On Saturday, June 14, 2003, I took my two dogs, Samantha and Sadie, and went hiking in a familiar wooded area in New Paltz, NY. This started out like any other day of hiking in the woods. We met up with my good friend who grew up in the area.

As we journeyed through the woods, we came upon a dead beaver and immediately called the DEC to report our findings. As we continued investigating the area where the dead beaver was found, we realized Sadie was gone. We called her but to no avail. This was unlike Sadie. So we turned our attention from the dead beaver to Sadie. The search for Sadie began at 1:00 pm.

At 2:30 p.m., I called my wife Tracy who was in New Jersey visiting. She immediately came home and joined in the search with several friends and me. Flyers were made with Sadie’s picture and contact phone numbers.

By sundown Sadie was still not found. Now everyone was frantic.

At 6:00 a.m. the next morning (Father’s Day), I headed back up to the area from where Sadie disappeared, still hoping to find her. As I got closer to the area, I saw two men. As I approached they began to walk very fast away from me. I yelled to them to stop. They in turn yelled back to me that they could be there and that they had permits. As I got closer I noticed the one man was holding a Conibear trap. I let them know we lost our dog and had been searching for her since the day before. I also asked if it was possible that Sadie was caught in one of their traps. They assured me the traps were for beavers, and there was no way a dog could get caught in it. I pleaded with them to please be man enough to let me know if they came across Sadie in one of their traps. They did agree to call me if they came across her and continued on their way.

Later in the day as my wife Tracy, our friend, and I continued our search, I told them about the trappers I saw earlier.

John, our friend, started thinking about the beaver they found dead the day before, and how Sadie was missing from that same area. He also thought about how I said I saw the trappers that morning walking from the area where Sadie was missing. So John decided to put on his waders and go into the pond that was there. As he stirred the waters he saw Sadie at the bottom of the pond with a log on top of her weighing her down. He called out to me and Tracy that he found Sadie. We ran over to him and Tracy ran to where Sadie was laying in the pond. She took the log off her and Sadie’s back started to float to the top. Tracy took her in her arms and held her. We saw that she had a dent under the right side of her neck to her ear and a dent across the top of her skull. We knew immediately that she was killed by one of their conibear traps, and the worst part of it all was that these two “men” that I ran into earlier knew that Sadie was killed in their trap and removed her from the trap and placed a log over her so she would not float up and be found. (Most likely the trap that they held in their hand as I pleaded with them to let me know if they came across her was the one that killed our Sadie.)

Sadie was loved by more people that we could ever imagine. We want to thank everyone for all their support.

We love her and miss her so much it hurts. We don’t want this type of situation to ever have to happen to anyone, and hope that out of this tragedy New Paltz will pass a law that stops trapping and killing, or at least make sure that signs are posted where traps are being set. That might avoided Sadie’s death and will prevent any future accidents that may happen to other companion animals and humans.


Patrick, Tracy & Samantha Gaffney


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561