Peacock gunned down after Craigslist ad took out hit on the bird: reports
Was it fowl play?
A peacock that had been a staple in a California neighborhood for years was found shot dead — after someone posted a Craigslist ad taking out a hit on the bird, local reports said.
The online posting went up on June 13, a little more than two weeks before the peacock — nicknamed Mr. P or Azul — was apparently killed in Humboldt County, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
“It’s really sad because he probably suffered for at least two or three hours before he died, possibly more,” resident Melissa Glass told the newspaper.
Glass said, “One of the neighbor’s daughters had actually recalled seeing a Craigslist ad in search of a peacock assassin.”
The ad, which was first reported by local outlet Lost Coast Outpost, had appeared in Craigslist’s “wanted” section with the title “Someone to get rid of a peacock,” adding it wanted the animal dead “by any means necessary.”
The author, who wasn’t identified, claimed that the bird had first appeared in the neighborhood four months ago — and complained about being awakened by its calls, the report said.
“Please contact me so we can form a strategy to eliminate this bird, and also to agree on how much you will be compensated,” the ad read.
But Glass told the Times that the peacock began visiting her Azalea Heights neighborhood six years ago, and often came by her house because it liked spending time with the chicken she owns.
She said many people in the community appreciated the animal and would bring their kids over to take pictures with it.
“Even the UPS guys would stop and take pictures,” she told the Times.
Another resident, Kelsey Radant, told Lost Coast Outpost, “It was a very communal peacock.”
“It makes the rounds and says hi to everybody,” Radant told the outlet.
On June 30, the beloved bird was found covered in blood, dead of a gunshot wound, the reports said.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said deputies are investigating the incident and that a “potential suspect” had been identified.
“The crimes currently being investigated are animal cruelty and conspiracy to commit a crime,” deputies said.
Lost Coast Outpost said it identified the person who posted the since-deleted Craigslist ad, who refused to answer questions and demanded to know if a crime had been committed.
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'Eliminate this bird': Feral peacock found dead after angry California resident's Craigslist ad
“The job is simple… get rid of a wild peacock that is disrupting our lives,” read the since-deleted ad posted in the “Wanted” section on June 13, followed by instructions on where and when to find the bird. “If you’ve ever heard a peacock’s call, you know it’s as loud as a car horn [...] Please contact me so we can form a strategy to eliminate this bird, and also to agree on how much you will be compensated.”
The peacock was described as “kind of a community mascot” by resident Melissa Glass, who said the bird appeared in her yard for the first time about six years ago and kept coming back for company and morsels of food. Since then, she claims most people had come to adore the bird, feeding him cookies and sourdough bread on a regular basis.
But not everyone was so fond of him, as was made apparent by the Craigslist ad accompanied by a Google Maps screenshot detailing the bird’s usual roosting spot. It was the same ad that eventually led neighbors to discover the culprit’s identity — Glass told the Lost Coast Outpost that even though it had been taken down, she was able to find a link to the post on Facebook from a few days before, which revealed an unmistakable blue icon above one of the homes in the satellite image. (If you save your own address on Google Maps, the location-searching service will mark it using the same blue icon to help you navigate to your desired destination.)
When the man posted the ad, he unknowingly revealed his own location — and Glass realized he was the same neighbor who allegedly approached her and other residents previously to discuss the relocation of the bird, which resulted in an argument.
A resident living at Azalea Estates, a mobile home park about a block away from Glass’ residence, discovered the bird’s body in her yard early Wednesday morning, as well as blood on the roof and in the grass where he was found. This led several neighbors to contact police as well as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, but because the bird was not technically considered a pet and is not protected by the state’s fish and wildlife laws, the department's jurisdiction over the incident is uncertain.
Peafowl are native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, but this isn’t the only wayward bird of its kind to appear in Northern California. Last year, a boisterous peacock divided a North Oakland neighborhood when it wandered onto Occidental Street and became the subject of numerous noise complaints, though several neighbors insisted the bird provided them with a sense of joy and comfort during quarantine.
Many residents of Azalea Heights feel that the slaughter of their resident feathered friend is unresolved. If the investigation deems it appropriate, a spokesperson with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office told the Lost Coast Outpost the responsible party “could face charges of discharge of a firearm near a residence and even animal cruelty if the peacock was shot out of malice.”
The individual who killed the peacock has not been identified.
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