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For Immediate Release: 01/28/11

Born Free USA Establishes Trapping Victim Fund

Underwrites Veterinary Care Bills for Animals’ Rescuers or Caretakers

Born Free USA, a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, estimates that more than 300,000 non-target animals are the unintended victims of body-crushing wildlife traps set each year. Cats and dogs often are severely injured or killed as a result of the remorseless jaws of traps set for wild animals by trappers who plan to capture them and strip their fur. Born Free USA says that for every target animal trapped, an estimated two non-target animals are brutally captured.

The latest non-target victim reported to Born Free USA is a resident of Atkinson, NC, whose dog Dozer got caught in a trap on a neighboring property and suffered broken bones, puncture wounds in his leg, and had to have his tail amputated after painfully releasing himself from the trap. To help with veterinary costs for Dozer and other victims, the organization has established the Born Free USA Trapping Victim Fund.

According to Dozer’s owner Rose Kirby, “I contacted the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and they informed me that what happened to my Dozer is perfectly legal and that nothing could be done because it is trapping season. This happened very close to houses, and if a child was walking in that area of the woods, they could easily have become a victim as well.”

According to Will Travers, Born Free USA’s chief executive officer, “Dozer is one of the many thousands of unintended victims of the horrifying trapping industry, captured each year in brutal traps, the sole purpose of which is to slam ruthlessly on a wild animal with bone-crushing force. Traps don’t discriminate and can put family pets — and humans — in serious danger. We plan to help Rose Kirby urge local lawmakers to, at the very least, make it mandatory to post signs and notify neighbors when and where traps are set.”

Born Free USA receives hundreds of heartbreaking reports from victims who have seen their cat or dog severely injured or killed in these traps, and keeps an online database of incidents to help bring attention to this public safety issue. Threatened and endangered species have also been found caught in these deadly traps.

The public is being asked to help populate the database and be the organization’s eyes and ears by asking their veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitators and others in their communities about incidents, and filling out the online form.

Safety tips:

  • Warn friends about the possibility of hidden traps, especially if they hike with their dogs.
  • Learn humane ways to coexist with wildlife so they do not become a “nuisance” in the first place and utilize humane, non-lethal methods to alleviate conflicts.
  • If you own property, clearly post signs prohibiting trapping on your land and prosecute any violators.
  • Avoid buying anything made with fur. Consumers can help eliminate the financial incentive to trap animals.
  • Report incidents to www.bornfreeusa.org/trappingreport or call (916) 447-3085, ext. 210.
  • Join Born Free USA’s Action Alert Team to help support stronger laws and to challenge the trappers’ efforts to weaken existing laws.

Born Free USA (BFUSA) is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation and public education, BFUSA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and destructive international wildlife trade. BFUSA’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos and private possession. BFUSA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation,” the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film “Born Free,” along with their son Will, now CEO of both organizations. BFUSA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.

More at www.bornfreeusa.org; on twitter at http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Media Contact: Rodi Rosensweig, 203/270-8929; rodicompany@earthlink.net.

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