Juneau hiker who freed eagle and sprung traps sued by trapper

By | September 4, 2015

The woman who freed a trapped eagle and was cited for springing other traps is heading back to court. In January, the State of Alaska dropped its case against Kathleen Turley. Now, the trapper is suing her for damages in small claims court.

Download Audio:

Download Audio:

00:00 R P

Kathleen Turley encountered this eagle stuck in two traps Dec. 24, 2014. She freed the eagle and tampered with other legally set traps in the area. She’s now being sued. (Photo courtesy Kathleen Turley)

Pete Buist is a past president and board member of the Alaska Trappers Association. He’s now its spokesman. Buist doesn’t know the Juneau trapper, John Forrest, but understands why he’s suing. He says if it were him, he’d do the same thing.

“I say bravo for the trapper. The state won’t do what’s right. He should do what’s right,” Buist says.

Forrest, who’s suing Kathleen Turley for at least $5,000, declined to comment.

In January, Turley (formerly Kathleen Adair at the time of the events) says she sprang three traps on two separate days out of concern for the safety of dogs and hikers. She also freed an eagle that was caught in two traps. Despite her efforts to save the eagle, it was later euthanized.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers cited Turley for tampering with traps that Forrest had legally set, not for freeing the eagle. Hindering lawful trapping is a violation of state law that carries up to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.

Turley wasn’t fined or jailed. At the arraignment, the state’s prosecutor used his discretion and advocated for the case to be thrown out, and it was.

Buist says members of the trappers association weren’t happy.

“I can fully understand why the lady rescued the eagle. I don’t have any problem with that whatsoever. And I think if she had just rescued the eagle, the trappers would’ve supported that. But she didn’t. She went back and tampered with the traps and broke the law,” Buist says.

Shortly after the State of Alaska dropped its case against Turley, Buist says several members of the trappers association complained to the attorney general’s office.

“And basically we were summarily dismissed as the fringe element and it fizzled after that,” Buist says.

Forrest has a lawyer, though it’s not required in small claims court. Attorney Zane Wilson is no stranger in the trapping community. He helped win a high profile case involving wildlife biologist Gordon Haber who freed a wolf from a snare in Tok in 1997. The biologist was being funded by an international animal advocacy organization. The trapper sued and the Tok jury awarded him $190,000.

Wilson is with Fairbanks firm Cook Shuhmann & Groseclose. He relayed through an employee he was “not authorized” to speak to me. Wilson is a lifetime member of the trappers association. Buist says Wilson’s uncle is Dean Wilson, a well-known trapper and fur buyer who’s been called the state’s patriarch of trapping.

A fellow Juneau trapper and a state wildlife biologist have said Forrest partially relies on trapping for income. The most targeted species in the Juneau area is marten. In the 2012-2013 season, the average price for raw marten fur was about $140. A state report says one even fetched $1,300. In Southeast, trappers also target mink, otter, wolf and beaver, among other animals.

Turley, who freed the eagle and sprung the traps, doesn’t think she owes Forrest anything. She says she’s never been contacted by him. Until she received the complaint in the mail in July, she didn’t even know his name.

“I was very surprised and confused. … I hadn’t heard anything about it. I had no idea that he felt there was money owed,” Turley says.

Turley is Alaska-raised and has lived in Juneau for 30 years. She grew up fishing and hunting and shot a bear at age 16. As an avid outdoors person, she’s seen traps before, but had never tampered with any before the eagle incident. Turley says she’s not against trapping, but thinks it’s better suited for other parts of the state.

She says she didn’t damage the traps when she sprung them. Turley hasn’t been on the Davies Creek Trail where she found the eagle since.

“I’ve completely avoided that area, which is a beautiful area, a very nice trail, but I haven’t gone anywhere near it. I don’t want anything do to with it,” Turley says.

She says the whole incident and the lawsuit have caused her a lot of stress and grief.

