Montclair Animal Control and Montclair Police are working with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife after a fox was found stuck in an illegal animal trap in the area of The Fairway on Tuesday, June 21. The fox had to be euthanized in response to its injuries, officials said.

Animal Control Supervisor  Michele Shiber said they don’t know where the trap was set originally “because the fox was still relatively mobile at the time it was caught and contained by Animal Control.”

“The fox has a compound leg fracture from the coil-spring trap and appeared to have been gnawing on its foot in desperation to try to free itself from the trap,” Shiber said.

The trap was a coil-spring trap, which has been prohibited in New Jersey by legislation since 1985. These types of traps are used to capture and hold large wildlife like bobcats, Shiber said.

After the fox was located, it was transported to the local animal hospital, where it was humanely euthanized in response to its injuries, Shiber said. 

The last time an animal was caught in an illegal trap in Montclair was in August 2019, according to Shiber. In that situation, the animal, a groundhog, was also euthanized due to injuries. According to the New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife, the groundhog was caught in a conibear trap, which is only legal if permitted and submerged underwater.

But Turner said that neighbors on the scene of Tuesday’s event reported seeing a raccoon stuck in a trap a few weeks prior. 

The identity of the individual or individuals placing the traps is unknown. Montclair Animal Control and Montclair Police are working with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to investigate the situation.

Anyone with information can call Montclair police at 973-744-1234 or email AOC Michele Shiber at Mshiber@MontclairNJusa.org.

According to state statute A person using a steel-jaw leghold type animal trap faces fines of $50 to $250 for a first offense; $250 to  $500 for a second offense and $500 to $2,500.00 for a third or subsequent offense.