Hunting trap set for coyotes cuts dogs toes off

- An Akita-Shepherd mix spent days trapped in the woods in a trap set out for coyotes in Troutman.

"It doesn't have the teeth. A lot of people picture a bear trap with teeth. It didn't have that. It's a steel jaw that closes around called a foot trap," Iredell County Strategic Manager Ben Stikeleather said.

With or without the teeth, this dog, now name Bridger, still lost some toes.

"It is missing a couple toes. The front pad of its foot actually had to be amputated," Stikeleather said. 

Iredell County Animal Services was called to a home on Justin Drive where the trap had been set.
The report states the dog appeared to be "emaciated and in excruciating pain."

"It did show that it had gone a while without food and water. Now that the animal got the medical attention it needs, it's doing fine. It's with a rescue agency in North Carolina, in good health and hopefully will be adopted here shortly," Stikeleather said.

North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission requires all hunters to check their traps every 24 hours to avoid any harm to domestic animals. 

After further investigation, this hunter was only charged with a misdemeanor animal cruelty and given a hefty fine for not abiding by the rules.

"This case it seems, that the individual wasn't maliciously trying to harm the animal. It was more of a negligence type of situation, so the misdemeanor charge seemed appropriate," Stikeleather said.

Still, Iredell County Animal Services says this serves as a reminder to always check with the NC Wildlife Commission on what you can or cannot do.

"The proper kinds of traps will eliminate the injuries you could see to domestic animals and also regularly checking the traps is key,” Stikeleather said. 

Bridger is now recovering at the Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in Asheville. Once, he heals, he will be put up for adoption.

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