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Costa Mesa man arrested for shooting, killing raccoons

August 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man suspected of shooting two raccoons has been arrested after residents complained he opened fire in their neighborhood. He could face charges of felony animal cruelty and willfully discharging a firearm.

Samuel Gregory isn't talking, but some of his neighbors are telling us that he expressed his frustration in dealing with the raccoons that were killing his pets.

Wednesday just before 6 a.m., they heard that the raccoons actually got into the house and that's when apparently Gregory had enough.

Neighbors say Gregory had been dealing with the raccoon problem at his home for a long time.

"He definitely mentioned that the raccoons a while ago killed one of his ducks," said neighbor Stephanie Williams. "Because they have ducks and turtles, like a little menagerie."

Williams lives next door and says the shots woke her and her husband up from a sound sleep.

"There's a couple of shots that went off and we heard screaming," said Williams. "So you know groggily, when I woke up, I was like 'oh my gosh' to my husband, I was like 'see what's going on outside, it sounds like a person screaming,' and it ended up being the raccoons screaming. I mean they are really loud."

The x-rays of the two raccoons gives an idea of the extent of their wounds. The baby was dead on arrival; the mother had to be put to sleep.

"Unfortunately raccoons do use their hands and their arms to wash their food and to eat," said veterinarian Dr. Audra De La Torre. "And so without those, and she would have needed an amputation, there's no way we would have been able to rerelease her like that safely. She wouldn't have survived in the wild."

According to Costa Mesa police, Gregory cooperated fully when approached by officers about the shots being fired in his home.

"Once our officers arrived on scene, they found Mr. Gregory leaving his vehicle," said Lt. Mark Manley. "They stopped him, located a rifle in the back of his truck. Mr. Gregory admitted to shooting raccoons in his backyard."

After being arrested, Gregory posted $25,000 bail.

According to Costa Mesa Police and Dr. De La Torre, anywhere you live in Southern California, if you're having problems with wild animals, you're urged to contact your local animal control department and let them deal with the problem.

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