Dec 14, 2014

Fox loses paw in illegal trap


At dark on December 9th, Wildlife Emergency Services (WES) was called to rescue a fox in Hollister that was reportedly snared in a trap that it was dragging around by a front leg.

Rescuers caught a glimpse of the animal near the intersection of Union Heights and Riverside Road, but could not get close enough to capture it.

This morning, the animal was spotted again in the Union Heights neighborhood.

Deanna Barth, WES’ rescue team leader for Hollister, responded on scene, along with a warden with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Though it had been 5 days since the initial report, the fox was still alert and wary and able to evade capture.

However, while tracking the fox, at one point, they noticed the trap was gone.

It had fallen off, along with the animal’s front paw. It is not uncommon for animals to gnaw their own limbs off to get free from traps.

The trap was found and is in the possession of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife law enforcement, which is conducting an investigation.

This type of trap, called a leghold, was banned in California in 1998.

WES is offering a $1,000.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this crime.

Anyone with information can call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife CalTip line at 1-888-334-2258 or 408-499-8714. To add to the reward amount, please email

We believe this animal was trapped because it was perceived as a nuisance – perhaps someone was trying to protect crops or livestock. Not only are there strict regulations governing the use of traps, even cage traps, trapping or otherwise destroying wildlife is rarely a sound solution - when one animal is taken out, another one quickly takes its place.

WES offers basic consulting for wildlife problems through our hotline at 1-866-WILD-911 (866) 945-3911 at extension 2.

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