Federal wildlife employee sparks outrage for photos of animal abuse posted online

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Wildlife animal abuse

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A federal Wildlife Services employee is under fire after pictures of gratuitous animal abuse and torture were posted on his Facebook page filed under “work.”

Jaime Olson, a trapper for USDA Wildlife Services, looks to enjoy his job.

Proudly displayed on his public Twitter account and on his Facebook, some of the photos show defenseless coyotes, a raccoon and a bobcat all caught in leg hold traps being attacked or harassed by Olson’s dogs.

In one photo, a disemboweled coyote is laid out on a log with a caption reading: “Eagles got to this adult female before I did.”

And we are paying for this sick individual to indulge in this violent and sadistic behavior.

dogs eating coyote
This coyote was alive before being torn apart by the dogs.

Not well known for its scientific practices, nor inclination toward progressive methods of animal control, USDA Wildlife Services has recently come under intense public and scientific scrutiny thanks, in part, to an extensive three-part exposé published in the Sacramento Bee which described the millions of animals this branch of the USDA kills using barbaric poisons and leg traps at the whim of ranchers and hunters wanting more game animals to themselves.

More recently, the city of Davis, California, terminated its taxpayer-funded contract with Wildlife Services after outrage over the killing of five coyotes – four of them babies – was carried out without consulting the city.

But these coyotes were the lucky ones. Death in a steel-jaw leghold trap is tortuous, terrifying, drawn out and ultimately indiscriminate.

USDA guidelines suggest leg traps be checked once a week. And its own records show that about 10,000 to 14,000 animals are killed by this method every year, including many non-target animals like bald and golden eagles and even pet dogs and cats.

Olsen is employed by an organization in the business of killing lots of animals by gruesome means. Are we really that surprised that he enjoys tormenting these creatures a bit further before killing them? Coyote in trap

Tom Knudsen, the Bee reporter who wrote the original investigative series of Wildlife Services reported that the photos have now been removed from Facebook, and Olsen, when questioned, played dumb.

“I don’t know if they are doctored,” Olsen said. “I don’t know if they are of me. I don’t know anything about it.”

Knudsen quotes a former Wildlife Services trapper as saying that Olsen’s behavior is standard and pretty much ignored by higher-ups.

“You can’t look at this and associate it with wildlife management,” executive director of Predator Defense, Brooks Fahy, told the Bee. “This is cruelty and torture. This is wanton killing.”

The City of Davis decided it didn’t have room for cruelty, torture nor wanton killing and told Wildlife Services to take a hike. Maybe it’s time for more cities to follow Davis’ lead.


  • Tina Page

    Tina is a journalist and mother of three who's lived all her life in the South Bay of Los Angeles except for a two-year stint in the heart of Spain. She believes humans have the capacity to make this a beautiful world for all species to live, and mothers have a special charge to raise their children to enjoy, love and respect all creatures.

5 thoughts on “Federal wildlife employee sparks outrage for photos of animal abuse posted online”

  1. Relatedly, in August of this year the California Dept. of Fish & Game ordered a federal Wildlife Services agent to destroy a mountain lion and her three 18-month-old cubs in El Dorado County, CA. Her crime? Killing a tethered goat to feed her young. (See GOOGLE.) Current DFG policy requires that a depredation permit be issued for such inanity. This needs changing. ALL CALIFORNIA STATE LEGISLATORS MAY BE WRITTEN C/O THE STATE CAPITOL, SACRAMENTO, CA 95814.

    It’s abundantly clear that Wildlife Services is also in need of some serious reform.

    HOW YOU CAN HELP: Contact Congressman Darrell Issa (D-California), chair of the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, to ask for Congressional oversight hearings on the USDA’s Wildlife Services Agency.

    U.S. House of Representatives
    2157 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    tel. 202/225-5074
    fax 202/225-3974

    And contact your own Congressperson, of course. If in doubt, see the Government pages in the front of your local telephone book.

    Thanks for caring.

    Eric Mills, coordinator
    Oakland, CA
    email – [email protected]

  2. The grotesque cruelty inflicted upon this defenseless animal by Jaime Olson can only be described as psychopathic, and he should be fired immediately. But really, that the USDA is using such a hideously inhumane and barbaric practice as trapping makes them equally culpable.


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