Kurt Hildebrand

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January 15, 2014
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Trapper cited for setting traps on private property

A trapper faces a Tuesday court date after he was cited for setting traps on private property Dec. 31, 2013.

John Helming, 45, was cited for trapping on land owned by the Sturgis family, whose dog Beowulf was caught in the trap set by a creek coming off the mountain.

Resident Leah Sturgis said the dog was being walked by family employee Carol Lynn Healy on Dec. 28.

Healy said she was walking Beowulf and another dog, Raley, on the Sturgis property above Foothill Road into Corsser Creek Canyon.

Beowulf was sniffing in the willows that grow on either side of the creek when Healy heard him screaming in pain.

“It was blood curdling,” Healy said.

She entered the brush with a rock, thinking there was a wild animal attacking Beowulf when she found he’d caught his paw in a trap.

She called Judy Sturgis, who came up the hill to help her. As Healy held the dog down, Sturgis tried to get the trap open. The dog, which was in pain, bit Sturgis as she tried to free him.

They called 911 for help and Animal Control Officer Liz Begovich responded to the scene and was able to free the dog from the trap.

Beowulf was taken to Carson Valley Veterinary Hospital and Sturgis received stitches on her hand where she’d been bitten.

“I witnessed a complete miracle,” Healy said. “The trap got him just past his toes. Any further down it would have crunched his paw.”

The Nevada Department of Wildlife game warden arrived at the scene and found a second trap not far from the first one.

A few days later, Sturgis said she received a call that a pickup was on her property.

When she went to investigate she found the occupants of the truck driving on the road. There is a cable across the road, which is posted with no trespassing signs. Sturgis said the truck bypassed the cable. She took down the truck’s license number, and she and her daughter drove up Kingsbury Grade to see if the men were trying to access the area from above.

She spotted the truck pulled over on Kingsbury and asked the men to stay until the game warden arrived.

Leah Sturgis, who was with her mother at the time, said the men said they were hunting quail when they were first contacted.

Healy said she regularly walked up the hill both with the dogs and on her own.

“I don’t feel safe up there now,” Healy said. “What if I got caught in a trap and I didn’t have my cell phone. I’d be dead before anyone found me.”

A Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman said bobcats are furbearing animals allowed to be trapped in Nevada.

Carol Lynn Healy is not related to wildlife spokesman Chris Healy.

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The Record Courier Updated Jan 15, 2014 09:36AM Published Jan 15, 2014 09:36AM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.