The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally trapping a coyote in Essex County, Massachusetts.
The male coyote, who was approximately five months old, was caught in a Body Trap, which is illegal in Massachusetts. The barbaric and indiscriminate trap was placed by a person or persons in an area near a local golf course where wild coyotes sometimes roam. These lethal traps are often used for capturing smaller animals such as raccoons and groundhogs.
WAN talked exclusively with Sergeant Locke from the Swampscott Police Department this morning to find out the status of the investigation. While he was limited on what he could share since it is an ongoing investigation, he did confirm that the department and animal control are continuing to work on the case.
“There is no update yet, but we are looking for other instances of illegal trapping,” Locke told WAN, noting that they are also trying to find cameras that may contain useful footage. “Hopefully, this gets a resolution because the traps are not safe for animals or anyone.”
Once found, the person or persons responsible for setting the illegal trap will be charged with animal cruelty and illegal trapping. According to Locke, both charges are substantial.
As per Animal Legal Defense Fund, the poor coyote ran off after being trapped and it took authorities a few days to rescue the animal who was emaciated and suffered a broken jaw. In total, the trap was on his snout for about a week, which prevented him from eating. Tragically, the damage to his jaw was irreparable and the young coyote had to be euthanized.
This is yet another example of why the cruel and indiscriminate trapping of animals should be illegal.
“Much like the companion animals we consider family, wildlife are capable of feeling pain and deserve to be protected under the law,” Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director, Stephen Wells, said in a statement. “We commend the Swampscott Police Department for taking this case seriously and urge anyone with information about this crime to come forward.”
In Massachusetts, it is a felony offense to knowingly and willingly inflict cruelty to an animal. Under a recent amendment to the law, the maximum penalty for animal cruelty is seven years in state prison or a fine of up to $5,000, or both.