The seaside town of Fairhaven, like similar towns, has lots of wildlife. But only Fairhaven has Terry Cripps.

Terry Cripps is the Fairhaven Animal Control officer. He is an advocate for animals, domestic and wild. Before he was in his current position, he was a corrections officer. Cripps is acquainted with the kind of people who abuse the vulnerable. He is quick-witted and a pleasure to be around, but he is an equally serious man who isn’t going to let animal abusers get away with their crimes.

He recently joined me on my radio show to discuss a hawk attacking a cat. Officer Cripps wanted to remind people that hawks and other wild animals are aggressively seeking food sources and people need to keep their domestic animals indoors. The hawk was doing what a hawk does, as jarring as it is to pet owners.

That day Officer Cripps also broke the story of a coyote that had been wounded by an illegal steel leg trap in Fairhaven. The coyote was limping around for a number of days in the town with the trap snapped shut on its back leg. The trap had broken the coyote's ankle. Officer Cripps attempted to locate the dying animal himself and he notified the state wildlife division. Ultimately the tortured animal was located and euthanized by the state.

Since Officer Cripps used the forum offered by WBSM, this story has been reported by multiple other media outlets. Those outlets wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for Terry Cripps and Fairhaven Police Captain Michael Botelho first bringing the story to the local SouthCoast audience.

Whoever used that illegal steel trap to wound that coyote is a criminal. They can do five years in prison for the crime. The Fairhaven Police Department and lots of great citizens are looking for that criminal.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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