Neosho Police Department and the Missouri Department of Conservation are investigating an incident of illegal trapping in Morse Park.

“We got called down there [Sunday], and discovered that there were two steel traps,” Neosho Police Chief Dave McCracken said. “One lady’s dog was caught in the trap and there was also a wild animal. We contacted the conservation department and we are conducting a joint investigation to determine who may have set these things.”

Upon investigation, officers discovered two small spring-loaded traps, one of which had caught a fox. Both the dog and the fox were injured but not killed. The traps were located near the ballfields in Morse Park. One was just out of the tree line behind the ballfields, the other near Dean Keeling Drive and the access road leading up to the old city dump.”

“We removed two traps that were set down there,” said Gerid Wilkinson, conservation agent for Newton County. “[They are] a pretty common trap for use in catching small mammals such as raccoons, foxes, things like that. We looked for others and couldn’t find any.”

Not only is trapping not allowed on city property, the traps were also not marked with the owner’s name as required by state law.

Wilkinson said he didn’t know how long the traps had been in the park.

“I am looking into that to see if I can figure out exactly what the situation was before we go any further with it,” he said.

The police department is patrolling the area. If they determine who set the traps, criminal charges will be filed.

Meanwhile, citizens are asked to please be cautious until those responsible are apprehended, and if they locate any additional traps to please contact the Neosho Police Department at 451-8333 or 451-8012, or the Missouri Department of Conservation at 451-4158.

A couple of residents called the Neosho Daily News concerned about walking down at the park whether it was a good idea with the recent animal traps found.

“I understand peoples’ concern any time they hear about a trapping situation. A lot of times people get concerned,” said Wilkinson. “There is no concern, those traps are small enough even if someone was to step in them, it would do no harm to a person. It is not going to do any damage, they are small enough. It may hurt, other than that it would be like getting your finger caught in a mousetrap. There is no immediate danger of people playing in the park and to my knowledge, we removed the traps that were there that we could find. I looked extensively for other traps as did the Neosho officers and we didn’t find any.”