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August 19, 2011

HSUS Applauds Judge’s Decision Dismissing Theft Charges Against Good Samaritan in Texas Inhumane Treatment Case

RICHARDSON, Tex.—The Humane Society of the United States commended a Richardson municipal judge’s decision to dismiss charges against wildlife rehabilitator Bonnie Bradshaw, who rescued a raccoon who was in a trap for more than 12 hours in the direct heat.

The raccoon had languished in a cage-trap at the Waterview Apartment complex, where it had been trapped as a “nuisance” animal by a trapper working for a wildlife control company. Bradshaw, who was called to the complex by a resident, found the raccoon listless and in need of immediate attention. Bradshaw left her contact information with the apartment’s leasing manager and then treated the animal for heat stroke. When the raccoon recovered, Bradshaw returned him to the apartment complex and released him. She left the trap at the local animal shelter for the trapper to retrieve it, but the trapper filed theft charges instead.

After hearing testimony from the Richardson police detective on the case and the trapper, a judge decided there was insufficient evidence to allow the trial to continue, and he found Bradshaw not guilty of any crime. In addition, the trapper has been cited under a municipal ordinance for inhumane treatment of an animal in connection with the incident.

“This decision should send a powerful message to the nuisance wildlife control industry that inhumane trapping of wildlife will not be tolerated,” said Nicole Paquette, HSUS’ Texas senior state director. “This kind of incident occurs far too frequently, and it is the reason some states have passed laws to better regulate the industry and prevent inhumane treatment of animals.” 

Trapping is rarely a solution for nuisance wildlife problems. It is more effective and affordable to fix the source of the problem—accessible garbage, outdoor pet food, or holes in houses. Homeowners can end up paying hundreds of dollars to have animals trapped, only to have the problems continue. In addition, the wild animals trapped often leave behind their young, who starve when their mothers are trapped and taken away.  

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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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