USDA-Wildlife Services trapper arrested after setting leghold traps for his neighbor’s dog

Excerpts from the Animals & Politics blog of Michael Markarian, Humane Society of the United States:

Last week, we learned that authorities in El Mirage, Ariz., arrested USDA-Wildlife Services trapper Russell Files on charges of cruelty to animals after he admitted to intentionally setting traps to capture a neighbor’s 2-year-old Australian cattle dog named Zoey. Authorities found Zoey struggling to free her paws in two steel-jawed leghold traps when they arrived on Files’ property after receiving a 911 call from a good Samaritan.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found Zoey covered in blood and in desperate need of medical attention. The veterinarian who treated Zoey claimed that she lost 17 teeth trying to chew her way out of the traps and suffered severe injuries to her mouth and jaw. As a result, the dog will have to undergo extensive surgery and dental work in order to eat normally again.

If the allegations are true, Mr. Files acted with malice and intended to inflict unnecessary suffering on his neighbor’s dog, and all at federal taxpayers’ expense since he admitted to investigators that he was on duty when he set the traps that injured Zoey. This extraordinarily reckless and callous act is indefensible and must not go unpunished, but what’s more concerning is that this is the second time in less than six months that a USDA-Wildlife Services trapper has been caught up in controversy around the treatment of animals.

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