Group decries killing of coyote pups in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A wildlife conservation group asks Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson to stop federal employees from using shovels to behead coyote pups.

Williams, Oregon-based Big Wildlife says a 2006 report by the Wildlife Services division of the Department of Agriculture indicates 11 coyotes were killed in Oklahoma using hand tools.

The same report also shows more than 1,700 coyotes were killed with cyanide capsules and thousands more were killed using other methods, like snares, traps, and firearms.

In a letter dated September 12th, Big Wildlife spokesman Brian Vincent asked Edmondson to immediately halt the killings. Edmondson couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Wildlife Services spokeswoman Teresa Howes couldn't confirm that agents were using shovels to kill coyote pups, but said she wouldn't be shocked if they were.

She says the method is more humane that allowing the pups to starve or be killed by predators.

Howes says coyotes are responsible for the deaths of thousands of livestock in Oklahoma each year and often encroach on urban areas, threatening pets and even small children.

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