Pet Death Traps -- INSIDE EDITION Investigates
Jacqueline Muth loves taking her dogs for walks down a quiet country road near her home outside Lexington, Ky. One day, the unimaginable happened.
"I heard this blood curdling scream,” Muth told Inside Edition’s Lisa Guerrero.
Her dog, Billy Boy, was in trouble. What happened next, gives Muth nightmares.
"I followed him here and this is where I saw his body, he was still alive," said Muth.
She was shocked to find her dog caught in a body crushing animal trap. It broke Billy Boy’s neck. Muth was helpless as her beloved pet died right in front of her. "It’s not something I would wish on anybody. No animal deserves to die like this."
You might think this was just a freak accident - but just a month later, it happened again, this time in a park, also outside Lexington. The owner’s frightening moments were caught on a 911 call.
Owner: "My dog was just killed in a trap and she's lying there and I can't get her out."
911 Operator: "What did the trap do?"
Caller: "It crushed her head."
The dog, named Sophie, wasn't running around wild. It was actually on a leash being walked by its owner.
So, who would set up such a trap - and why? It turns out that both Billy Boy and Sophie were killed by traps set by the same guy, Gregory Tyra who police say traps animals for their fur.
"He put it in a public park. I don't know what's wrong with this man," said Muth.
INSIDE EDITION wanted to talk to Tyra after a scheduled court hearing, but he slipped out the back and ran away from our cameras.
"Mr. Tyra, why don't you talk to us about the family pets you've killed? Why are you running from us if you didn't do anything wrong?" asked Guerrero as Tyra ran away.
Tyra was charged with cruelty to animals, and has pled not guilty.
So, how brutal are these traps? Using a stuffed toy, Brooks Fahy, an animal expert and the Executive Director of Predator Defense, demonstrated how the traps work.
"Essentially what would happen is this: the dog's back would be broken instantly. What most people try to do is pull the jaws apart and you can't do that. Virtually impossible," Fahy said.
INSIDE EDITION found it’s happening all over the country. Last year, in a beautiful neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, a border collie named Maggie scampered out the back gate and ran to a lake just 47 feet away. It's a place where the neighborhood children often play. That's where a trap snapped down on Maggie’s neck.
"I kept thinking, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. You didn't do anything wrong. I love you. I'll do what I can to get you out of this," explained the pet’s owner, Denise McCurtain. Maggie died within minutes.
So, who set the trap? It wasn’t some individual trapper. The trap that killed Maggie was set by Wildlife Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture after homeowners complained about a rodent problem.
Believe it or not, Wildlife Services traps have killed more than 1,000 dogs over the past 12 years. In a statement a spokesperson for Wildlife Services said the unintentional killing of dogs is rare and usually occurs during efforts to protect livestock and when dogs are roaming free or unsupervised. Wildlife Services policies are designed to minimize the killing or capture of pets.
But pet owners like Denise McCurtain are furious. "Something has to be done, so another family doesn’t have to suffer."