LAS VEGAS (FOX5) – A group of Las Vegas women is helping dumped and lost dogs in the desert. The Las Vegas Trapping Girls started as a group of friends who met online and over time developed into a group.
Their specialty is helping cats and dogs dumped in the desert and hard-to-catch animals in the community.
“We started the group because we knew there was a big need for it,” said Las Vegas Trapping Girl, Kim Byron. “I went and personally bought some traps and we started going out and trapping the animals off of Facebook that needed helping out in the desert, dumped dogs, dogs that were lost.”
The group had been saving animals for years, but it was one rescue that made them into something more. A dog with ragged fur had been spotted near the state line in the desert. Working together, they trapped the poodle mix now named, 'Wally.'
“The community knew he was in the desert,” said Donna Turner, Wally’s new owner. “He still had part of the cone from when he had surgery when he was first adopted in 2013 and part of the cone was still embedded in his fur when they shaved him down.”
The Las Vegas Trapping Girls tracked down Wally’s original owner. They said Wally ran off the day he was adopted from the Animal Foundation five years ago, but the owner didn’t bother to look for him. Once Wally was cleaned up and given a clean bill of health, he was adopted by Turner.
“He makes me happy,” said Turner. “I had an anxiety problem when I got Wally and he keeps me calm.”
A pet detective and three trappers, these women find and save dogs and cats no matter the location.
“We first find out the location, where it was last seen, does it have a collar, how long has it been out there? And then we load up our equipment in our car. Is it a big trap, small trap? And we go out to the location,” said Byron.
These women go the extra mile to trap a dog. They’ll spend weeks overnight in the desert to trap a scared dog. They use bait to lure the animal in and patiently wait in their vehicles, letting their trap do all the work.
Dogs that are trapped are checked for a microchip and collar. The Las Vegas Trapping Girls said most don’t have any kind of ID.
“A lot of the dogs we trap, we don’t find a home for. You know, they’re not chipped,” said Las Vegas Trapping Girl, Vickie. “I have a scanner, I carry it around all the times. Sometimes you know it will have a chip and the owner says I don’t want it. I don’t want it anymore. I just let it go. You’ve got to be kidding me.”
It’s against Nevada law to abandon an animal and dumping a dog in the desert can land offenders with a felony. The Las Vegas Trapping girls said a substantial number of dogs that they rescue are left to die in the harsh conditions.
They even find dogs that are already dead dumped in the desert.
“Well the dog was dumped in the 95 and Mt. Charleston area. The first thing. I cried. I cried so hard,” said Las Vegas Trapping Girl, Kim Petricka.
On a trapping April, the women encountered a deceased dog duct taped inside a bin. It was in the rocks down an embankment near the road. The Trapping Girls says they don’t know how the dog died but asked why someone would do such a thing.
“They way it was positioned in this box ... It’s heartbreaking to see that to know that there are people out there that could hurt them like that,” said Petricka.
The Las Vegas Trapping girls have trapped hundreds of valley animals and are no stranger to encountering animal abuse.
“They need to be put away. We need tougher laws for these people. We have animal abuse laws but we have to be able to prove everything and even then it’s really tough.”
But for every animal they can’t save, there’s a handful of those who get a second chance at life. Trapped dogs are taken to the Forgotten Dogs of Las Vegas Rescue. Fosters are used until a dog is ready to be adopted.
“[Raider] was actually abandoned at a hiking trail, “ said Lexington Abellera, who rescued his dog, Raider, from the Las Vegas Trapping Girls. “They said they saw him everyday for about two months or so. He’s my buddy. A friend of mine said you’ll never know the best love that you’ll get until you get like a rescue dog.”
“Let me tell you that I’ve learned a lot since I’ve gotten Wally to appreciate all the rescues out there,” said Turner. “The ones that go out and trap. Everything that they do for these dogs.”
“And as soon as they go in the trap everybody starts screaming,” said Byron. “It’s like another one saved.”
The Las Vegas Trapping Girls said they are trying to become a nonprofit. They’re looking for more resources, trappers and fosters. For more information click here.