Reward Offered in Illegal Trapping Case in Pennsylvania

The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for setting an illegal trap that seriously injured a dog in northern Butler County, Pa.

The Case:

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, on June 8, a citizen discovered a dog with her leg caught in a trap on state game lands near Route 38 in Washington Township. The beagle suffered a severe infection as a result of the trap, and her leg had to be amputated.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission requires that all traps include the name and address of the trapper or an identification number. This trap was reportedly unmarked. Trappers in Pennsylvania are required by law to check their traps every 36 hours. Veterinarians estimate that the dog was stuck in the trap for at least three days.

“This tragic case demonstrates how the violation of hunting and trapping laws can have grave repercussions. This dog suffered immensely because of the callous actions of an illegal trapper,” said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States thanks The Butler County Humane Society for caring for the dog and the Pennsylvania Game Commission for their efforts to find those responsible for this reprehensible crime.”

The individual or individuals responsible for this possible crime could face charges of unlawful taking of furbearers, a fifth degree summary offense punishable by a fine of up to $200.

Additional charges could also apply depending on the outcome of the investigation.


  • Poaching is a broad term that includes any illegal hunting or trapping activity. Pennsylvania has some of the weakest penalties for poaching in the country. H.B. 1859, legislation currently awaiting action in the state Senate, would increase penalties for a wide range of wildlife crimes, from killing endangered species to operating commercial poaching operations. It also elevates habitual poaching to a felony and for the first time imposes the possibility of jail time for many wildlife crimes. 
  • S.B. 1200, currently awaiting action in the House Appropriations Committee, would allow Pennsylvania to join the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, a nationwide law enforcement network aimed at keeping poachers who have lost their hunting privileges in one state from hunting in another. Since its institution in 1989, 34 states, including Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia and New York, have joined the Compact.
  • Wildlife officials estimate that for every wild animal killed legally — tens of millions of animals per year — another is killed illegally.
  • Every year, thousands of poachers are arrested nationwide; however, it is estimated that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poachers are caught.
  • Poachers kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways.
  • The HSUS works with state wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $2,500 for information leading to arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.

The Investigators:

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Turn in a Poacher (TIP) hotline at 1-888-742-8001 . Callers may remain anonymous.

 The HSUS works to curb poaching across the country. Visit for more information.

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