Man Charged for Illegally Trapping Baby Coyote

Video Shows Local Teen Helping Suffering Pup Caught in Steel-Jaw Trap

For Immediate Release:
October 21, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Los Angeles

Following appeals from PETA and Project Coyote, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey has filed a felony cruelty-to-animals charge and a misdemeanor charge for the use of an illegal trap against Richard Wallem, who allegedly set the rusty steel-jaw trap in Valley Village in which a coyote pup reportedly struggled for more than 24 hours over the Fourth of July weekend.

According to Project Coyote’s records, Valley Village resident Lisa Johnson Mandell organized a GoFundMe campaign that collected $3,615 for “humane wildlife removal.” Wallem then reportedly set at least one steel-jaw trap—a device that has been illegal in California for more than 20 years and explicitly banned in Los Angeles since 2014—and failed to check it for over 24 hours as required by law. The pup was held fast by one foot during the hot weather and the terrifying fireworks bursts over the holiday weekend. Help finally came from a local teen who heard his cries: Video footage shows her giving water to the struggling pup, and she alerted authorities, who had to euthanize him because of the severity of his injuries.

“Coyotes are curious, playful, loyal animals who love their families, and maiming them with torturous steel-jaw traps is not only hideously cruel but illegal,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “The terror that this pup endured only ended when a kind teen stepped forward. We must be good neighbors to our local wildlife and stop demanding the extermination of sensitive animals who are simply trying to survive.”

“These cruel trappers are now on notice that Los Angeles officials will not stand by and let coyotes suffer painful, needless deaths in clear violation of the law,” says Project Coyote Southern California Representative Randi Feilich. “As humans continue to alter and shrink the natural landscape, wildlife is forced to seek food and shelter in our neighborhoods, creating a moral obligation for humans to make every reasonable effort to coexist with creatures who have a will and a right to survive.”

Trapping coyotes tears wild families apart and is ineffective at controlling coyote populations, because the resulting spike in the food supply accelerates the breeding of survivors and newcomers and numbers quickly rebound. Effective population control measures include informing the public about deterring the animals through habitat modification and prohibiting residents from feeding wildlife.

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

Project Coyote, a national nonprofit organization, is a North American coalition of scientists, educators, ranchers, and citizen leaders promoting compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science, and advocacy. Visit for more information, and follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

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