Illegal trap ensnares pooch by lake
Story by Eli Ruiz
MONGAUP VALLEY February 8, 2013 - The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) provides for many region specific rules and regulations for trapping. Trappers are also required by law to participate in a free 8 hour trapper education course.
Poachers, though, regularly ignore the rules and regulations involved with trapping, and in Sullivan County poaching has historically been a bane to the area’s law abiding hunters and trappers, as well as per owners whose animals oftentimes can become ensnared in these illegally set traps.
Case in point: Monday morning Starlight Road resident Michelle Klugman Resnick, who is the director of marketing and executive assistant with the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development - let her 3-year-old mixed breed dog Chloe out like she does every morning. “She always just goes out, goes to the bathroom and comes right back,” explained Klugman-Resnick.
By that evening, to Klugman-Resnick’s chagrin, Chloe had not returned. “I knew something was wrong because she always comes back… plus it was snowing,” said Klugman-Resnick.”
Klugman-Resnick’s 15-year-old daughter, Mara, offered, “That same night my brother and I went out looking for her… we went all the way down the road and we could hear her, but with the echo we just couldn’t tell where she was. We just wanted to find her.”
Tuesday morning, Klugman-Resnick received a call from Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty informing her that Chloe who fortunately had an identifying tag had been located by Sheriff’s Deputy Rich Morgan.
It wasn’t all good news, though. Chloe had indeed been located, but was found on frozen Swinging Bridge Marina caught in a poacher’s #2 foot hold trap similar to a bear trap, only smaller, with the #2 denoting the trap’s size. Chloe was suffering from exposure, dehydration and had a seriously injured hind leg.
Klugman-Resnick was frantic. “She was in the snowstorm all night…we could hear the barking but it was so high-pitched from her barking so much,” said an emotional Klugman-Resnick. “It was so frustrating because we just couldn’t tell where the barking was even coming from because with the echo you just can’t tell if she was 100 yards away or 10 miles away.”
Deputy Morgan said, “We got the call early Tuesday morning and apparently the caller heard the dog barking all night.” Morgan drove out to the caller’s address and says he and the caller walked out to the lake together. “That’s when I could see the dog out on the lake,” said Morgan. “Obviously I could see the dog was trapped on something, I couldn’t see that it was a foot hold at the time, but whatever she was trapped with was tied to an eight-foot 4x4 and you could tell the dog had dragged the 4x4 onto the lake.
“The poor dog was trying to make its way home… she just couldn’t get off the lake, though,” he added.
After struggling over an embankment and onto the lake, Morgan was able to free the dog and then carry the injured pooch to his patrol car. Morgan then transported the dog to the Petcare Animal Hospital in Monticello, treated by Dr. Eitan Houri. “I felt absolutely horrible for the dog. I’m not a hunter so I was just really concerned for the dog… I’m very surprised she survived the night,” offered Morgan.
Klugman-Resnick rushed to Dr. Stein’s office, and described the scene when she arrived: “I get there and this officer [Morgan] was just sitting in the examination room with Chloe, just petting her, comforting her and keeping her warm.
“He found her, took off the trap and then he stayed with her so she wasn’t all alone… what a wonderful man,” added an obviously thankful Klugman-Resnick.
The illegal traps two were set by the poacher are currently being investigated by DEC officer Scott Steingart.
“The way these traps were set up, these were no legitimate trappers, these were poachers,” Steingart said. “A legitimate trapper, by law, is required to check on their traps at least every 24 hours, and they’re also required to have their name and address or their decal [trapping license] number on the trap. These traps had absolutely no identifying markers.”
“We have a good idea who the poachers are, but it’s still being actively investigated and when we do find them they will be fined and can potentially get up to 15 days in jail,” offered Steingart.
“I’m just happy she’s back home,” said an ebullient Mara Resnick. “We were so worried… . she’s such a sweet dog. She would never, ever bite anyone.”
As for Chloe, she’s now at home recovering, but it hasn’t yet been determined if the dog might have to have the affected leg amputated. “She’s on all these meds now and I have to bring her back to the vet every day to have her dressing changed and to get a shot,” explained Klugman-Resnick. “I really hope they catch whoever did this… I just don’t want this happening to anyone else’s pet.”
As for deputy Morgan who Klugman-Resnick and her children consider a hero he opined, “I think whoever did this should not only be fined and whatever other penalties they’re subject to, but they should also be responsible for the vet bills. It’s a shame; this type of thing has to stop.”
Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to call the DEC at 1-800-TIPP- DEC (1-800-847-7332).