A female opossum freed by a rescuer from an illegal and painful leg hold trap in Paterson is on her way to recovery at a Warren County animal rescue center.
Luna's foot was mutilated last month before a Good Samaritan rescued her and a cat from the illegal traps, officials at the Wild Baby Rescue Center in Blairstown said.
Igor Bulic, 61, of New York City, was charged earlier this week with three counts of unauthorized use of leg hold traps and three counts of not having the traps properly labeled, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Caryn Shinske said.
Graphic photos sent to the rescue center and other news outlets show the animals in pain while stuck in the traps -- their mouths wide open.
The torturous leg hold traps have been illegal since the 1980s. They're comprised of a metal foot plate and curved jaws, "powered by hefty springs," according to The Fur Bearers' website.
"The animal endures a painful and panic-filled wait until they either die from exhaustion, blood loss, dehydration, hypothermia, or are clubbed, choked or stomped to death by the trapper (so as not to damage the pelt)," the website says.
The rescuer estimated Luna had been stuck in the trap for nearly 24 hours.
After being treated at the Franklin Lakes Animal Hospital, Luna is being rehabilitated at Wild Baby.
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