Trap Not Soft on Animal Victim

Harley, a chow-pomeranian mix, is a recent victim of the cruel and indiscriminate steel-jaw leghold trap. Recently on a California beach at Vandenberg Air Force base, 10-year-old Harley joined the growing list of domestic animals harmed by steel-jaw leghold traps. Charles Wilson was walking his beloved companion when the dog stepped into the jaws of a "padded" leghold trap buried in the sand, without any warning signs or flags. According to Wilson, Harley screamed "bloody murder" when the jaws clamped down on his paw. The dog was in such distress that he bit Wilson's hand as he attempted to free Harley's paw. "He is the most loving and kind dog and had never bitten me before," Wilson said. "He was helpless and in so much pain that he just panicked."

Wilson could not open the jaws of the trap, but was able to rush Harley to the local fire department, where firefighters pried the trap open with a crow bar. One of twelve set to catch coyotes on the beach, the trap was placed in an area commonly used by people and their pets. In California, the use of leghold traps is illegal, but an exception is made for "federal, state, county or municipal employees or their duly authorized agents in the extraordinary case where [it] is the only method available to protect human health or safety." The traps were removed from the beach shortly after this incident.

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