We previously reported that an employee who controls nuisance predators with the Wyoming Wildlife Services is under investigation for photos he allegedly posted to a personal Facebook page of ensnared coyotes.
The photos of the trapped predators, alive and dead, that Jamie P. Olson allegedly posted online have spread like wildfire. As of Monday, more than 44,000 people have signed an online petition calling for his termination. Many petitioners say this incident a clear example of institutionalized animal cruelty.
The Change.org petition was created by Project Coyote, a California-based coyote advocacy group. The petition itself calls the employee in question's actions "animal abuse and torture."
In some of the photos, dogs are seen taunting a trapped coyote and playing with what appears to be its carcass.
But these photos have attracted more than media scrutiny.
Two congressmen, Rep. John Campbell of California and Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack saying Wildlife Services deserves a thorough audit, including its lethal predator control program, by the USDA Office of Inspector General.
The congressmen said in the letter they are concerned that these photographs "do not represent an isolated occurrence, but may reflect a deep-rooted problem within the Wildlife Services program that allows for - and encourages - inhumane lethal methods of predator control."