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For Immediate Release: 03/21/13

Tennessee Family Dog Caught in Leghold Trap and Shot Dead by Neighbor

Born Free USA to Reimburse Family for Veterinary Bills

The family of Skeeter, a 5-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever in Millington, TN, is the latest recipient of financial support from Born Free USA, a national leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation.

Earlier this month, Bill Wilson’s family dog was playing with another neighbor’s dogs when all three dogs ran onto another neighbor’s property, where Skeeter was caught in a leghold trap that had been allegedly put out by the property owner with the intent of catching the dogs, who he believed were harassing his chickens.

Skeeter, who was wearing a collar with identification, was then shot at point-blank range in the head by the property owner, a local fireman. Wilson was allegedly not allowed to retrieve Skeeter until authorities arrived. Skeeter was still alive and rushed to a local vet. It was determined he could not be saved and he was euthanized.

According to Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, “Born Free USA receives dozens of heartbreaking reports from traumatized victims around the country who have seen their own pet trapped and severely injured or killed by a trap that was set for wildlife. But this is the first time we have encountered a situation where a domestic dog was actually the intended victim. The fact that Skeeter was then shot makes this tragic tale even more despicable.”

Born Free is providing financial relief via its Trapping Victims Fund in the amount of $180.50 for the exam and X-rays and eventual euthanasia of Skeeter. The fund was established last year and this is the fifth recipient. Born Free USA established the fund to help defray emergency veterinary care costs for companion animals or wildlife impacted by traps and for specific costs associated with rehabilitating and releasing a wildlife trapping victim back into the wild.

Born Free USA estimates that more than 300,000 non-targeted animals are the unintended victims of body-crushing wildlife traps and snares set each year. Cats and dogs are often 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 edanimal trapped an estimated two non-targeted animals are brutally captured. The organization keeps a database of non-targeted victims of 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.

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

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