The trial is scheduled for Oct. 12. Turley doesn’t have a lawyer yet.

Trapping in the 21st Century

by Stephen Capra

How is it as a society that in this day and time, understanding as we do the connection between a healthy, vibrant community of wildlife and true biodiversity, that we allow something as unfathomable as trapping? The cruel and twisted nature of this form of legal torture has changed little since its advent, one that defined the early days of our nation.

What remains the true insanity is that as our nation has evolved and positions have matured on race, women and so many other issues of inequality, but our positions on animals and wildlife have evolved at a far slower pace. So that today in New Mexico, being a bobcat is more than a death sentence, it is almost a guarantee that your life will be cut short in a barbarous manner, so that you can be sold for your fur.

We all know the term, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” It rings so true on the issue of trapping. We all know the reality of this cruel and sickening action, yet despite all our knowledge and emotions, the Game and Fish Department and the ranching community remain steadfast in their support of the practice. Many sportsmen also remain solid in their support; even though they acknowledge that it is a very cruel fate for any animal.

Some liken it to a tradition. They speak of their connection to nature as though we should simply understand that allowing an animal to wither in pain for hours, days or weeks is somehow something we want to condone or even pass on to a new generation. We seem to allow a giant loophole in the regulations of public lands that forbids killing for profit. Trappers it seems can use the lands, basically put them off-limits for our enjoyment, kill and torture animals and then sell their pelts for profit.

At the last Game and Fish meeting the green light was given to trapping cougars. We know all the wildlife that is impacted by traps, the bycatch of these animals remains tremendous, from eagles to our pets; yet rather than diminish the practice, our commission wants to ramp it up!

As we ponder as a nation our next steps on issues such as climate change and face the stiff and relentless pressure of republican politicians who refuse to even admit its legitimacy, it’s worth noting that as a nation, we remain unable to put the issue of trapping behind us. We continue to fight over whether it should be banned; we fight over the idea that it is a tradition or what animals should be allowed to suffer. Some even argue that the animals do not suffer. This all speaks to the ignorance of man, to the real selfish nature of those that see nature as a place not to revere, but as a place for profit.

That basic concept seems ingrained in our Manifest Destiny mindsets and grinding it out is the challenge we face as we come in contact with our own mortality as a species. Ending trapping is about more than ending suffering. It is about compassion, changing our view of animals from foe to friend. It is about changing ourselves from those who conquer to those willing to share the bounty we have been blessed with. Seeing the forest not for the trees, but rather as a living organism that gives life to wolves, bears, cougars and species as small as ants, a place where man is a visitor, not the owner.

There is a freedom in letting go. If we can begin to see ourselves not as the owner, but as yet another renter of this life giving force, we may begin to better understand the value of the commons. In this shared commons, we are a part of a much larger and more varied unit. Here many species share a space and regulate that space as they have for millions of years. They have done so without our input with a grace and balance that man remains a long way from perfecting.

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Canada Lynx from Trapping Deaths, Injuries in Maine


Monday, August 17, 2015

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Canada Lynx from Trapping Deaths, Injuries in Maine . Photo by Carl Robidoux.AUGUSTA, ME—Wildlife conservation and animal welfare organizations filed a lawsuit today against the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for allowing trappers in Maine to seriously injure and kill Canada lynx, a federally protected cat. Plaintiffs include the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine (WAM).

Each year Maine trappers targeting coyotes, foxes, mink and other furbearing wildlife seriously injure and kill Canada lynx, one of the rarest wild cats in the United States. Because lynx are protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the state cannot authorize such “incidental” harm to lynx without an incidental take permit issued by the USFWS. Today’s lawsuit challenges the USFWS’ permit issued to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife last year, which was intended to cover the state’s trapping programs.

“I’m outraged that endangered lynx continue to needlessly suffer and die in cruel traps,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “A few commonsense changes could prevent most of this suffering, but the Service refuses to require Maine’s trapping programs to make those changes.”

