Innocent Cats and Dogs Crushed by Traps Set for Wildlife
An Animal Rights Article from


Born Free USA
August 2010

Latest Victims Reach out to Born Free USA for Help

Born Free USA (BFUSA) estimates that over 300,000 non-target animals are the unintended victims of body-crushing wildlife traps set each year. Cats and dogs are injured or killed, suffering excruciating pain and losing limbs, as a result of the remorseless jaws of leghold traps, Conibear traps, and snares (cable nooses) set for wild animals who trappers plan to capture and strip for fur.

Last month, BFUSA was contacted by a family whose cat Waffles was trapped in a leg-hold for two days in a sub-division behind their home. Waffles ultimately suffered such severe leg damage, that their veterinarian had to amputate her front right leg.

According to Will Travers, CEO of Born Free, "Waffles is just one of the thousands of non-target, innocent animals brutally captured by a trapper's device meant to explode into deadly action on a wild animal. In most states, wild animals are allowed to be trapped for purposes of commercialized fur use, as well as for sport and recreation. Traps are also used to catch and kill so-called nuisance animals in our own neighborhoods. Traps do not discriminate, and they jeopardize the safety of family pets. This cruelty must end."

BFUSA, a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, says that for every target animal trapped an estimated two non-target animals are captured.

The organization receives hundreds of heartbreaking reports from victims all over the country who have seen their family pet trapped and severely injured, or killed in these traps.

Three months ago, Nubbins the cat was caught in a leghold for approximately one week according to the vet. She was stuck until one of the residents on the property released her. The cat fell under a pile of debris, where she stayed until someone finally called animal control to have her picked up. The homeowner claimed that they did not know who the trap belonged to. Nubbins back leg was amputated and a volunteer took her in, as her family was never found. (Note to editors: photo available)

Several months ago, Barney the cat was killed in a Conibear trap set by USDA Wildlife Services after a neighbor complained about "nuisance wildlife" (a beaver). Barney's owner told BFUSA that he was alive and crying out when she found him but his spine and internal organs were crushed. She carried Barney to the vet with the trap still on him where he was then euthanized.

In 2008, Rupert a German Sheppard and beloved therapy dog, was walking with his owner beside the greens of a golf course when he suddenly darted into the woods. Rupert's owner then heard an excruciating howl, and found Rupert "flopping around" with his head in a trap. Baited with fish oil and tethered to the ground, the trap was impossible to remove. Police responded quickly, but it was too late for Rupert he died in the trap.

Why do traps exist at all?

Wildlife trapping falls under one of two categories:

Killing animals for fur:

Traps and fur farms are the sources of fur. BFUSA is part of the Fur Free Alliance, which addresses fur trade issues. By reducing the use of fur, we can reduce the number of targeted and non-targeted animals suffering from the cruelty of trapping.

Wildlife damage control:

This includes wildlife causing problems to homeowners (i.e. skunks under the porch; raccoons in the garden) to massive slaughter of wildlife for predator control (i.e. killing coyotes at the behest of ranchers) or to eradicate populations of wildlife deemed as "pests" (i.e. squirrels).

Travers explains that "These incidents are horrifying, tragic, and completely unnecessary. No animal is safe from these diabolical devices."

Born Free USA works to expose the awful truth and eliminate cruel traps, by encouraging legislators and policymakers to enact stronger laws; ensuring state agencies are enforcing existing protections; and championing humane and safe alternatives of mitigating conflicts with wildlife.

How people can help:

  • Warn friends about the possibility of hidden traps, especially if they hike with their dogs.
  • Learn humane ways to coexist with wildlife so they do not become a "nuisance" in the first place and utilize humane, non-lethal methods to alleviate conflicts.
  • If you own property, clearly post signs prohibiting trapping on your land and prosecute any violators
  • Avoid buying anything made with fur. Consumers can help eliminate the financial incentive to trap animals.
  • Report incidents to Born Free USA on our Trapping Incident Report Form or call (916) 447-3085 x210
  • Join Born Free USA's Action Alert Team to help support stronger laws and to challenge the trappers' efforts to weaken existing laws

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