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Bobcat video causes controversy

Bobcat video causes controversy

By Darcy Spears. CREATED Jan 17, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- It's bobcat versus dog in a controversial video that many say is harassment at best and cruelty at worst.

Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears found the man behind the video sits on a county board... but maybe not for long.

In the video, a dog barks relentlessly at a bobcat whose leg is caught in a steel trap.

The man holding the chain repeatedly pulls the trapped animal back and forth toward the dog and can be heard encouraging the dog, saying "get him boy!"

It's a video originally posted on an animal trapper website by Tracy Truman.

But once it hit YouTube, it started a firestorm of controversy.

"I think it's cruel and inhumane.  I think it's torture," says Gina Greisen of Nevada Voters for Animals.

Greisen and other animal welfare advocates are particularly incensed because of who Tracy Truman is -- a local lawyer who sits on Clark County's Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife.

"These are not the kinds of people we need making decisions on our Nevada wildlife," says Greisen.

County commissioners appoint the members of the wildlife advisory board.

We showed the video to Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who said, "It seems very cruel to have the right paw tied up there in the trap, in a steel trap, and to be yanking him towards the dog and back and forth. It just seems very inhumane."

Members of the advisory board can be removed for cause.

And Commissioners Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani say this is cause enough for them to set that process in motion.

"I don't see how this could possibly fit the mission of the wildlife advisory board or anybody that claims to be in favor of good treatment of wildlife," Sisolak exclaimed.

Contact 13 spoke to Tracy Truman today.

He said he wasn't available to go on camera but he did answer our questions over the telephone.

He says he made the video out in the Spring Mountain range sometime in the last couple of months.

He says it was intended for a small group of people, specifically trappers who go out with dogs, to teach them how their animals can safely interact with trapped wildlife.  

He says those speaking out against the video are taking it out of context and he says they're on a witch hunt against hunting and trapping altogether.

When we asked Truman why he said "get him boy!" to his dog in the video, he said that's dog talk for "please pay attention."

He claims he's pulling on the chain to disentangle it from a nearby Joshua tree and to gain solid footing on a steep hillside.

He also said he's not mistreating either animal and it does him no good to be inhumane.

He calls it a simple training video.

"This training video excuse that has suddenly become the excuse du jour -- you know, 'it's a training video'--is not acceptable," says Sisolak.  "While you might be training the dog, you're abusing the bobcat."

Commissioner Tom Collins, who re-appointed Tracy Truman to the wildlife advisory board, sees it differently.

"It's no different than somebody pulling on their dog's leash when their dog's trying to run out in the street. He's training his dog and if you notice, his dog never touched the animal. The bobcat almost got to the dog. But he's training the dog to help it corner the animal without it getting mauled and/or causing harm to the bobcat."

As for the bobcat and others like it, Collins adds, "Bobcats have been coming down into Summerlin and eating dogs and cats so maybe it's good to trap a few of them."

Contact 13 also spoke with Paul Dixon, president of the County's Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife.  

He told us he would not have advised Tracy Truman to make or post that video online, partially because of how it could be taken by people not familiar with trapping.  

He plans to meet with county commissioners later this week and says he'll support any decision they make as to whether or not to keep Mr. Truman on that advisory board.  

The Nevada Department of Wildlife tells Action News they are also now looking into this incident to see whether it falls under the state law preventing the harassment of wildlife.

And we'd like to know what you think.

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Darcy Spears

Darcy Spears

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Darcy Spears is currently the Chief Investigative Reporter for Action News.