The lawsuit argues that Maine’s trapping programs violate both the ESA, which requires that harm to lynx be minimized and mitigated, and the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires a proper analysis of environmental impacts.

“Sickening reports of lynx deaths and injuries, as well as an unknown number of unreported incidents, show that the state and feds are doing a haphazard job providing lynx the protections required under the law,” said Daryl DeJoy, executive director of WAM. “We hope that this lawsuit brings necessary changes to Maine’s trapping programs that will help ensure the lynx’s survival in Maine.”

The challenged permit allows, over the next 15 years, for three trapped lynx to be killed, nine to suffer severe injury and require rehabilitation before release, and 183 to suffer so-called minor injuries and be immediately released. Since the permit was issued in November 2014, trappers have already reported killing two lynx and capturing more than 20 others. More have likely fallen victim to traps, as the USFWS has stated that 75 percent of trapped lynx are not reported.

“As has unfortunately become commonplace within the USFWS, the agency’s biologists advocated for greater protections for the lynx, only to be trumped by agency administrators,” said DJ Schubert, wildlife biologist at AWI. “The USFWS must protect lynx from the suffering and death inherent to trapping with steel-jaw devices and not capitulate to a state agency more interested in a handful of trappers than the protection and recovery of the lynx.”

The organizations object to the use of body-gripping Conibear traps, snares and steel-jaw leghold traps in areas where lynx live. Conibear traps, for example, snap shut in a lethal grip, killing lynx in Maine on numerous occasions; but the USFWS’ permit does not require simple exclusion devices that could be effective in preventing lynx deaths. Today’s lawsuit also challenges Maine’s plan for mitigating harm to lynx, which largely relies on lynx habitat management, even though the USFWS’ own biologists found that the amount of mitigation habitat would be too small to offset the harm to lynx.

“Instead of enforcing the law, the USFWS caved by failing to require the measures needed to protect Canada lynx,” said Doug Ruley, an attorney with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School.

Plaintiffs are represented by the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic and local counsel.


Media Contact:
Amey Owen, Animal Welfare Institute, (202) 446-2128, amey@awionline.org

About the Animal Welfare Institute
The Animal Welfare Institute is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. For more information, visit www.awionline.org.

About the Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. For more information, visit http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/.

About the Wildlife Alliance of Maine
The Wildlife Alliance of Maine is dedicated to advocate on behalf of Maine’s wildlife and to promote a conservation ethic that represents non-consumptive wildlife users. For more information, visit http://www.wildlifealliancemaine.org/.

Ban the Trap

Action Alerts – Need Your Help Today


July 25, 2015



Dear (Contact First Name),


Social Compassion in Legislation has launched a “Ban The Trap” billboard and social media campaign in support of an upcoming vote by the California Fish & Game Commission.  The vote is on August 5, 2015 and would prohibit bobcat trapping state-wide. And yes, it IS still legal to trap bobcats for their fur in California, most people do not realize that this is the case.


Here are some of the facts:

  • Trappers setup their traps on private property.
  • Trappers stalk the Internet for people posting where bobcats were seen.
  • Trappers get $600-$1000 for their pelts.
  • California has not counted their bobcat population since 1970!
  • Trappers take an estimate of over 14,000 bobcats per year, but really no one knows how many.
  • California bobcats, once trapped, are shot in the head and skinned for their fur which is then sold and sent to China, Russia and Europe, where demand has sadly increased.

When SCIL was alerted that this lifesaving vote was pending, we wanted to make sure your voice can be heard! We hope you will take action.  We do not want to miss this opportunity to make history for our native bobcats. They are Californians too, and are desperately counting on your support.  Please take action TODAY!

