Coyote Pup Illegally Trapped & Fatally Maimed in Cruel Leghold Trap Incident Under Criminal Investigation ~ Wildlife Protection Organizations Call for Justice
VALLEY VILLAGE, CA—California-based Project Coyote has released a video depicting a coyote pup captured in an illegally set leghold trap in the upscale neighborhood of Valley Village (adjacent to North Hollywood), and law enforcement agencies are currently investigating the incident for possible criminal violations.
The video shows—in graphic detail—the coyote pup struggling in the trap, desperate to free itself, with no cover in the searing summer heat. It is believed that the pup suffered in the trap for days before local residents heard it crying in pain and came to its rescue. The animal’s distress was so great, as is evident in the video, that at one point a caring girl felt compelled to offer water to the pup, but it suffered such severe injuries from the trap that it was later euthanized by Los Angeles Animal Services.
“Ironically this coyote was trapped through a GoFundMe campaign organized by Valley Village resident Lisa Johnson Mandell who solicited money from neighbors for ‘humane wildlife removal,’” said Project Coyote’s Southern California Representative Randi Feilich. “In talking to neighborhood residents, I found they were shocked to learn that donations were used to hire a trapper to set cruel, indiscriminate and illegal leghold traps. According to Feilich, the GoFundMe page has since been deactivated.
The trapper is believed to have violated multiple state laws and is now under investigation by Los Angeles Animal Cruelty Task Force and the California Department of Wildlife. “Leghold traps were banned by California voters in 1998 so this trap set is clearly in violation of that law,” said Camilla Fox, Project Coyote Founder and Executive Director. “Moreover, California law requires that trappers check their traps daily and obtain written permission from property owners when setting traps less than 150 yards from a residence, which this trapper clearly failed to do.”
“We commend the multiple law enforcement agencies involved in this case for their due diligence in investigating this incident, and we hope the trapper and anyone else responsible will receive the stiffest sentence possible under the law,” said Feilich, who spoke to authorities and neighborhood residents in producing the video released on Project Coyote’s YouTube page and on Valley Village’s Nextdoor site. “We also believe many residents who generously donated money to this GoFundMe page were misled by the organizer into thinking they were hiring a humane wildlife control business to remove the coyote, but instead their donations were used to fund the worst type of illegal animal cruelty, resulting in a slow and painful death to a young coyote pup.”
“Despite a state law banning leghold traps, many private trappers and ‘pest’ control businesses continue to use them in clear violation of the law,” said Fox. “Until these trappers receive more than a slap on the wrist, they will continue to flagrantly violate the law. We must crackdown on this unconscionable cruelty so another animal does not suffer such a painful and needless death.”
Watch the video of the captured coyote here. Warning: Graphic Content
Project Coyote’s Coyote Friendly Communities program offers humane and proactive educational resources, tools and expertise to help communities peacefully and safely coexist with coyotes and other wild neighbors. Learn more here.
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Project Coyote, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Northern California, is a North American coalition of wildlife educators, scientists, ranchers, and community leaders promoting coexistence between people and wildlife, and compassionate conservation through education, science, and advocacy. For more information, visit ProjectCoyote.org