Settlement ends Oregon coyote-killing contest

Animal Legal Defense Fund sued on anti-gambling law violations

A male eastern coyote patrols its pen, Wednesday, April 9, 2003, at the A.E. Howell Wildlife Conservation Center in Amity, Maine. (AP)
A male eastern coyote patrols its pen, Wednesday, April 9, 2003, at the A.E. Howell Wildlife Conservation Center in Amity, Maine. (AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An animal-rights group and the organizer of an annual coyote-killing contest in southeast Oregon have settled competing lawsuits with an agreement that there will be no more hunting contests.

Coyotes are classified as predatory animals under Oregon law, and there are no limits on killing them. Faced with that reality, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued on the grounds that the contest violated anti-gambling laws.

Organizer Duane Freilino said Friday he agreed to the contest-ending settlement because he ran out of money to pay attorneys.

Stephen Wells, executive director of the animal-right group, says the agreement means hundreds of coyotes can live peacefully in the wilderness.

Freilino said he started the contest almost a decade ago to increase winter tourism in the sparsely populated region and to help ranchers by reducing coyote numbers before calving season.

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