?  Your communist compassion is showing, comrade.  Perhaps you need to purge?

      • leftfield says:

        Actually, my disappointment had to do with John Hinckley’s poor marksmanship.  There’s still time for King George to pay for his crimes. 
        I have no compassion for the ruling class, just as they have no compassion or interest in you, except as a means to an end.

      • Ado says:

        Much as I may dislike and criticize a U.S. president, I have never wished that people like Lynette  “Squeeky”  Fromme,  or John Hinckley had been better at firearms usage.  I’m curious, Comrade Lefty, under what conditions would you deem an assassination of a U.S. president to be justifiable to you? Apparently in the case of Reagan, you had some very hateful and angry sentiments.

      • leftfield says:

        It’s always better if you can stop a mass murderer before they commit their crimes, don’t you think, comrade?  The greasy-haired old gas bag was anti-union, imperialist and racist on top of being a murderer by proxy.  He was a kind of Pol Pot lite; though he did his dirty work internationally and not domestically.   Even though I cannot support the death penalty under any conditions, I do find some justice in that he lost his mind before dying.   

  12. leftfield says:

    I’m wondering how someone managed to control a wild animal long enough to duct tape its legs without losing their face.

  13. mythbuster says:

    The coyote, North America’s most intelligent wild animal, is also its most persecuted. There are NO protections in any state for song dogs. Even worse,  USDA’s division of “Wildlife Services” spends millions of our tax dollars to shoot, trap and poison coyotes in an INEFFECTIVE predator “management” program at the behest of livestock producers.  These farmers prefer to spend OUR tax money to have coyotes killed,  than to protect their lambs and calves or use better fencing, guard dogs or donkeys.

    That is why individuals feel they actually have the government’s blessing to torture and kill coyotes at will. 

    Those of us who respect wildlife have been silent for too long.  E-mail your state legislator, your Governor, your Member of Congress, and even President Obama.  Let them see this news story. 

    Tell them to stop using our tax dollars to slaughter coyotes. Once our officials stop sanctioning the killing of coyotes and provide some protections for them, people will not feel it is their right to unleash such brutality on these beautiful animals.

    For more information about these amazing animals, check   Did you know coyotes have the same mates for years, sometimes a lifetime?  Did you know both the female and male raise their puppies, and the parents even meet up with their offspring a year later and seem to be checking on their progress? 

    Coyotes are also badly needed in the ecosystem where they eat rodents, insects and clean up the carrion.   If we all speak out, we can end such cruelty against what the Navajo called “God’s dogs.”

    • ado1 says:

      Thanx for the excellent website link, mythbuster.  We need to educate more people about wildlife in general, and coyotes in particular.  They are beautiful & smart critters.

  14. ado1 says:

    Coyotes don’t deserve that kind of treatment anymore than any house puppy does.  The sick SOB that did that can be fully expected to do similar things to humans as well, since empathy and compassion for living things is obviously absent in this person’s head.  I paid a visit to Lochiel back in the 1980’s.  Nothing there but a few ranches and a sparse scattering of buildings, not even a store or a gas station.  When you get down to the Mexico border crossing there was only a rather common chain link fence and a locked gate.  No BP was evident anywhere.   I do expect the border crossing has been beefed up a bit in the last twenty years, but I wouldn’t count on it.  It would not surprise me that this act of inhumanity was done by an illegal.
    Since the collection of buildings called Lochiel  was a Mexican-American settlement back in the 1980’s, I would bet that it still is, you can draw your own conclusion about the ethnicity of the perp.  I guess you can choose from illegal Mexican, or U.S. citizen of Mexican decent…  just a logical  guess you understand.

    • leftfield says:

      You never disappoint, Ado.  Keep writing, I can feel myself getting ready to purge already.

      • Ado says:

        It’s generally believed that Chairman Mao, who is much admired by Anita “Mao” Dunn  the Kenyan-in-Chief’s communication director,  is directly responsible for a purge of at least 70 MILLION of his Chinese fellow citizens.  Just how many do you envision purging, Comrade Lefty?

      • leftfield says:

        I imagine that Ms Dunn’s admiration for Mao exists more in the minds of the tea-partiers and birthers than in reality. 

        “Purging” has more than one usage, comrade.  In your case, my intent in using the term was to liken reading your missives to a literary purgative; something capable of causing nausea and involuntary evacuation of the bowels.

      • Ado says:

        O.K. Lefty…  go change your pants and sit on your toilet awhile. 

        As for Ms. Dunn’s admiration for a mass murderer,  try assimilating facts for a change, instead of that diet of communist propaganda.  In her own words she said it, at least two times.


  15. tiponeill says:

    Lefty has to wait until we get the FEMA concentration camps finished.
    Not to much longer

  16. teresa says:

    This is cruel…barbaric..sadistic…so many more derogitory words for anyone who could do this..All animal cruelty should be stamped out the world over.. If a human is capable of cruelty to an animal …I fear what they are also capable of doing to children..The world over!!!

  17. lach veronica says:

    would be good a petition for this….

  18. carlos Rebelo says:

    I would like to ask for a petition, so we can start to put an end to this disgusting torture of animals. After all, we’re all connected.
    Thank u.

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