At a press conference at noon today, Bonnie Bradshaw, the Plano wildlife rehabber facing charges in Richardson after rescuing a trapped raccoon, talked about the incident. She received a call around 6:30 p.m. on June 23rd from a resident of a Richardson apartment complex, reporting a weak, exhausted, near-death raccoon caught in a humane trap at the complex. The resident had noticed the raccoon in the trap at 7:00 a.m. that morning when she left for work and had reported it to the complex maintenance man, who told her he would call the trapper and have him come get it. But the trapper never came, leaving the raccoon suffering in the summer sun, in a hot metal trap like the once shown above, for nearly 12 hours.
Bonnie rushed to the complex, and picked up the raccoon, in the trap, and another empty trap nearby. She notified the apartment management that she was taking the traps and the raccoon, and left them her business card to call her. Instead, she got a call the next day from the Richardson Police Department. The trapper was insisting they file charges, which they did, for “attempted theft”, a Class C misdemeanor. Bonnie had already planned to file a cruelty report with Richardson Animal Control the next day, which she did, turning over the traps at that time.
Bonnie’s attorney, Randy Turner, Metroplex Animal Coalition Director of Advocacy and Communication Jonnie England, and the Richardson resident who had the courage to take action rather than let the raccoon die in the trap, also spoke at today’s event.
Bonnie, an experienced wildlife rehabber licensed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, who speaks on the subject of urban wildlife at conferences around the country, was able to take emergency action to save this raccoon, who was later re-released. But many more die in humane traps, suffering for hours in extreme weather in both summer and winter. Bonnie offers the following simple, effective, and inexpensive ways of humanely dealing with raccoons and other wildlife. According to Bonnie, following the tips below and removing all food sources will reduce 90% of problems associated with wildlife:
-Don’t leave cat or dog food outside overnight
-Don’t leave birdseed in feeders or on the ground overnight
-Don’t put unsecured garbage outside at night
-If you have a pet door, close it securely at night
If you’re concerned about wildlife getting into your attic, Bonnie recommends:
-Cover crawlspace and attic openings with heavy gauge, rustproof, wire mesh (not chicken wire)
-Carefully inspect eaves and other areas where your roof and house join. Repair deteriorating boards, warped siding, and loose shingles.
And don’t forget, if you have a chimney, make sure that it has a cap.
Trapping and killing wildlife is simply inhumane and no longer a socially acceptable way to deal with urban wildlife, and trapping and relocating wildlife can be equally as harmful. According to Bonnie, it’s a waste of time and effort because once the animals are removed, others from surrounding areas move in to take their place (the same principle applies to feral cats and Trap, Neuter Return programs). Many trapped and relocated animals are females with offspring hidden in inaccessible areas of an attice or crawlspace. Sadly, the babies die of starvation, leaving behind an extremely unpleasant odor. Further, studies have shown that relocated animals rarely survive more than two weeks, as they are unable to compete for food and shelter in unfamiliar territory where other wildlife already exist. And trapping wildlife and taking it to an animal shelter doesn’t always work either. Some work with wildlife rehabbers like Bonnie, but many still simply euthanize wildlife because they don’t have the resources to properly care for them.
A hearing was held at 1 p.m. today in Richardson Municipal Court, in which Ms. Bradshaw’s attorney, Randy Turner, was expected to enter a not guilty plea and request a jury trial on the charges.
For more information: NBC5’s Randy McIlwain was there with his camera man, WB33News was there as well, along with the Plano Star Courier and the Dallas Morning News. Links to those stories will be provided (in the comments below) as soon as they are available.