Animal group offers reward
NEW CANAAN — A Darien-based animal advocacy group is offering a reward for anyone with information about an illegal trap in New Canaan that led to a raccoon’s death.
Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, said in a letter to the editor of the New Canaan News her organization is offering $200 for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who set a Conibear-brand trap in which a raccoon got its leg caught. The animal then drowned in a New Canaan pool, likely from falling in while taking a drink of water, according to New Canaan Animal Control Officer Allyson Halm.
“We haven’t gotten any tips yet,” said Friends of Animals correspondent Nicole Rivard. “We have members in New Canaan. We take wildlife management issues seriously. The fact that someone set the trap illegally like that, he or she is considered a poacher to us. We want them to be held responsible. Plus that particular trap is indiscriminate. It could be a hazard to people’s pets as well. It’s something we think should be addressed.”
The trap did not have the required identification on it, nor was it set properly during the regulated trapping season. Halm reached out to the Environmental Conservation Police following the Aug. 17 incident, but because the trap was not tagged, there was insufficient evidence to pursue the case. The homeowner where the raccoon drowned said he did not set the trap, meaning the incident did not take place under exclusions in the law allowing for homeowners to trap animals.
“The law does allow a property owner some leeway to deal with wildlife that may be damaging their property,” said Dennis Schain, communications director for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “You could in some circumstances as property owner set a trap to catch an animal hurting your property. Outside that is where it becomes a regulated activity. Somebody else set the trap which means it was a regulated trapping activity that did not follow the rules.”
Halm said she doesn’t expect the reward to help bring the illegal trapper to justice. In the past, she has not been able to find anyone responsible for an illegally set trap unless the trap was labeled.
“The trap was not tagged,” she said. “I don’t know how influential something like that would be for someone to come forward. This was our fourth or fifth unfortunate trapping experience. Finding who’s setting them is pretty hard to do.”
For more information
Tips on this incident can be sent to Friends of Animals at (203) 656-1522.
“These unmarked traps, often animals could be dragging them for days and miles,” she added. “It’s, unfortunately, a needle in a haystack. I don’t anticipate anyone going forward. If money motivates someone, so be it.”
Halm said should she receive any information on who set the trap, she would turn over the information over to DEEP, which has the proper jurisdiction to pursue a case.
Rivard said Friends of Animals occasionally offers rewards for information relating to cases of animal cruelty. The last time the group offered a reward was in 2013, when they offered $500 for anyone who could help find the person who killed Peaches, a cream-colored corn snake who was the mascot at the Huntington Branch Library in Shelton. Peaches served as a sort of library mascot for eight years before someone poured a heavy-duty cleaning solvent into her tank, which led to her death. The case was never solved.
Rivard said as of now, the reward for information about the raccoon trap will be available indefinitely.
“I think we’re just going to leave it out there,” she said. “With a reward, maybe it’ll give someone more incentive to come forward.”