HOUMA, La. -- Authorities said they are investigating a viral video showing a young coyote being deliberately struck and run over multiple times by a pickup truck late last week in a local parking lot.
According to the Terrebonne Sheriff’s Office, about 11 a.m. June 16, a deputy responded to the Best Buy, 1640 Martin Luther King Blvd., Houma, after receiving reports that a coyote had been struck by a truck during the previous night.
Property manager Nicole Marie of Houma said she thought it was going to be an average day at work when her work crew spotted the carcass on the Best Buy parking lot that morning. However, she said there was something about the dead animal that alarmed her.
“My guys were detailing the parking lot and I was on my way over there to look at some water leaks in the building,” Marie said. “They called to tell me they found a dead dog in the front of Best Buy. We thought it was a dog at first, but it turned out to be a baby coyote. There was a note left on the dead coyote that said ‘Rest in peace.’ It was very sick.”
Marie said she retrieved surveillance video from Best Buy and watched the footage in horror. The video depicts a dark-colored pickup truck chasing down the coyote. The animal makes several attempts to escape, but the truck continues its pursuit and eventually strikes the coyote. As the injured animal makes one last attempt to get away, the truck backs up and runs over the creature yet again.
The truck runs over the animal one last time before coming to a stop. The grainy footage then shows two individuals climb out of the truck and stand over the dead animal. One of the suspects appears to snap a photo of the dead animal before returning to the vehicle. The truck then drives away.
Outraged, Marie alerted authorities about the incident and posted the video to her Facebook account. Since it was posted June 16, the video has garnered more than 182,000 views and 2,454 shares.
Since then, Marie said she’s been working around the clock to seek justice for the animal.
“We as human beings can’t act like that,” she said. “This is not OK. I took it upon myself to investigate it. No one was helping me.”
The Sheriff’s Office said there have been complaints filed regarding coyotes attacking and killing domestic animals.
“Coyotes are considered as a nuisance and a danger to human life, however taking this type of action is not encouraged,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Marie said although coyotes may have a negative reputation, no creature deserves to suffer such a grisly fate.
“It doesn’t matter that it’s a coyote,” she said. “It’s still cruelty to animals. This is a story that needs to get out because we can’t think it’s OK to do something so cruel like that. It’s just appalling.”
In response to the outrage generated by Marie’s viral video, Gonzales resident Tut Henry said he is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can identify the culprits who killed the coyote.
“I came across the video and was saddened by it,” Henry said. “I noticed somebody in the comments said that it might help if someone offered a reward for it, so I decided I would be willing to put out a $1,000 reward to help catch the people behind this.”
As someone who owns lots of land and livestock, Henry said he’s encountered plenty of coyotes over the years.
“I know what a coyote looks like, but sometimes it could be hard to determine if it’s a coyote or German Shepherd,” he said. “From that far away, they didn’t know what kind of animal it was at the time. That could have been somebody’s little dog running out there. It doesn’t matter to me if it was a coyote or a rabbit. They took it upon themselves to run over something for fun that wasn’t hurting anybody. What got me was that it was trying to run away, and they stopped and backed over it again.”
The Sheriff’s Office said it has turned over the investigation to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.