Officials investigating shooting of river otter in Walnut Creek

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- California's Department of Fish and Wildlife is now investigating the shooting of a river otter in Walnut Creek. The animal was so badly wounded that he had to be euthanized.

The North American River Otter is a mammal that can grow to weigh 30 pounds. It lives near lakes and streams.

RELATED: River otter dies after being shot in Walnut Creek

Lately some have been showing up around the lakes at Walnut Creek's Heather Farm Park.

John Kaehmes of Walnut Creek has seen them. "They're just swimming around and chasing the fish and having a good time," he said.

John and wife, Donna, walk their dog at the park. She says, "It just breaks my heart to think that someone would just try to kill or maim one."

But that's apparently what happened to the male river otter found in Walnut Creek near the Shadelands Business park on Sunday. X-rays showed a half dozen bb's or possibly shotgun shot riddling its body. It was rushed to Lindsay Wildlife Hospital.

"He had broken teeth and something was going on in his mouth that wasn't right. His left eye was completely blind and in the wild, that's not a recipe for him to survive," said Lindsay Wildlife Hospital expert Elisabeth Nardi.

She adds, "It's really horrifying for us when something like this comes in. My belief is people just don't understand what they're doing when they do something like this."

Fish and Wildlife has now launched an animal cruelty investigation. They should know more pending the outcome of a necropsy at UC Davis.

In the meantime, anyone with information is asked to call the Department of Fish and Wildlife. And locals are outraged at whoever pulled the trigger.
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