Domestic pets can be caught or killed in snare, conibear or steel-jaw traps just like Gracie in Knox County. Everything that could have been done to save this precious soul was done and yet, she still lost her life senselessly.

It Takes a Village No-Kill Rescue
It Takes a Village No-Kill Rescue

I've been following Valentine/Gracie's heroic journey over the last few days. Praying and hoping that she would get her miracle. It was not to be and I'm heartbroken tonight.

Petersburg Paws, Evansville (APEC), It Takes A Village, and the community stepped in after this chocolate lab was found injured, and fighting for her life on Sunday night. ITV named her Valentine and she was immediately hospitalized under the care Dr. Kennedy at Hilltop Vet Services. Social media went into overdrive sharing her story, raising funds for her care, and trying to find her family. Meanwhile, Valentine continued to fight.

It Takes A Village posted an update this evening, "This morning Tangila, our Executive Director, drove the dog over to Blue Pearl in Louisville to see if she could be saved. Blue Pearl referred us to a board certified specialist at Metropolitan Vet in Louisville, so that was our next stop. In the meantime, we got a call from a family who identified the dog as their beloved Gracie!! They saw her on social media because of everyone who shared her story." ITV went on to add, "Gracie was outside with her dad last week on their farm and she saw her arch enemy - a rabbit. Gracie ran off and didn't return. Gracie is a 7-year-old beloved family member. Needless to say, the family is devastated by what happened."

Unfortunately the news wasn't as we had hoped. "The specialist examined Gracie and confirmed our worst fears - Gracie could not be saved. The damage was too extensive and they would have to remove too much of the muzzle - she would have to be tube fed the rest of her life and she would have a very poor quality of life. Her leg would also need to be amputated. With heavy hearts, we brought Gracie back to Evansville. We couldn't save her, but at least we could give her peace to be with her family in the final moments of her life. Gracie crossed the rainbow bridge with her dad by her side. She will be buried on the family farm."

It Takes a Village No-Kill Rescue
It Takes a Village No-Kill Rescue

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who stepped in to help sweet Gracie, and with her family who loved her dearly.

I grew up in the country in Northern Michigan. I grew up with every animal imaginable in my back yard. We lived on almost a 100 acres, near a swamp with bears, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, etc. I never remembered by Dad ever "trapping" any animal in an inhumane way. Yes, he hunted deer, which we ate, so I'm not passing judgement. I just don't remember him trapping any animal for fur or just because. He may have done some cage trapping if there were racoon, mice or opossum issues, but he would always release them back into the wilderness.

After I did some research, I found out that in Kentucky, we are in Furbearer Hunting and Trapping season until February 29th, 2020. I feel so foolish that I didn't even know that you could trap animals for "fur". But, it's a real thing.

There are special trapping restrictions according to the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources. I feel more work needs to be done.

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images


  • All traps must bear a metal tag giving either the name and address of the trapper, or a unique identification number issued by the department as well as the 1-800-25-ALERT phone number.
  • Any trap found without a tag can be immediately confiscated by the department without a court order.
  • All traps must be visited at least once every twenty-four (24) hours and all animals removed.
  • Coyotes can only be trapped during furbearer trapping seasons.
  • Trappers must harvest furbearers upon capture, unless they possess a captive wildlife permit from Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
  • Spotted skunks are protected year round and may not be taken or possessed. Report incidental trappings to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
  • It is illegal to intentionally obstruct or disrupt the right of a person to lawfully take wildlife by trapping.

Here's more on Gracie's heartbreaking journey:

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