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June 07. 2013 8:49PM

Rescue group searches Merrimack area for dog injured in coyote trap

MERRIMACK — A small dog was severely injured in a local coyote trap last week and is still roaming the area lost and hurt.

“This dog needs urgent medical attention at this point. We have been searching day and night for this animal,” said Holly Mokrzecki of Granite State Dog Recovery. “She is probably going to have to have her leg amputated, or best case scenario significant surgery.”

Mokrzecki said it is still unknown whether the dog, a small black poodle or poodle-mix weighing about 15 pounds, is a local stray or a lost pet. No owner has come forward to report the missing dog, which is reportedly wearing a fluorescent pink collar.

The dog was stuck in a size five double-sprung coyote trap, or leg hold trap, around 5:30 a.m. on May 31 on Amherst Road. The trap was housed on a local resident’s property in an attempt to deter a coyote from accessing a chicken coop, according to Mokrzecki.

“Sadly, this trap is not illegal. It was set on private property,” she explained. There was a small camera stationed on the trap, and photographs from the incident have been obtained by New Hampshire Fish and Game, said Mokrzecki.

The dog, while still trapped, was spotted by motorists on May 31, including someone who stopped to release the animal from the trap, at which time it fled and is still missing, she said. It is believed to have some facial injuries, along with a broken leg and mangling of a front foot.

“She was found dragging the five-pound trap across the road. People were having to drive around her in the middle of the road,” said Mokrzecki. “We are absolutely heartbroken that we have a little dog out there that could potentially die.”

Since the injury on May 31, the dog was last spotted by state police on Tuesday along Daniel Webster Highway, she added.

Todd Szewczyk, conservation officer with New Hampshire Fish and Game, confirmed Friday that he did obtain a trap from the Merrimack Police Department, but he has since returned it to the original owner.

“There were no violations by the owner,” he said, adding his investigation has been closed.

Still, Mokrzecki fears for the little dog, especially with the heavy rain expected this weekend. Her biggest worry is that a coyote will smell the dog’s injuries and that it will be killed by a predator.

Her group has set up at least two have-a-heart traps in the Merrimack area that she hopes will attract the injured dog. The humane traps are similar to dog crates, which contain food, that will safely shut once the animal is lured inside, she explained.

Elizabeth Fraser, Merrimack’s animal control officer, did not return a phone call seeking comment on the matter.

“Trapping is a cruel and outdated practice, and it is also indiscriminate, which is what has happened to this dog in Merrimack,” said Linda Dionne of New Hampshire Citizens Against Trapping.

Acknowledging that the trap in Merrimack was set legally, Dionne said it is still inappropriate.

“We want to make it illegal. These are just the incidents that we hear about. I am sure it happens more often than we even realize since most trappers don’t often report it,” said Dionne, whose group is hoping to get support in 2014 to ban trapping in New Hampshire.

In a separate incident last December, a dog was killed by a trap’s steel jaws while walking on a trail in Auburn. That trap, however, was illegally set on a well-used trail in Auburn, according to Fish and Game officials.

Anyone who may have seen the injured dog in Merrimack is asked to contact Mokrzecki at 289-8021.

khoughton@newstote.com


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