Was it fowl play?
A peacock that had been a staple in a California neighborhood for years was found shot dead — after someone posted a Craigslist ad taking out a hit on the bird, local reports said.
The online posting went up on June 13, a little more than two weeks before the peacock — nicknamed Mr. P or Azul — was apparently killed in Humboldt County, The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
“It’s really sad because he probably suffered for at least two or three hours before he died, possibly more,” resident Melissa Glass told the newspaper.
Glass said that “One of the neighbor’s daughters had actually recalled seeing a Craigslist ad in search of a peacock assassin.”
The ad, which was first reported by local outlet Lost Coast Outpost, had appeared in Craigslist’s “wanted” section with the title “Someone to get rid of a peacock,” adding it wanted the animal dead “by any means necessary.”
The author, who wasn’t identified, claimed that the bird had first appeared in the neighborhood four months ago — and complained about being awakened by its calls, the report said.
“Please contact me so we can form a strategy to eliminate this bird, and also to agree on how much you will be compensated,” the ad read.
But Glass told the Times that the peacock began visiting her Azalea Heights neighborhood six years ago, and often came by her house because it liked spending time with the chicken she owns.
She said that many people in the community appreciated the animal and would bring their kids over to take pictures with it.
“Even the UPS guys would stop and take pictures,” she told the Times.
Another resident, Kelsey Radant, told Lost Coast Outpost that “It was a very communal peacock.”
“It makes the rounds and says hi to everybody,” Radant told the outlet.
On June 30, the beloved bird was found covered in blood, dead of a gunshot wound, the reports said.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said that deputies are investigating the incident and that a “potential suspect” had been identified.
“The crimes currently being investigated are animal cruelty and conspiracy to commit a crime,” deputies said.
Lost Coast Outpost said it identified the person who posted the since-deleted Craigslist ad, who refused to answer questions and demanded to know if a crime had been committed.