Reward increased to find whoever set trap that led to death of raccoon

A $5,000 reward is being offered for anyone with information leading to whoever placed an illegal foothold trap that led to the death of a raccoon in the Santa Clarita area.

Wildlife Emergency Services offered a $1,000 reward on Thursday, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals chipped in $4,000.

Wildlife Emergency Services circulated a photograph of the raccoon that was recently found dead near the 28000 block of Rock Canyon Drive.

"From a photograph provided by a resident near Copper Hill in Santa Clarita, it appears a raccoon was snared by an illegal foothold trap -- banned in California -- and became entangled in a tree where it subsequently perished,'' Wildlife Emergency Services CEO Rebecca Dmytryk said.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife was notified, she said. "Often, trapping is a method used to get rid of `nuisance' animals,
but it is an outdated practice,'' Dmytryk said. "The animals are not the actual problem -- their presence is a symptom, indicating a reliable food source nearby.''

The reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible for setting the trap, according to Dmytryk and PETA officials.

"The terror and agony that this trapped raccoon must have felt as he or she desperately tried to escape is hard to imagine," said PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien. "PETA urges anyone with information about this crime to come forward immediately so that whoever set this illegal trap can be held accountable and stopped from hurting anyone else."

Anyone with information on the case was urged to contact Wildlife Emergency Services  at or report anonymously through the state Department of Fish and Wildlife CalTip line at 888-334-CalTIP.