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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2008

TN: Trapper could face charges

Trapper could faces charges
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
By: Ryan Harris

DUNLAP, Tenn. — Wildlife officers said Tuesday that the owner of a trap that decapitated a family’s dog could face charges after more snares and another dog carcass were found nearby.

“We found more stuff ... and after further investigation by an officer who is a seasoned trapper himself determined that the traps were set illegally,” said Dan Hicks, spokesman for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

The investigation began after a Dunlap family reported that their 3-year-old golden retriever had its head cut off Sunday while they were on a walk.

Natalie Milhollin said the trap was on unmarked, private property near a home they rent.

“I think the person who did this should go to jail,” Mrs. Milhollin said. “The dog didn’t do anything wrong. We didn’t do anything wrong. The person who set it did something wrong and it’s horrible.”

Mr. Hicks said the trapper could face up to eight misdemeanor charges for various violations.

He said another dog was killed by the same trap and its carcass was discarded nearby. The owner of the second dog hasn’t been located, Mr. Hicks said.

“Apparently (the trapper) came and checked his trap and it had a dead dog in it, and he just took it out and laid it on the ground next to the trap and then put more bait it and went on and it caught a second dog,” Mr. Hicks said.

The conibear-style steel trap was baited with bacon and illegally placed only two inches inside a box, Mr. Hicks said. State law requires the traps to be set back at least 12 inches, he said.

Mr. Hicks said two other traps also were improperly set, and none of the traps had required identification tags.

Investigators originally thought the traps were set for coyotes, but Mr. Hicks said it’s more likely the trapper was trying to catch raccoons, foxes or bobcats for their fur.

Pierre Gryzybowski, deputy manager of the Fur-Free Campaign of the Humane Society of the United States of America, said the traps are “like land mines for animals.”

Kraig Kaatz, president of the National Trappers Association, said the devices help control wildlife population. He said it is uncommon for pets to be caught in traps and that the case in Dunlap “is a terrible tragedy.”

HOW TO HELP

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency asks anyone with information on illegal traps set in Dunlap to call 1-800-262-6704.

  

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