Fox Rescuers Fined; PETA Calls For Trapping Ban

For Immediate Release:
March 16, 2022

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Las Vegas

Today, after learning that Jessica Manners and Bobby Vaske—the Las Vegas couple who freed a fox who was yelping in distress while his paw was painfully clamped inside a baited steel-jaw trap directly outside his den—have been fined $355 each ($710 total) for removing the trap, PETA sent an urgent letter to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak calling on him to ban steel-jaw traps throughout the state. The group has also asked him to revoke the fines assessed to the couple.

“Steel-jaw traps indiscriminately slam shut on animals’ limbs, mangling the flesh of any fox, raccoon, dog, or human child unfortunate enough to step on one,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on Gov. Sisolak to ban these medieval devices, which have no place in the 21st century, and dismiss the fines levied against these selfless fox rescuers.”

PETA honored the Vaske family with a Compassionate Action Award last week for saving the fox. The group notes that one of the Vaskes’ dogs set off a second trap but, fortunately, was unharmed.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Sisolak follows.

March 16, 2022

The Honorable Steve Sisolak

Governor of Nevada

Dear Gov. Sisolak:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals U.S.—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, including many in Nevada—in response to reports that the Vaske family has been fined for releasing a fox whom their distraught family found yelping in distress with his paw painfully clamped inside a baited steel-jaw trap, which had been placed directly outside his den. We respectfully ask that your office move to excuse their fines and ban the setting of these medieval devices—so archaic and barbaric that they have no place in the 21st century—in Nevada.

Every year, trappers kill millions of raccoons, coyotes, wolves, bobcats, opossums, beavers, foxes, and other fur-bearing animals, most commonly using steel-jaw traps. The American Veterinary Medical Association condemns these traps and has classified them as “inhumane.” When an animal steps on the spring of the steel-jaw trap, its jaws slam shut, clamping down on the animal’s leg or paw. As the animal struggles in excruciating pain to get free, the steel vise can cut into their flesh—often down to the bone—mutilating their leg or paw. Some animals, especially mothers desperate to return to their young, will even attempt to chew or twist off their trapped limbs. Animals often struggle for hours, sometimes days, before they finally succumb to exhaustion, exposure, frostbite, or shock. This is animal abuse. Although some steel-jaw traps are padded or offset, they can still cause injuries such as broken bones, lacerations, and hemorrhages and leave animals immobile, exposed, and helpless.

Not only are steel-jaw traps viciously inhumane, they are also indiscriminate. Every year, dogs, cats, birds, and other animals—including endangered species—are “accidentally” crippled or killed by traps across the country.

Because steel-jaw traps are inherently cruel, they have been banned in 88 countries. Their use is also banned or restricted in several U.S. states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington. The European Union has banned the use of steel-jaw traps and the importation of pelts from countries that use these devices to ensnare fur-bearing animals.

We strongly urge Nevada to ban commercial and recreational steel-jaw trapping and to waive the Vaske family’s fines Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk


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