Please help bobcats by contacting the Fish & Game Commission before Tuesday, August 4th:

Email  fgc@fgc.ca.gov  Call (916) 653-4899 Fax (916) 653-5040


Twitter:  @CaliforniaDFW @JerryBrownGov #BanTheTrap

Please tell them you Support Option #2 “Complete Ban” on bobcat trapping.  Let’s end this barbaric practice in our state.


*** If you are a member of the press, we will be holding a press conference Monday morning – July 27th.  We will have a special guest and new information.  Please consider covering our press event, and contact me for more information.  We will send out a press release Monday afternoon with our news.

Here is a link to the Proposed Regulations.


We would like to thank our donors and billboard participants:  Diane Warren, Gloria Butler, Dr. Jenn Mann, Alexandra Paul, Matt Raimo, board members: Katie Cleary & Simone Reyes. Also, we want to thank Michael Roud for donating his time and his talented photography services.


Billboard location sites are:

Los Angeles -Santa Monica Blvd. and Kelton facing west.

Sacramento -5 Freeway south Richards Blvd.

URGENT: Help Ban Bobcat Trapping in CA & Set a National Precedent!‏

  TrishCarney-Bobcat-VR 2

In less than a month the California Fish and Game Commission will vote whether to make California the first state in the nation to ban bobcat trapping.

Together we can do this- but we need your help! With a few simple actions you can help end this needless killing.

As Governor Brown recently appointed two new Commissioners (Eric Sklar and Anthony Williams who replaced Michael Sutton and Richard Rogers), it is all the more important that these Commissioners hear from you on this issue- and from your friends, family and colleagues. They need to know how many Californians and visitors to California care about wildlife and don’t want to see bobcats trapped for fur.

In 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Bobcat Protection Act (AB 1213) into law. Originally intended to ban bobcat trapping statewide, the legislation was then amended and weakened by the pro-trapping industry. Now the Commission is developing rules to implement this Act and thanks to former Commissioner Richard Rogers, the Commission is considering a complete ban on commercial/recreational trapping of bobcats (“Option 2”).

Please join Project Coyote in supporting Commissioner Rogers’ enlightened and compassionate proposal. We have a unique opportunity to protect California’s bobcats from the insatiable international fur market where individual bobcat pelts can sell for more than $1,000 per pelt.

What you can do:

1- Write to the California Fish & Game Commission and express your support for Option 2 which would end the commercial and recreational trapping of bobcats in California (see talking points below):

California Fish and Game Commission
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Be sure to include your full contact information in your letter and please cc Project Coyote at info@projectcoyote.org as we are tracking letters submitted to the Commission.

You don’t have to be a California resident to comment. If you reside outside of California, please mention your interest in seeing live bobcats in the wild as a tourist and your willingness to spend money doing so.

2- Join Project Coyote and allies and testify at the upcoming Fish and Game Commission August 5th meeting where this issue will be voted on.

What: California Fish and Game Commission meeting
When: Wednesday, August 5th (agenda to be posted here)
Where: River Lodge Conference Center, 1800 Riverwalk Drive, Fortuna, CA 95540

3- Sign our petition calling on the California Fish & Game Commission to ban the commercial and recreational trapping of bobcats in California.

Join more than 10,000 people who have signed this petition already.

4- CA Residents: Help keep this issue in the public eye by submitting Letters to the Editor to your local paper(s). Use the talking points below and our tips and tools for writing LTE’s.

TALKING POINTS (Please personalize your letter!):

*Express your support for Option 2- the “no bobcat trapping” option.

*The proposed regulatory rules to implement the Bobcat Protection Act would be both complicated and expensive to enforce. A simple ban on bobcat trapping will save the Department money and resources instead of creating a morass of complicated regulations and causing confusion for law enforcement, sportsmen and the public.

*Trapping bobcats is ethically indefensible, ecologically unsound, and economically unjustifiable.

*Trapping bobcats is cruel and unnecessary. Trapped bobcats are generally clubbed and/or suffocated to death (bullets damage the pelt).

