Brownwood Bulletin

Brownwood Animal Control Officer Nick Ferguson has issued a citation for cruelty to animals and illegal trapping to a man for setting steel traps in the Willis Creek area of the city.

Stephen Miller told Ferguson he is licensed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to trap animals, and sets the traps to catch raccoons, which he skins and then sells the hides.

Miller also told Ferguson he was not aware that trapping is illegal in the city limits, and he did not realize the property he was on was private property, though he did say he had permission to set the traps in the area.

Cary Perrin contacted Ferguson on Friday after taking her cat, Lucy, to Dr. John Cadenhead, DVM. The cat had been caught in a trap set by Miller, and is expected to live, though she may lose her right front leg.

According to the report Ferguson filed Tuesday, after taking the call from Perrin and investigating the site where the cat was caught, he walked along the creek area and found an opossum also caught in a trap, but alive and in distress. He left that site to get the proper equipment and a cage to remove the opossum from the trap and when he returned, Miller was at the trap site, resetting it.

According to Ferguson’s report, Miller told him he had used a tool to dispose of the opossum.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Perrin said it was heart-wrenching to discover their cat caught in a trap.

“It was fortunate we knew Lucy’s routine well enough that we missed her and went looking for her, and found her in time to take her to a vet,” Perrin said.

“But those traps are professionally set. Even looking for them we would not have known where they were if we hadn’t seen our cat, and then the opossum.

“What’s disturbing is there are children as well as pets that play all through that area. Someone could have been badly hurt.”