The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Law Enforcement (DLE) announced on Wednesday, April 5th that they are seeking information about two recent incidents on Aquidneck Island of coyotes with illegal leg-hold traps. Anyone with information on who set these traps is asked to contact DLE at 401-222-3070.

On Sunday, April 3 Portsmouth Police alerted the public via their Facebook page that there was a coyote in the area with a trap on its right front leg. On Tuesday, April 4, RIDEM reports that this coyote was spotted in Portsmouth, attempting to access a chicken coop. The animal was legally shot by the property owner, who noticed the coyote had a leg-hold trap on its leg and reported the incident to DEM.

Two weeks prior, a coyote was spotted in Middletown with a leg-hold trap. The animal sustained significant damages from the trap and was euthanized for humane purposes. DLE is investigating both incidents.


At this time of year, RIDEM says coyotes may often be seen in populated areas in search of food. “Coyotes that find abundant food sources around neighborhoods may become bold and habituated to being fed; this creates situations that are detrimental to the animal and can also put the public in danger. The public is advised to not feed or have food sources available that can be easily accessed by coyotes and other wildlife”.

RIDEM reminds the public to;

  • Keep bird feeders out of reach of wild animals. Natural food sources for birds are plentiful at this time of year.  
  • Do not feed pets outside, or, if you do, take pet food dishes inside at night.
  • Store garbage in sheds and garages, away from doors. Double bagging and the use of ammonia will reduce odors that attract wildlife.
  • Put garbage for pickup outside the morning of collection, not the night before.
  • Keep barbecue grills clean of grease.
  • Do not put meat or sweet food scraps in your compost pile.
  • Enjoy wildlife from a distance.

Under Rhode Island law, penalties for illegal traps are punishable by a fine not to exceed $500, by imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both. Any person found guilty will have his or her trapping license and privilege to trap revoked for one year from the date of conviction. By state law, anyone who maliciously wounds an animal is subject to a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.

Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).