*Bobcats are an important native species to California. We should not allow the trapping of our bobcats to feed the growing international fur markets in Asia and Russia where one bobcat pelt can sell upwards of $1,000.

*Fewer than 100 Californians trap bobcats for the fur trade. As stewards and trustees of California’s wildlife, the Commission should not cater to this tiny minority of people who enjoy killing bobcats for fun and profit.

*The value of one live bobcat to the millions who enjoy wildlife watching far outweighs the value of one dead bobcat to one fur trapper.

*As the Commission continues to work toward modernizing predator management statewide, banning commercial and recreational bobcat trapping is a step in this direction.

Thank you for speaking up for wildlife! Watch our video here and be inspired by the voices of youth calling for a ban on bobcat trapping! 


Stop the Use of Cruel Animal Traps

Petitioning Chris Christie, New Jersey State House, New Jersey State Senate, David Burke, David Chanda

Stop the Use of Cruel Animal Traps

Petition by Alex Klinger
Carteret, New Jersey

The wildlife of New Jersey needs our help now! The New Jersey Fish and Game Council (NJFGC) just decided to allow the use of inhumane leghold traps, even though they were already banned in 1984! Gov. Christie and the NJ Legislature have the power to ban them again, so we need to speak up and call on them to veto the use of leghold traps as fast as possible, since many of these animals are being trapped inhumanely for their fur right now.

The traps are designed to clamp onto an animal’s leg when it reaches in for food. Once snared, the animal suffers terrible agony until it dies from blood loss or infection, or is killed by the trapper days later. Proponents say the new leghold design is “humane” because, unlike older traps which snare birds, deer, and other animals, these ones require some degree of dexterity, so they’re limited to raccoons and opossums. Just because the traps snare fewer animals, does not mean these animals suffer less. It’s the wrong use of the word “humane.”

Since the 1984 ban, trappers have used box traps, which don’t harm the animal. But trappers argue that box traps are too cumbersome and uncomfortable. Imagine how uncomfortable it is to be ensnared in steel jaws for days on end. Leghold traps have the clamping force to break bones and, historically, animals have been known to chew off their limbs to attempt escape.

The Humane Society spent nearly 20 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars convincing the NJ Legislature to ban the cruel traps in 1984. State officials acknowledged then that they were inhumane, but they now seem to have forgotten.

These traps are just as barbaric as they were three decades ago. The NJFGC’s decision spits in the face of progress, and if we don’t make some noise, they will get away with it. Please join me in asking Gov. Christie and the NJ Legislature to overrule NJFGC’s wrongheaded decision and protect NJ’s wildlife from needless suffering.

Help Make Wildlife Services’ Worst Nightmare Come True

It’s finally happening–the last thing in the world USDA’s Wildlife Services wants!
Members of Congress and their staff have been invited to see our award-winning, whistle-blowing film, “EXPOSED: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife,” at a special screening and panel discussion in D.C. It will be held:
Monday, June 15, 3:00-4:00 p.m.
2168 Rayburn Building (the Gold Room)
U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
The panel discussion after the film will enable folks in D.C. to hear directly from a Wildlife Services’ whistle-blower, a victim, and proponents of reform.  It is our hope that legislation to reform this barbaric, unaccountable, and utterly misnamed predator control program will be introduced by Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) in the coming weeks.
I’ve attached the invitation we sent to the Hill.  Please forward this email to your members, friends, and anyone you think would be interested.  Let them know that this is the film Jane Goodall wants millions to see and urge them to ask their Representative to attend this important event.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to our event co-sponsors, without which it would not have happened:  Representative Peter DeFazio, the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, the Animal Welfare Institute, Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Working together, we can expose the secret war against wildlife being waged on the taxpayer’s dime and hold Wildlife Services accountable at last.

