Fort Worth

She shot a ‘chicken-stealing varmint’ in Fort Worth. Then she shared it on Facebook.

Coyote lives in Trinity Park in Fort Worth

A rare daytime sighting, record-setting heat brings a coyote out to drink at a creek in Trinity Park in Fort Worth.
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A rare daytime sighting, record-setting heat brings a coyote out to drink at a creek in Trinity Park in Fort Worth.

Mary Kelleher was getting ready for work Thursday morning when her guinea hens started squawking, as they do when there’s something strange in the yard.

Kelleher immediately knew what it was: one of the coyotes that has been prowling around her 12-acre property on the east side of Fort Worth, taking chickens, geese, even newborn calves.

“I grabbed the gun, went on the back porch and shot it,” the former Tarrant County water district board member said. “I’ve shot at them a couple of times, but this is the first time I’ve had a confirmed kill.”

Kelleher took a photo of the dead coyote, which she believes was a young male, and posted the picture on Facebook with the message: “One less chicken-stealing varmint! Dropped it from the back porch.”

Coyotes — as well as bobcats and other wildlife — have been a growing concern for Kelleher and many throughout North Texas, as new development springs up, replacing vacant fields and natural areas that had been home to wildlife.

State law stipulates that people may shoot coyotes that threaten livestock, domestic animals or fowls.

City ordinance also allows a firearm to be discharged when “lawfully defending” property, which includes livestock, said Gerald Pruitt, deputy city attorney for Fort Worth.

Kelleher said she’s gotten varying reactions about her social media post.

“Most of it has been pretty positive,” she said. “Some people feel sorry for the coyotes and I agree. I feel sorry for them, too, but I have to protect my livestock.”

Nearly a decade ago, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry drew national attention for shooting a coyote while he was out jogging on a trail near Austin.

He said he used the .380 Ruger he carried while jogging, because he’s afraid of snakes, to shoot and kill the coyote that ran toward his puppy.

Kelleher used a .204 Ruger.

This coyote was caught on surveillance tape roaming the back yard of a home in the Tanglewood neighborhood of Fort Worth early Wednesday morning. Remember to check your back yard for these hunters prior to letting your dogs and cats out, and try t

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.