Pet dies after getting caught in
a trap at Versailles State Park
Wanda English Burnett
A Holton woman never dreamed that a walk in the park would lead
to the death of her dog, Copper.
Melodie Liddle said she was walking her two dogs on leashes at
the Versailles State Park last Friday, December 16 around 2 p.m.
when the tragic event occurred.
Liddle told The Versailles Republican both her dogs were
on leashes. She had been walking for a while and the dogs were
hot. She decided to let them get a drink of water from a drainage
pipe area. She said she had ahold of the leashes the whole time
the dogs were getting their drinks.
I heard this terrible noise, she said, and realized
Copper was in some kind of serious trouble. He was caught in a
trap. She said the trap clamped down on his rib cage area and
finally as the little dog struggled and she tried to free him,
he died in her arms.
The trap got Copper around the neck and I struggled to release
him, but I was not strong enough. Copper suffocated in minutes,
Horrified this could happen in the State Park, Liddle said she
contacted park personnel, who she described as having little concern
for her loss. She said they were concerned about whether the dogs
were on a leash and whether or not they were a certain amount
of feet from the roadway. I did have them on leashes,
Liddle said park personnel told her that it was perfectly legal
to set traps within the park and that they were aware of the traps.
I couldnt believe it, she said. She would later
find out the trap was a 220 pound pressure Conibear style trap.
When the newspaper contacted the park office at Versailles, there
was no one who would talk about the incident. They instead referred
the media to a spokesperson in Indianapolis.
Phil Bloom, public relations spokesperson for the State Park told
The Versailles Republican he was aware of the situation.
He said it is in fact legal to set traps in the park if the proper
permits are obtained. In this case, he assured the public that
the proper paperwork had been done to issue a permit to the licensed
trapper, who then set the trap that met specifications.
He said the traps are typically set in an area that has little
or no human activity and are set during the months of December
and January to trap raccoons. Bloom said there have been numerous
complaints from campers about the over abundance of raccoons and
trapping them has been an effective way to take care of the problem.
He further noted that this incident is the only negative feedback
he was aware of from the trapping program, which began in 2005.
He further noted that more than 300 raccoons have been trapped
and killed with this method.
Bloom said the trap that killed Copper was set 27 feet from the
roadway and people are advised to stay on or near designated trails.
Liddle had the area where her pet died measured and says it was
22 feet from the roadway.
Bloom said this was a tragic accident. He told The Versailles
Republican he had talked with Liddle and a suggestion she
made will be taken into consideration. That suggestion was to
clearly mark where the traps are placed to prevent anyone from
having this happen again.
The Liddle family say they are dealing with their loss and are
outraged at this blatant disregard for public safety and the lack
of concern demonstrated by park personnel. Even if this
practice is legal, there should be signs or markers. People should
be warned. That couldve been a child, Liddle concluded.