Coyote found dead in Vista backyard: Officials say animal caught in illegal trap

VISTA, Calif. - The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is investigating the death of a coyote that was caught in an illegal snare trap in Vista.

Bill Reilly and his wife, Jill, discovered the young coyote nestled in a bush in their backyard.

"My dog Isabelle kept barking and wouldn't stop. She took me to the spot. I thought it was a beautiful shepherd that was taking a nap, it even licked my hand," said Reilly.

The family soon discovered the animal had a thick wire trap wrapped around its body.

"It was still alive; [its] kidneys, liver and insides were gutted, its legs were broken. It was nearly severed in two, but it was still so gentle," said Reilly.

Reilly contacted rescuers, who immediately identified the wire contraption as an illegal snare trap.

Fish and Wildlife officials told 10News the use of a snare trap is a serious crime that is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The coyote was taken to the Escondido Humane Society where it was humanely euthanized.

"It could have been a dog, cat or even a child. Nothing deserves to die like that. My wife and I cried," said Reilly, who is a self-proclaimed animal lover.

Reilly told 10News he understands some people may consider coyotes a pest, but he feels the animals should be respected.

"It's a life; they were here before us," Reilly said.

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