Several pigeons were killed Friday in the Safeway parking lot. Scotts Valley Police Department is investigating it as a potential animal abuse case. (Courtesy of Gaia Miller)

Scotts Valley police have launched an animal abuse investigation following the apparent willful killing of several pigeons last week, according to authorities.

Just before 12:30pm on Sept. 8, a local resident called the Scotts Valley Police Department reporting a truck had just accelerated into a flock of birds in the Mt. Hermon Road Safeway parking lot.

An officer who was on another call at the time broke away from that assignment and made it to the crime scene at 12:58pm, said SVPD Det. Sgt. Meredith Roberts.

“There were approximately 5-8 pigeons that looked like they had been run over,” she said Monday. “One of the witnesses provided a license plate. At this time the officer is attempting to identify the driver based on that information.”

Gaia Miller didn’t see the incident, but came across the carnage shortly afterward.

“I could not believe what I was looking at, and my first thought was that they had been shot,” Miller said. “The witnesses were struggling to comprehend this inexcusable act of violence.”

Roberts said she is unaware of any similar cases happening in the past seven years.

“At face value, we are investigating it as animal abuse,” she said. “That’s where the investigation is starting.”

SVPD is optimistic about their chances of cracking the case, given that there were multiple witnesses to the incident and there could be surveillance footage, Roberts said.

“Animal abuse is a crime—it can either be a misdemeanor or a felony,” she said. “A felony for animal abuse can carry up to three years in jail.”

Anyone with additional information about the incident is asked to call the Scotts Valley Police Department at 831-440-5670.

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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