Photo of Dead Coyote Hanging from a Tree with a Red Bow Causes Controversy

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

A photo of a dead coyote hanging from a tree with a big red bow is creating controversy on Facebook and other social media outlets.

According to, last week residents in Plains, Mont., began noticing the dead coyote, which is hung near a public road along a school bus route in an area with abundant Christmas decorations.

Plains resident Mary Ellen Siegford, whose daughter cried when she saw the dead coyote, decided to take a photo of the hanging animal and post it to Facebook where she said reactions have been mixed.

"A lot of people were just like, 'Well, be glad it's dead. You don't have to worry about it eating your pets,'” said Siegford. “But I don't know. To me, it's morbid. It rings of animal cruelty. It's just not very pleasant to drive past, and I feel it's pretty gruesome for the school kids to be passing by on their way to and from school."

But, Sanders County Sheriff Tom Rummel said the hanging animal does not break any laws since it is on private property and it’s a predator – not a game animal. And, because it is already dead, it’s not an issue of animal cruelty.

On her Facebook page, Seigford said that someone hung a dead raccoon next to the coyote a few days later.

“12 days of Christmas… a skunk next? What?” Seigford wrote in her Facebook post.

So what do you think? Is hanging a dead coyote from a tree as if it is a Christmas ornament in bad taste? Do you think such a display makes hunters look bad, or do you think it’s perfectly fine and people should just be glad it’s dead?