More Chicagoland Violence: Officers Terrorize Average Citizen
Disturbing Incident Involving More Chicago Violence:
Civil Rights Violations, Excessive Force and Intimidation,
and Human and Animal Abuse by Law Enforcement at My Home
3 of 4 Dead; I'm Traumatized
I need help after a disturbing incident involving an egregious civil rights violation that I recently experienced. It concerns the use of excessive force and intimidation of an average citizen by law enforcement.
13 years ago, I was fostering animals for a wildlife rehab group when the group was given coyote pups that were dropped off at a local animal shelter. The pups were imprinted on humans so they could not be safely released, confirmed by both USDA and private veterinarians.
I obtained my federal USDA licensing and approval to keep the coyotes in large outdoor enclosures I built on my property. For the next 13 years, I cared for the coyotes and took pride and joy in educating the public about peaceful coexistence, coyote behavior and value to our ecosystem, and my opinion that coyotes should not be considered for household pets.
On April 24, 2019 at 7:00 a.m, that all changed when a large contingent of six officers from the IDNR Illinois Department of Natural Resources and CCAC Cook County Animal Control arrived in multiple vehicles and entered my property brandishing assault rifles and rousting me from bed. They waved a warrant and demanded entry into my property. I offered to show them my licensing but the IDNR officer in charge said they were taking all my paperwork as well as my 4 coyotes NOW.
They terrorized my coyotes by flipping over their houses and safe hiding spots, and chasing and cornering them in canned-hunt style. They shot my precious coyotes with tranquilizer guns and dragged them out on choke hold poles by their necks. My beloved coyotes who had only known kindness from humans up until that day, were gasping for air, bleeding, traumatized and injured in the process. 3 of 4 coyotes died soon after. I am charged with hunting citations, violations that should not apply to educational sanctuary animals. I fight desperately to bring Luna, my sole survivor, back home to safe haven so she can live in peace and comfort, and continue to be an ambassador for her species.
This incident was reported in the Chicago Tribune and was covered in several local television news segments, including Fox 32 Chicago news.
This sort of unaccountable aggressive police action against the civilian defies credibility and is totally uncalled for in a civilized society. The level of armed force employed would have been more appropriate if it had been a take down of a dangerous drug lord.
What sort of agency sends armed officers to confront a sleeping woman to deal with an animal control issue? The officers were brash and threatened me if I interfered, even if it were just to mitigate the harm to the animals.
I believe we were targeted by one IDNR officer who recently moved into the neighborhood and felt the need to assert his military style power upon our peaceful co-existence and educational campaign, despite the wishes of all long-time neighbors who support and like my coyotes. They all told him this and he acted out illogically and without provocation anyway.
It is heavy-handed incidents like this where citizens are deprived of the due process they are entitled to that solidifies the public’s distrust of authority and law enforcement. Many people are concerned now that we are sliding toward increasingly authoritarian government and this does not sit well with the majority of Americans. Can anyone now randomly be targeted and intimidated in their home by officers with guns?
Per court documents, the IDNR officer who led the raid had allegedly been walking his dog past my property one day, when his dog barked and my coyotes howled in response. This allegedly started his investigation which he told me consisted of finding my active USDA licensing which is public online, copying photos from my Facebook and Instagram profiles, and interviewing my neighbors, who he stated all said they were quite fond of my coyotes and that I took good care of them.
I was never given any warning or opportunity to correct any alleged state permit issues and my coyotes were taken brutally, although I offered to humanely crate them, I was not allowed to do this. The violent seize resulted in the deaths of three of my coyotes while in the care of a north suburban wildlife rehab, as they were placed there by IDNR.
I went to court several times with my attorneys in attempts to obtain the return of my sole surviving coyote Luna. This has so far been denied, but a kind judge awarded me visitation with Luna.
The first Wildlife Rehab in the northern suburbs would not allow me the court ordered visitation, and IDNR then moved Luna, my only surviving coyote, to another Wildlife Rehab in the western suburbs. I have had nearly 3 months of weekly and now bi-weekly visits and only saw Luna on her feet three times, twice was because she was scared by workers at the rehab facility into a panic, once she tried to come to me. She is so frightened and in a state of distress and depression, that she lays in one position, unresponsive, broken, and too scared to move. Many followers on social media thought she was injured or drugged, but I can see her spirit is broken. She is now kept indoors, inside 4 walls, stone on the ground, no grass, no blue sky, no enrichment, no pack mates, and torn away from the only caregiver she has ever known. Luna can begin to heal her tortured soul only in her safe and familiar space, back home with me.
The court order states I may have physical contact with Luna, however IDNR and the current wildlife rehab have denied me that precious gift the judge ordered. On one visit, Luna was trying to come to me for comfort, but an IDNR officer interfered and scared her back into a corner. I had reached out to her but the officer made me retreat. I have video of this incident as well as the initial brutal seize, which has created a growing frenzy of concerned animal advocates on social media.
Luna has been imprisoned alone in total isolation since April 24th 2019. This is torture for a very friendly and social coyote who had 24/7 interaction with her pack mates and had only known kindness from humans up until the seize. Luna has endured more than three months of inhumane treatment and she remains locked up in a small indoor enclosure, without grass, trees or blue sky, no familiar sights sounds, smells, or touch. She has NOTHING and it is obvious animal cruelty. Even the director of the facility is concerned.
In contrast, Luna was kept outdoors all her life in USDA approved large and safe enclosures with me, and was an ambassador for her species, teaching people about coyotes. Luna was happy, healthy and loved, as were her now DEAD pack mates, Sandy, Bella, and Peytah. I have many photos and videos of Luna and her pack demonstrating their happy normal behavior. Not wild coyotes, and not domesticated, but somewhere in between. They loved their life with me and one another, and I have only memories of that life now.
We are fighting desperately to get Luna home so that she can live out the remainder of her natural life in peace and comfort with me, the only caretaker she has ever known, in the only home she has ever known for her entire 13 years of life.
Coyotes can live to be 20 years old in captivity so she has many years left if returned to her familiar safe environment. Luna is at high risk and in fragile condition now, remaining in constant stress and trauma throughout this ordeal that began nearly 4 months ago.
For 13 years, all was well, then I am suddenly charged with citations for hunting violations although I kept non-releaseable coyotes under USDA federal licensing as an exhibitor, offering sanctuary to my coyotes and education and viewing to the public. The state continues to say that coyotes cannot be pets in Illinois, but my coyotes were never pets. Further, I have been federally licensed as an exhibitor by the USDA for 13 years. Also, there are others in the Chicagoland area that are allowed to keep their coyotes. None of this is fair, an appropriate response to an average citizen or a good use of taxpayer dollars. I believe we were targeted by one IDNR officer who recently moved into my neighborhood and felt the need to assert his military style power upon our peaceful co-existence and educational campaign. This is a security concern for all.
Our next court hearing is at the Daley Center, 50 W. Washington, Chicago, IL, Aug 22 at 9 a.m. in Room 408. Please join us if you can.
Tomi Tranchita vs. Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the state of IL.
I thank you for your kind consideration and pray that you can help bring this travesty to the attention of the American public.
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