Rick Perry has a message for skeptics: His story of shooting a coyote during a morning jog is no tall tale.
In an interview with Parade Magazine, the presidential contender was asked whether he really killed the animal, as he claimed last year. Governor Perry responded, "Yes, ma'am. One shot right in the shoulder." When asked whether the coyote had died, Perry said, "Yeah, right there." And when further questioned about the implausibility of the incident, Perry said that while some have doubted that a coyote would be so aggressive," "I'll show you coyotes that will come and get in your backyard and eat your little puppy."
Perry's tale dates to April, 2010, when Perry told an AP reporter that he had taken decisive action when a coyote threatened his Labrador retriever during a February run. "Either me or the dog are in imminent danger," Perry said. "I did the appropriate thing and sent it to where coyotes go."
Perry said he used a .380 Ruger pistol with hollow-point bullets. He was carrying the weapon while running "because he is afraid of snakes," according to the AP.
Perry's account immediately piqued media interest, and when the governor was close to joining the presidential race, The New York Times' Gail Collins called him "The Coyote Candidate."
But questions soon emerged about his story. Last month, The Daily Beast's Carol Flake Chapman published a lengthy article questioning many aspects of the narrative, including its legality. She concludes:
Upon a closer look, Perry's description of the coyote incident seems to offer a little wiggle room with regard to “truthiness.” He doesn't actually state flatly that he killed the coyote, nor does he say where the coyote was wounded, an odd omission for a hunting tale, but he does say that it “was not in a lot of pain” and that it “pretty much went down at that particular juncture.” Did it go down or not? He’s also careful to include the detail that “either me or my dog are in imminent danger,” which made it legal for him to shoot an animal in self defense within the city limits. The wording reminds me of the stilted language of police reports I’ve read over the years describing a controversial incident in which questionable force or tactics were used.