It just now, years after the fact, sunk in that someone almost killed my cat as a result of an intentional act.
When I was in high school, my cat went missing for a few days. This was very unusual because she never went far, other than to explore the woods behind the house, and always came running when called. When, days late, Casey came home, she had a severed chin bone, with one side of her face about half an inch lower than the other side, and a matching hole in her arm. She had been caught in a trap and was immobilized long enough for flies to have laid eggs in her wounds and the eggs to have matured into nice, fat maggots. She made it home, maggot-infested, still having the use of three legs.
I doctored her. The much-beloved local vet complimented my dexterity in removing the maggots one at a time and pronounced that she would be well, but would always have a lopsided face and might later in her life develop eating issues, with that jaw imbalance. Casey recovered, the eating issues never materialized, she regained full use of the trapped arm, and she lived for more wonderful years.
But it is just now dawning on me that there is a person, likely a man, behind her injuries. Somehow I had just focused on the horror of her trap and her pain, and didn’t consider that there was a man behind the trap. Nor did I consider that, since she could not have escaped from the trap on her own, this man who set the trap for the fox that would yield a cadaver for fur or for taxidermy, set her loose and didn’t try to help her.
I have no great sweeping conclusion, other than to say, trapping is an abhorrent act and should be banned. Of all the ways that humans can kill an animal, trapping must be one of the worst. Like Casey, the trap will likely not kill the animal outright, but it will be immobilized, in excruciating pain, and unable to fend for itself should other predators than the miscreant who set the trap arrive.
Born Free USA has assembled information and statistics with regard to trapping and has also provided a Trapping Incident Report Form, should you ever find an unfortunate one caught in a trap, whether he is a targeted animal, or like Casey or the bald eagle in the photo, considered a “non-target trapping incident.”
Forty plus years is probably too long for me to submit a form, but if you come upon a trapped animal, please do better than I did at that time, and consider that there is a trapper in your midst who should be held to account.
Contact your county government and read your local ordinances to find out the status of body-restraint trapping in your community. Chances are, it is not banned, and is, rather, likely to be governed by a statewide permit-based system. But even if permitted state-wide, it can be banned locally, and the wild animals that remain in your community may continue to live in the shadows, mostly unseen by human eyes.
The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest. – Henry David Thoreau