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Justice for Copper – When a Walk in the Woods Turns Deadly

By: Maggie Sergio, Writer, Conservationist and Concerned Citizen of the Planet

This article is dedicated to a sweet dog I never met. A beautiful 10 year-old rescue named Copper.

I first heard the story of what happened to Copper, last month. Laura Nirenberg, Executive Director of the Center for Wildlife Ethics (CWE), shared with me the details surrounding Copper’s untimely and brutal death. Copper was crushed by a hidden wildlife trap in Versailles State Park, a public park which is 5,988 acres in size, and visited by approximately 268,000 people a year.

The trap that violently killed Copper was, astonishingly, one of hundreds (or thousands) of devices hidden throughout public parks and sanctioned by the state of Indiana.

The specifics of Copper’s death may be difficult for some to read. I do understand, as this legal case was difficult for me to research and write. While the details are troubling, it is critical that the story of Copper’s death be told, as a similar tragedy could happen to anyone simply taking their beloved dog out into nature for a hike.

My goal for this article is to alert the public regarding the dangers of wildlife traps on lands held in the public trust. I remain hopeful that Justice for Copper can be achieved, as a result of the relentless persistence of CWE. The good work done by this grass-roots nonprofit reveals a bigger issue that needs to be addressed, which is Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) historical pattern of disregard for public notice and input, reckless indifference to public safety, and co-opting of public lands for private financial gain. In this case–benefiting those who trap wildlife for fur.

Read full article: Justice for Copper 

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