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For Immediate Release: 02/28/06

Southampton Town Council Unanimously Passes Ordinance Banning Body-Gripping Traps on Town Lands

Death of beloved dog caught in cruel trap spurs action throughout New York

Southampton, NY — Animal advocates praised the Southampton Town Council today for unanimously adopting an ordinance prohibiting the use of Conibear kill traps on all town lands. The new law will be called “Zephyr’s Law.”

The ordinance was prompted by the December 2005 death of Zephyr, a rescue dog, who died a painful and gruesome death in the jaws of a Conibear kill trap as his guardian, Sag Harbor resident Gail Murphy, tried desperately to free him.

After the incident, Murphy contacted the Animal Protection Institute (API) and posted her tragic story on API’s online incident trapping report form. API maintains a list of reports on its website, www.bancrueltraps.com/b_trapping_incidents.php, to show the pervasiveness of “non-target” trapping incidents.

“In his short life, Zephyr survived a hurricane, homelessness, and even heartworm, but he was no match for a Conibear trap,” said Camilla Fox, Director of Wildlife Programs for the Animal Protection Institute. “Today’s vote shows that Zephyr did not die in vain. His legacy will be a safer Southampton where children and companion animals can recreate without fear of encountering a deadly kill trap,” said Fox.

While API and other animal advocates had advocated for a complete ban on all body-gripping traps, county and state legislators have pledged to take this issue to the next level. “I will not give up until steel-jaw leghold traps and body-gripping traps are outlawed,” said Suffolk County Majority Leader Jon Cooper. “The use of these barbaric and dangerous devices is especially reprehensible since there are humane alternatives. We must make a commitment as responsible stewards of our planet to put an end to the needless suffering of all animals, regardless of whether they are family pets or members of our natural world.”

Four bills are pending in the New York legislature that would restrict the use of body-gripping traps statewide and allow counties to prohibit their use. Moreover, the neighboring towns of East Hampton and Shelter Island have pledged to introduce legislation to prohibit dangerous traps. “This is just the beginning of a much larger battle brewing against cruel traps in New York,” said Fox.

The Animal Protection Institute is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. API is a recognized expert on trapping and produced the internationally award-winning video Cull of the Wild: The Truth Behind Trapping and companion book, Cull of the Wild: A Contemporary Analysis of Trapping in the United States. See: www.BanCruelTraps.com


Zibby Wilder, Animal Protection Institute (API), 916-447-3085 x205

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