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For Immediate Release: 04/24/12

Born Free USA Offers Reward for Information in Brutal, Illegal Washington, DC, Trapping Case

Born Free USA, a national leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for setting an illegal leghold trap in the Cleveland Park area of Washington, DC, that resulted in a raccoon suffering tremendously and losing his life. The reward is being added to an existing $1,000 reward being offered by the Washington Humane Society (WHS) who uncovered this horrific case.

According to WHS investigators, the raccoon, captured on April 7, 2012, in the 3800 block of Yuma Street NW, had to be euthanized after suffering in the trap for at least a week. The trap had stripped the animal's front leg down to the bone. Like thousands of animals caught in traps across the country, the DC raccoon had attempted to chew off a leg in order to break free.

According to Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, "In 2010, DC banned the use of various lethal traps to catch most kinds of urban wildlife such as raccoons, possums and skunks and this is the first known case since the new law.

“This trap was set in a widely populated neighborhood, which represents a major public safety risk. Family cats and dogs are often severely injured or killed as a result of traps set for wild animals by nuisance wildlife control operators or trappers who plan to capture them and strip their fur. Traps are not only a threat to animals, but also a public safety risk. Born Free USA is proud to join our colleagues at the Washington Humane Society to seek justice for this innocent animal who lost his life to this inhumane practice.”

Since January, Born Free USA has seen a nationwide record high in reports from the public about cats, dogs and other species getting caught. These traps are set in common areas where people are hiking with their animal companions and children are playing.

In 2011, Born Free USA released a groundbreaking undercover investigation that revealed shocking cruelty and brutality in the trapping industry. Born Free USA works to expose the truth and eliminate cruel traps by encouraging policymakers to enact stronger laws, ensuring state agencies are enforcing existing protections, and championing humane alternatives of mitigating conflicts with wildlife.

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 at www.bornfreeusa.org/database to help bring attention to this public safety issue. The Born Free USA Trapping Victims Fund was established in 2011 to assist with the veterinary costs involved when companion animals are caught in traps.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to the United States 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 Travers, now chief executive officer of both organizations. Born Free’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.

The Washington Humane Society, the only congressionally chartered animal welfare agency in the United States, has been the leading voice for animals in the District of Columbia since 1870. As the open-access shelter in the nation’s capital, no call for help goes unanswered, and no animal is ever turned away. The Washington Humane Society provides protection and care to nearly 30,000 animals each year through its broad range of programs and services, which include sheltering, adoption, humane law enforcement, spay and neuter, humane education, human–animal rehabilitation programs, and lost-and-found. For more information, please visit www.washhumane.org.

Media Contact: Rodi Rosensweig, publicrelations@bornfreeusa.org, (203) 270-8929.

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