Hiker and animal rescuer may face charges for freeing fox from trap

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PLACITAS, N.M. (KRQE) – A hiker and an animal rescuer are possibly facing charges because of what they did to rescue an animal.

A routine hike near Placitas on Dec. 30 took an unusual turn for Lauri Dodge.

“The dogs started barking and ran off into bushes and we could hear another animal just screeching,” says Dodge.

When she caught up with them, she found a fox.

“That’s when I went into save-the fox-mode,” Dodge explains.

Dodge says the animal was so agitated, they could not get it free without being bitten.

They called Gary Miles of Placitas Animal Rescue for help.

“He was chained to this stump and he was laying this way and that’s where we put towels over him and we had a crate over here and we were able to load him into the crate,” says Miles.

Miles took the fox in an attempt to find someone to care for it. The group also destroyed the trap.

The problem is under state law it is illegal to destroy, disturb or remove any trap or trapped wildlife belonging to a licensed trapper.

It is also illegal to possess live protected furbearers such as fox and for veterinarians to treat them without permission from Game and Fish, something they did not give in this case.

When Game and Fish asked to get the fox, Miles refused to give it up after he says Game and Fish refused to say what would become of it.

“I refused to talk to him after the second phone call because he got real belligerent and demanding and threatening with arrest and I’m not going to go down that road,” Miles says.

Miles and Dodge say despite the fact that they could face misdemeanor charges, they would do it again.

“Anybody who cares about animals is not going to walk by an injured animal and just say ‘Oh well,'” says Dodge.

They say there is a bigger issue at hand here.

“The bigger issue is outlawing trapping in the first place. It doesn’t serve a purpose in the year 2017,” Dodge says.

There have been several pushes in the state legislature to ban traps on public lands, but it is always stalled.

Miles says the fox is back in the wild and it’s injuries were minor.

Since the trap was destroyed, Game and Fish say they can not determine if it was legal.

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