Multiple ducks have been found dead with pellet gun wounds at TeWinkle Park in Costa Mesa over the last few weeks, and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is offering a reward to help find those responsible.
PETA is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction on cruelty charges of whoever is responsible for shooting and killing the birds, the animal rights organization said in a news release Thursday.
Late last month, Costa Mesa authorities announced that multiple ducks had been killed at the park since Easter Sunday.
Three more wounded birds were discovered last Friday, all of which died after apparently being shot with a BB or pellet gun, the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center reported. A goose was also wounded and later had to be euthanized as a result of her injuries.
A Pekin duck was brought in to the center for exams on Saturday with a pellet under his right wing. That bird survived its injury, the center’s executive director, Debbie McGuire, said earlier this week.
Just two weeks ago, four other ducks were found dead in the park after being shot numerous times, leading police to believe that the birds were killed by the same people.
“It’s horrendous. Nothing upsets us more. These are animals that have been loved by the local community in the local park,” the center’s medical director, Dr. Elizabeth Wood, told KTLA last month.
PETA is hoping to get help from the public to solve the case before anyone else falls victim to the violence, the organization said.
“There seems to be a serial shooter on the loose, with one bird after another enduring a slow and agonizing death,” said PETA’s Senior Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA urges anyone with information to come forward right away, before another duck or goose is mowed down in TeWinkle Park.”
Costa Mesa police Lt. Ed Everett told KTLA the department is aware of a couple incidents involving ducks and geese being shot at the park and is actively investigating the incidents. Investigators have collected the ammunition from the dead ducks and are trying to lift fingerprints from the bullet fragments and pellets.
Investigators believe the BB or pellet gun shootings are happening after hours, when the park is closed, Everett said.
Police have since increased park ranger presence and patrols at the park.
There was no description available of any suspect in the case.
If found, the assailant could face animal cruelty charges, authorities said.
Anyone with pertinent information can contact the Costa Mesa Police Department at 714-754-5282.