Special Report: Trapped
"I felt so sad, cuz she was crying," cat owner Aaron Gaulin said.
Gaulin still remembers the day his cat had to be pried from the jaws of an illegal trap.
The damage was so severe; the vet had to amputate her left front leg.
"I was even sadder, because now she didn't have one of her legs," Gaulin said.
On the same Chicopee street, another cat, with the same injury and the same result.
"This neighbor was no more than 2-3 houses down," Massachusetts Environmental Police officer Anthony J. Tranghese said. "Unequivocally we believe that this thing is associated with that."
In a neighboring yard, police discovered an animal trap, the one that mangled Charity's leg.
"Animal would walk up, and hit the trigger, this would represent the animal's foot," Tranghese said as a highlighter placed into the trap is crushed.
The owner of the device set it here, to protect his garden. He pleaded guilty to possessing and setting an illegal trap. He was ordered to pay Charity's medical bills totaling $1000.
"These traps are not just a danger to animals, they're a danger to children and adults," Aaron’s mother Deanna Gaulin said. "Anybody or anything that steps in these traps will be injured."
Traps like these have been outlawed in Massachusetts since 1996. But with recent reports of coyote and fox attacks, Environmental Police say residents and poachers are still setting these and other banned devices.
"This is not a sportsmen activity, and this is not what the sportsmen in the Commonwealth stand for," Tranghese said.
7 News obtained an undercover police video. It's one of the only times a poacher has been caught on tape as he methodically sets an illegal deer trap.
Environmental police officer Anthony Tranghese demonstrates how it works.
"The animal is choked around the neck, or it could be on shoulder through the snare," Tranghese said. "These will strangle the animal. This is one of the cruelest methods of trapping, that's why they're outlawed."
The video surveillance was so convincing, the man pleaded guilty to setting nine deer traps.
To make sure your pets don't get trapped, obey leash laws or keep pets indoors, or in a fenced in area. If you see anything unusual in the woods, walk away slowly and alert authorities.
"After seeing what happened to my cat, I would not want to see another trap in my whole life again," Gaulin said.
An important message that should keep pets safe, and their owners worry-free.
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