JUNEAU, Alaska - A Juneau woman cited for hindering trapping said she sprung traps after finding a bald eagle caught in two of the leg-hold devices and worrying that dogs or people would be harmed by others.
Kathleen Adair, 39, freed the bald eagle Dec. 24 and carried it in a backpack to the Juneau Raptor Center. One leg was severed and the protected bird was euthanized by a veterinarian.
She sprung a trap near the eagle to protect her three dogs, she told KTOO-radio (http://bit.ly/1xEAdvG), and two others that she said could have harmed hikers.
Alaska Wildlife Troopers on Dec. 30 received a complaint of someone tampering with traps. Adair was cited Jan. 10, and if convicted, faces up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
State law or municipal code makes it illegal to trap within a half mile of a road or a quarter mile of designated trails, but the Davies Creek Trail is not on the list, despite its inclusion in at least one guide book on popular Juneau hikes.
Adair said she spotted the eagle with each leg caught in a trap as she scouted the location for a group hike. She spotted a third trap, she said, and out of concern for the three dogs, sprung it. It took an hour to free the bird, she said.
"I knew at the time that the eagle didn't have a very good chance. I knew if I left it there all night, it would have had a worse chance of surviving," Adair said.
A half mile from the highway, she said, she sprung another large trap near the trail out of concern for hikers. Three days later, Adair led nine people on an eight-hour hike on Davies Creek Trail and sprung a third trap because of safety concerns, she said.
Alaska Wildlife Trooper Sgt. Aaron Frenzel said his office didn't know an eagle had been trapped when the investigation began.
"What we expect from the public is if they come upon an eagle in a trap, to notify us as soon as possible. That way we can go out there and see what's going on," Frenzel said. Freeing an eagle is not tampering with a trap, he said.
Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org