CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A man has been charged after neighbors found a pile of dead coyotes in a neighborhood.
Daniel Lee Moore was charged with felony littering a few weeks after the coyotes were first found.
Mark Liebner says Thursday afternoon when a neighbor asked him if he wanted to see something “really crazy”, he took him up on the offer and walked into the wooded area behind their McCarron Way subdivision.
“So we were walking back there – at first it looked like a whole bunch of deer or raccoons or something,” Liebner said. “We got closer and closer and it was just literally a pile of just dead coyotes. All piled up, had tags on them.”
“It was a really gnarly site. Smelled really bad,” Liebner added.
The two called police. They also shot a short video they provided to WBTV.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “I guess it was like why would you bring a whole bunch of dead coyotes and dump them here?”
"I’ve never seen that amount in one place before,” said Wildlife Enforcement Officer Sampson Parker.
It’s legal to kill coyotes, but Wildlife Enforcement says the proper way to dispose of them is to take them to a landfill. They say not all landfills accept carcasses of animals.
Officer Parker says the investigation shows the suspect - who is from Rowan County - got the coyotes from a large hunt.
"It wasn't just Mecklenburg County where this came from,” said Officer Parker. “Several different counties so far that where these coyotes came from. It looks like one individual got a hold of all these coyotes and unfortunately just made a bad decision to dispose of them not properly."
Parker says his office, Emergency Management, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Animal Care and Control and Charlotte Fire responded to the scene and collected all the evidence.
The property where the dead coyotes were found is owned by the city of Charlotte. County officials say it used to be the old McCarron Wastewater Treatment plant the city of Charlotte bought and then locked it up.
So how did someone with several dozen dead coyotes get in?
“There’s a gate there and the gate is locked at all times and the only people who have keys to it are the city workers,” said neighbor Mark Liebner.
WBTV asked city officials how someone would get onto city property if there was supposed to be a locked gate.
A spokesperson replied, “Since, the wildlife commission is leading this effort, we’re going to defer questions to them.”
“There was a gate and that is something we’re unsure of how he was able to get back in there. That’s still under investigation,” said Officer Parker and added that’s he has no information that the suspect is an employee of the city of Charlotte.
The carcasses were piled in a heap on the ground next to a wet weather ditch. That wooded area is considered a flood plain. County officials say the ditch leads to a larger stream.
According to the county, water sampling was done after the dead coyotes were found. County workers say there is no evidence the carcasses had a negative impact on the water.