Brooks Fahy
Executive Director
(541) 937-4261 Office
(541) 520-6003 Cell

Helping people & wildlife coexist since 1990

Editorial: Veto bobcat hunting bill


Written By Sun-Times Editorial Board Posted: 06/07/2015, 03:39pm
(AP Photo/The Wildlife Center, Alissa Mundt)

If lawmakers can’t tell the different between a saber-toothed tiger, which preyed on elephants and rhinos, and a bobcat, which eats mice and rats, it’s no wonder the Legislature passed a foolish bill to allow bobcat hunting in Illinois.


Gov. Bruce Rauner should veto the bill before lawmakers start comparing the shy, elusive bobcats to marauding dragons.

Bobcats have only recently recovered from the overhunting that put them on Illinois’ threatened species list, but they are not back in large numbers. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the Legislature from voting to allow bobcat hunting again for the first time in 40 years.

One lawmaker during the debate compared bobcats to the fearsome saber-toothed tiger. Another lawmaker called bobcats ferocious. To hear the debate, laments the Humane Society of the United States, you wouldn’t know there’s no record of a bobcat killing a human — ever.

The bobcats, though, are at risk — of being caught in leghold traps that can cause them to suffer for hours or of dying in other painful ways.

The real reason people want to hunt bobcats is because they make good trophies and their valuable spotted pelts can be sold on the international market. That’s not a good enough reason to put the species in jeopardy again. People in other countries can make their mittens out of something else.

At first the House of Representatives voted to reject this law, but then flip-flopped and passed it narrowly. They had it right the first time.

Let’s hope Gov. Rauner knows the difference between a saber-toothed tiger and a bobcat and vetoes this bill.

Your Tax Dollars Kill 7,400 Animals a Day‏

The numbers are shocking. Since 1996, Wildlife Services has shot, poisoned, and strangled 27 million native animals; in 2014 alone, Wildlife Services killed close to 3 million animals. That’s 7,400 animals slaughtered every single day across the U.S.— not by hunters or poachers, but by a little known government agency called USDA “Wildlife Services” whose stated mission is “to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.” This killing is done largely at the behest of ranchers and agribusiness. The carnage costs U.S. taxpayers more than 100 million dollars each year.

But we are holding this rogue agency accountable! In response to legal pressure from Project Coyote, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and other allies, Mendocino County, CA officials recently agreed to suspend the renewal of the county’s contract with Wildlife Services pending a full review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). For the first time, this agency’s actions will be assessed under CEQA, requiring public disclosure of the full impact of this program on all wildlife- both target and non-target- and on the environment. Furthermore, non-lethal alternatives must be considered.

Representing our coalition, I am en route right now to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting where I will present nonlethal approaches to coexisting with wildlife. I will speak of our successful model in Marin County – known as the Marin County Livestock and Wildlife Protection Program. It works. Since implementation 15 years ago, livestock losses and costs to the county have decreased; fewer wild species have been killed. Ranchers have embraced the cost-share program that provides guard animals, better fencing and other non-lethal predator deterrents. Joining me is Keli Hendricks, Project Coyote Predator Friendly Ranching Coordinator, who will talk about some of the innovative non-lethal tools and methods we are testing on ranches in Marin and Sonoma County.

Coyote in leghold trap
Mendocino County is re-evaluating its contract with Wildlife Services, the federal government’s wildlife damage control agency. Despite increasing calls for reform, the agency reported killing 61,702 coyotes in 2014.”

Please read this excellent op-ed in the Sac Bee by Lee M. Talbot – Stopping the Slaughter of America’s Native Wildlife, one County at a Time– and help us continue this critical work to stop the killing, reform predator management, and promote coexistence by donating to Project Coyote today. We depend on individual donors to sustain our important work for North America’s wildlife.

donate-button-coyote 2
Because of the generosity of a Project Coyote supporter in Marin County your donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $12,000. Your donation will go directly toward our campaign to stop the slaughter of North America’s wildlife and to promote non-lethal alternatives to killing. Please help us meet this matching pledge!

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 638 other followers