Wildlife officials were forced to euthanize a coyote Sunday after the animal was caught in an illegal leg hold trap in East Taunton, Massachusetts.
According to the Massachusetts Environmental Police, they received word of a coyote caught in a trap near Massasoit State Park. At first, officials didn’t think much of it, as the trapping of coyotes is legal during open trapping season with the proper license.
When they arrived at the scene, however, they found the situation was far worse than they initially thought. The coyote was suffering from “significant injuries” inflicted by a leg hold trap, an illegal hunting device. With no hope of treating the animal, wildlife officials euthanized it.
The Massachusetts Environmental Police urge anyone with information regarding the incident to contact them, as leg hold traps pose a major threat, not only to wildlife but humans as well. As the person who laid the illegal coyote trap did so near a residential area, it caused even greater concern.
“Not only are [leghold traps] extremely inhumane, anyone can get caught in them – children, pets, and wildlife. There is no excuse for placing them in the community,” said Regina Price of SDHS Humane Law Enforcement.
Coyote Returns to Wild After Falling Victim to Illegal Trap
The coyote’s death from the illegal leg hold trap is the typical outcome of such an incident. Last month, however, a similar incident occurred in California and this time, the coyote got extremely lucky.
On Friday, March 10, San Diego wildlife officials released a coyote back into the wild after nursing it back to health. The month prior, on February 17, they found the adult female coyote dangling from a chain link fence with the illegal trap attached to her left front leg.
Hoping to save the animal’s life, they immediately transported her to SDHS Ramona Wildlife Center. There, Project Wildlife’s medical team went to work on the injured coyote. After providing pain medication, they took X-rays and treated the animal’s wounds.
Luckily, though the coyote suffered soft tissue damage to her leg from the illegal trap, she escaped the incident without permanent damage. They also treated her for dental damage, as she broke some teeth while trying to free herself from the trap.
The coyote’s recovery was a welcome surprise for wildlife officials, who often have to euthanize animals rescued from similar traps.
“When she first came in, we didn’t think she was going to make it,” said Andy Blue of Ramona Wildlife Center, per Fox 5. “Typically, animals caught in these awful traps have such extensive damage that they are unable to return to the wild and fend for themselves.”
Wildlife officials breathed a collective sigh of relief as they watched the coyote sprint to safety after releasing her near the area in which they found her.
Following the coyote’s rescue, SDHS Humane Law Enforcement launched an investigation into the incident. They’re currently pursuing charges of felony animal cruelty on the coyote’s behalf, as jaw traps are illegal.