13 Investigates


Las Vegas family who freed fox from trap honored by PETA

Compassionate Action Award comes in wake of 13 investigation
Fox caught in trap
PETA Compassionate Action Award
Posted at 4:54 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 21:52:50-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Compassionate Action Award is on the way from PETA to the Vaske family. On Jan. 9, parents Bobby and Jessica, their two kids and their dogs were hiking together west of Centennial Parkway when the dogs began barking in alert.

They discovered a fox yelping in distress, with his paw stuck in a baited steel trap outside his den.

“To me, it was like killing that animal myself if I didn’t do something, ” Bobby said to 13 Investigates.

PREVIOUS: Family frees fox after their dog is nearly caught in a leg-hold trap

Bobby drove back home for rescue supplies. Both him and Jessica used a laundry basket to hold the fox in place while they worked his paw free from the trap, allowing him to run back into his den.

“If the Vaskes hadn’t intervened, this fox could have died a slow, terrifying, and agonizing death in the trap that was set up directly on his doorstep,” said PETA senior vice president Colleen O’Brien. “PETA is honoring this compassionate family for saving a vulnerable animal and inspiring others to keep an eye out for wildlife in danger.”

One of the dogs from the Vaske family set off a second trap, but was unharmed. 

13 Investigates: Practice called inhumane, barbaric is legal in Nevada

"Every year, 10 million raccoons, coyotes, and other fur-bearing wild animals — as well as numerous dogs, cats, and birds — are caught in steel-jaw traps, which slam shut on the animals’ limbs, cutting into their flesh," according to PETA. "Trapped animals struggle for hours and sometimes days before they succumb to exhaustion, exposure, or shock or trappers arrive to shoot or bludgeon them to death."

PETA's motto reads in part, “animals are not ours to abuse in any way.”

The Vaskes will receive a framed certificate, vegan cookies, and vegan dog treats.

Also in the wake of our investigation, the Nevada Wildlife Coalition has created a petition which launched Wednesday on its new Silver State Wildlife website.

13 Investigates reached out to the trapper that caught the fox in our story. He declined to comment or participate in the story in any way.

But we did hear from another trapper after it aired.

"Trappers see both sides of that issue and most are extremely tolerant of others' views and always willing to educate and answer any questions someone might have," JD Brock wrote. "True trappers understand that every set made on public ground represents us all, not just the person who set it."

Brock adds that it was possible the fox was going to be released as the described set with the shiny attractant is a common bobcat set.

"That trapper did us all an injustice when given a platform. We are not all just a bunch of hillbillies out to destroy animals," Brock said. "For the record, we encounter in our industry some really sick people who we want to not be able to trap. They give us all a bad name. We want to support real trappers and stop the cruel ones."

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