Report of dead animals prompts investigation

BRISTOL — Vermont State Police received a report on April 11 from two Middlebury College students who came across a scene of what they described as 15-20 mutilated and dismembered dog carcasses. As reported in the Middlebury Campus newspaper last week, they found the animals on a property alongside the New Haven River in Bristol while they were out fishing.
One of the two students told the Independent this week that they had seen a variety of dead animal parts, as well as complete skeletons, with fur and flesh; they appeared to be dogs. “It doesn’t look humane in the least,” the student said.
State police asked Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Game Warden Josh Hungerford to look into the report. Hungerford told the Independent this week that he talked to the owner of the property, who lived in a home on the site. He said the carcasses were not dogs, but coyotes.
Hungerford described the property owner as a trapper who was fully licensed to trap and kill coyotes. He said the animals are typically trapped and skinned and their pelts are sold. Trappers generally sell pelts to earn a living. Hungerford said the carcasses that the Middlebury College students found were all discarded on the trapper’s own land, which is perfectly legal.
“He can discard them on his own property,” he said.
Hungerford said he could understand how the students felt when they came across the scene, especially if they were unfamiliar with trapping.
“It can be alarming,” he said.

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