A blind mother coyote rescued earlier this year after she was found shot in the head was euthanized Wednesday in Southern California.
Officials decided to euthanize Angel after a veterinarian determined she was suffering too much, said Andrew Hughan, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman.
Rescuers pulled the coyote from an empty reservoir in February. She had been shot between the eyes and was also pregnant at the time.
After a monthlong regimen of care, including intravenous fluids and vitamins, the coyote gave birth at an animal hospital to a litter of five healthy puppies. But she never recovered her sight.
"She nursed her pups up to where they were healthy enough to live without her,"Hughan said. "But her health — I mean, she had a bullet through the brain and she couldn't see. Her life was not anything acceptable."
Julia Di Sieno, of the Animal Rescue Team in Solvang, found the coyote in the reservoir after a call came into her hotline Feb. 11. The coyote, whom she named Angel, was bleeding and having trouble breathing.
Di Sieno climbed down 30 feet into the stone-and-mortar reservoir and loaded the wounded animal onto a gurney.
Examinations revealed Angel had been shot between the eyes, and the bullet blinded her. The coyote then likely wandered the Santa Ynez Valley north of Santa Barbara for days or weeks until she tumbled into the reservoir, Di Sieno said.
"What this animal endured is beyond comprehension," Di Sieno told the Los Angeles Times earlier this year. "When she had puppies, I didn't know whether to cry in sadness or for joy."
After persuading the state Department of Fish and Wildlife not to euthanize Angel, Di Sieno had hoped to keep her as a surrogate mother for young coyotes rescued by her nonprofit. In California, possession of a coyote is illegal unless permitted by the state.
But on Wednesday morning, she surrendered Angel to Fish and Wildlife for the coyote's health to be evaluated.
"It was the right thing to do. She's out of her misery," Hughan said.