WEDNESDAY, May 18, 2016 – A Riverside County Animal Services officer saved a coyote stuck inside a leg trap on a property in Palm Desert early this morning (May 18).
Officer Lisa Boughamer responded to the Big Horn Golf Country Club at about 6:30 a.m. after an employee contacted Riverside County about the coyote stuck in what appeared to be a bear-trap type of device, also described as a clamp- style trap or a body-gripping trap. The coyote’s front left leg was trapped. Such traps are illegal in California.
“He was pretty frantic,” Officer Boughamer said. “He was jumping and ripping its leg side to side in an effort to escape.”
While on scene, Officer Boughamer reached out to a warden with the state Department of Fish & Wildlife to discuss the call. She initially transported the coyote to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms. She and a colleague, Officer Hector Palafox, freed the coyote from the contraption at the county shelter.
Since the injuries did not appear to be life threatening, she made contact with employees at The Living Desert in Palm Desert and they agreed to take in the coyote. She drove the coyote to The Living Desert for an examination and potential rehabilitation work.
Experts at The Living Desert told Officer Boughamer that the coyote’s injuries did not appear to be severe and they were optimistic the animal could be released back into the wild, Boughamer said.
In her discussions with Fish & Wildlife, Officer Boughamer said it appears that the trap used is an illegal device. She said she saved the trap to give to Warden Kyle Chang for evidence.
“Body-gripping traps, or leg holds, have been illegal in California for quite some time,” Warden Chang said. Questions or further information regarding what traps are allowed and how they can be used should be directed to the state Department of Fish & Wildlife media relations division.
Officer Boughamer informed the golf club’s employees that if a trapper is being used, the trapper must service the traps and the traps used must be legal. Also, the trapper must be licensed through the Department of Fish & Wildlife. The officer said she believed the animal must have been stuck for several hours.
“It was very sad,” she said. “I know many people are not fans of coyotes because they prey on their small pets. But when people live so close to where these animals roam, it’s their responsibility to protect their pets. Wildlife should not have to suffer in this cruel and inhumane manner.”