PETA Offers Reward After Nail Trap Incident In PNF
Last updated 11/3/2020 at 10:58pm
The U.S. Forest Service has opened an investigation into an Oct. 25 incident in the Foster Creek area of Pisgah National Forest involving a hiker who stepped on nail traps left buried in the leaves on the trail.
The hiker, Etowah man Tyler Mayo, detailed the incident in a public Facebook post and wrote that he was walking his dog with some friends when he stepped on the trap. Mayo also included photos of the traps, which appear to be two wooden planks with several 2-inch nails hammered all the way through, leaving the sharp side of the nails facing upwards. On one of the planks, the words, “PETA Paybak” (sic) are written in black marker, with the word “PETA” written on the back of the other.
Cathy Dowd, a U.S. Forest Service public information officer, said Forest Service law enforcement officers used leaf blowers to clear the trail after the incident and didn’t find any other traps. Dowd said she has not received any other information regarding the incident at this time.
In Mayo’s Facebook post, he included a photo of his heel, where two of the nails pierced through his shoes deep into his foot. He wrote that neither of the dogs that were with him was hurt.
PETA, an animal rights organization, has since publically denounced the incident, offering a $1,000 award for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for setting the traps.
“PETA is grateful to hiker Tyler Mayo for alerting authorities to the nail-spiked boards that were deliberately placed on trails in the Pisgah National Forest and hidden under piles of leaves,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk in a written statement. “PETA is offering a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for attempting to harm hikers, their dogs and wildlife this way, and we are working with authorities in the hope that they find fingerprints or other forensic evidence that will help nab the person (or persons) responsible for such a violent act and bring them to justice before anyone else of any species gets hurt.”
Dowd said incidents like this are rare, but it is always a good idea to take a few simple precautions before visiting Pisgah to avoid any potentially dangerous situations.
“Although these situations are really rare, and it’s very likely that you’re not going to encounter this on your visit, it is a good thing to have folks just be prepared for the unexpected thing to occur,” Dowd said. “In this situation, having a first-aid kit is really important. Having other people who you’re Hiking with is really important because if you do need assistance, you may be in a place that doesn't have cell service. Having a Hiking buddy helps you to get through any injury that might occur while you’re out there. I would always be on the lookout for suspicious things when you’re in the forest. You just never know. You’re more likely to be injured by something naturally occurring, I think. So, if you’re just aware of your surroundings at all times because of those things, I think you’ll be prepared for things like this as well.”