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The HSUS Offers Reward in Owl Trapping Case

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    The injury to the owl's leg was so severe, the bird had to be euthanized. Krystyne Cummings/A Place Called Hope, Inc.

  • This is the culprit: the steel leghold trap that cost the barred owl his life. Krystyne Cummings/A Place Called Hope, Inc.

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally catching a federally protected barred owl in a leghold trap in Connecticut. 

On Wednesday, local residents found the barred owl struggling on Clarke Gate Road in Moodus, Conn. Wildlife rehabilitator Grace Krick was called out to capture the bird — and found a rusty leghold trap clamped tightly to the bird's foot.

The owl's foot was so badly injured by the trap that he had to be euthanized on Friday. Trapping a federally protected bird, such as a barred owl, is a federal offense under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

This same issue was flagged in January when a great horned owl was fatally injured by a leghold trap in Wallingford. This incident triggered public outrage and a state bill to ban leghold traps. The bill garnered much public attention, yet failed to become law. 

"This second incident of an owl fatally injured by a leghold trap is terrible and warrants a full-blown investigation by enforcement authorities," said Laura Simon of The Humane Society of the United States. "This again underscores how vital it is for Connecticut lawmakers to ban these cruel and indiscriminate leghold traps."

Eight states have already banned or severely restricted the use of leghold traps, including: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington.

In Connecticut, more than 6,500 wild animals are legally trapped each year using body-crushing and leghold traps, according to Department of Environmental Protection statistics. This figure does not include "non-target" animals, like owls, hawks, dogs and cats, who can also get caught in these traps. 

Anyone with information about the case can call the Department of Environmental Protection at 860-424-3333. 


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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