An animal rights advocates group is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a person who illegally trapped a raccoon at Tecolote Canyon Park.
The raccoon was found on Jan. 20 by land surveyors, who spotted the animal caught off the path in a trap chained to the root of a tree. The trap was hidden by a rock and bush. The device had been set close to where a group of children were playing in the park, officials said.
"Any child could stick their fingers or hand inside," said Jane Cartmill with San Diego Animal Advocates. "And one of the reasons these traps are illegal because they catch a lot of non-target animals."
Department of Animal Services officers found the raccoon with a broken leg and saw it had likely been stuck there for several days. Officers humanely euthanized the animal at the county department. Now, they are looking for any clue as to who set the trap.
The San Diego Animal Advocates are offering a $2,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for trapping the animal. The reward comes from a fund for the purpose of assisting in cases of animal theft or abuse.
“It is our hope that this reward offer will lead to identification of whomever was responsible for this cruel and illegal trapping of an innocent animal,” said Jane Cartmill, President of San Diego Animal Advocates, in a statement. “These traps have been outlawed for a good reason: they are inhumane and cause enormous suffering,” she said.
Officials found a similar trap in Mira Mesa years ago, they said. The California Department of Fish and Game has made it illegal to use any body-gripping or leg hold traps to capture any furry mammal. The person responsible could face animal cruelty charges, time in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Animal Control officials said they have already started generating new leads, thanks to the reward.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Dan DeSousa at San Diego County Department of Animal Services at (619) 767-2675.