A government trapper in the USDA’s wildlife services division is under fire after taking photographs that appear to show his dogs tormenting coyotes caught in leghold traps, and then posting the photographs on Facebook and Twitter. The photos, which inevitably went viral, have now sparked an investigation.
From this story in the Missoula Independent:
In early November, Jamie Olson, a federal Wildlife Services employee in Wyoming, told the Indy he made a “big-ass mistake” in posting several photos of live coyotes caught in leg-hold traps on Facebook and Twitter. Those photos, some of which appeared to show Olson’s dogs tormenting the trapped coyotes, outraged animal-rights groups and triggered an investigation…
The uproar has reached Washington, D.C., with U.S. Reps. John Campbell, R-Calif., and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., asking Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for a broader investigation–“a thorough audit of Wildlife Services, especially its lethal predator control program, by the USDA Office of Inspector General regarding the culture within Wildlife Services.”
According to the story, although Olson says he took the pictures on his own time, the lawmakers say it appears that he committed acts of animal cruelty that violate federal directives and state law. They also say they’re concerned the photos reflect problems within the agency, especially at a time when the government trapping program is already under heavy scrutiny and criticism.
If you wish, the photos can be viewed here.