Category Archives: Wildlife

Stop Cruelty! Ban Glue Traps!

Please watch the video link above!
Empty Cages Collective ( received a phone call today (Wed., May 4, 2011) from an employee from a Family Dollar store in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The employee informed us that the store had a bird that was stuck in one of the businesses glue traps and he was encouraged to throw the bird and glue trap in the garbage. The Family Dollar employee was unable to bring the bird to ECC to receive help.

Thankfully, an ECC volunteer was available and went to retrieve the bird and bring him back to our shelter space for assistance. Once we got the bird, we realized the bird had been suffering and severely stuck for hours. Luckily, ECC volunteers were able to delicately remove the house sparrow from the sticky mess without injuring his limbs (a difficult task!). This video was taken moments before we successfully removed the bird from the glue trap. The little guy is expected to make a full recovery and will be released back into the “wilds” of Brooklyn once he is fully recovered.

Unfortunately, most animals who are caught in glue traps aren’t so lucky. Animals caught in glue traps (from rats, mice, to birds, snakes, bats and other creatures) languish for hours and days until they die of dehydration, starvation, injuries (animals often break their limbs in a desperate attempt to escape) and asphyxiation (when the animal’s noses and mouths become stuck in the adhesive material in the glue trap). No animal–deemed pest or otherwise–deserves to be so cruelly treated and killed. Companies like Dollar General & Rite Aid have agreed to stop selling glue traps, while other companies like JP Morgan Chase & Co., American Eagle Outfitters and Safeway have agreed to stop utilizing these cruel devices.

Please help us prevent this cruelty from happening to other animals: 1) Please send a letter/make a phone call to this Family Dollar store (903 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11207-1317, (718) 366-6843) demanding that they cease using *and* selling glue traps at this location. 2.) Leave this Family Dollar store a bad yelp review ( to show that animal abuse is bad for business, and most importantly 3) write to Family Dollar’s Executive Offices (P.O. Box 1017, Charlotte, NC 28201-1017, PHONE: 704-847-6961, EMAIL:, URL: and request a formal policy that prevents the sale or utilization of cruel glue traps in any of their stores! Please send us any responses you receive to


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Filed under Brooklyn, Empty Cages, Uncategorized, Wild Birds, Wildlife

Simon Says “Thanks!”

Pigeon Rescue

Sometimes for animals in need, it’s about being in the right place at the right time.

A few days ago, two Empty Cages Collective (ECC) volunteers were returning from releasing (now spayed and neutered) feral cats back to their home colonies in Bushwick. When only a few blocks away from the recovery space, a little feathered body laying on the side of street caught one of their eyes. After closer investigation, it was became clear that the bird in question wasn’t just resting – he needed help!

The poor pigeon, who we’ve named Simon, was badly injured. Simon’s feet and legs were so severely entangled and embedded with trash in the form of string, he was unable to walk or stand. He was suffering immensely as the string constricted blood flow and was now responsible for an infection in his limbs. Poor Simon couldn’t even manage to forage for food and was slowly starving to death from the entangled mess. It seemed when the ECC volunteers found him, he was just waiting to die ignored and alone.

Close-up Injured foot

Lucky for Simon, ECC volunteers quickly rescued him and took him to our avian veterinarian. Dr. Pilny was able to remove all of the litter from Simon’s swollen feet. Now, he is receiving foot soaks in Betadine solution to help his wounds heal and some old-fashioned rest and relaxation. His prognosis for recovery is good and if all goes well, he should be able to return to the skies of Brooklyn very soon.


Filed under Volunteering, Wild Birds, Wildlife

Raccoon Rights

Rocky you met your match...

Navigating an urban environment and surviving is often no easy feat for wild animals like raccoons, opossums, squirrels and others. Cars, cruel humans, toxins, development, and intolerance all take their toll on the wild animals who refuse to allow civilization to get the better of them. Each interaction we have with wildlife leaves an opportunity to practice consideration, compassion and respect for our wild neighbors.

Unfortunately, on May 15th, the opportunity to forge a more compassionate attitude towards the creatures who share the five boroughs with us, was lost with the life of a sleepy raccoon. The New York Post reported in Coonskin Capped: E. Side Critter Killed By Cops that police officers attempting to capture a raccoon who was resting in a tree on the Upper East Side terrorized, injured, and eventually sent the raccoon to her death. After police severely injured the raccoon with darts (and joked about harpooning her in front of the public), the dazed animal was taken to Animal Care & Control where she was killed.

The need to capture a raccoon who was simply resting in a tree and showing no signs of abberant behavior is beyond questionable, it’s silly. It’s common for mother raccoons to be seen during the day – especially when they have young in the nest. The Empty Cages Collective was so distressed by the treatment of this raccoon that we fired off a letter to the editor to the New York Post trying to set the record straight. The letter read:

The recent handling and killing of the raccoon on the Upper East Side ( Coonskin Capped: E. Side Critter Killed By Cops – 5/16/2008 ) is beyond offensive. Raccoons are intelligent, sensitive creatures who deserve our admiration for successfully surviving in this concrete jungle, not abuse and violence.

Justifying unnecessary cruelty due to antiquated fears about rabies would be laughable if it wasn’t so common. Healthy mother raccoons sometimes nap in trees or forage during the day when they have nursing and dependent young during this time of year. The officers didn’t just “harpoon” a raccoon, but likely orphaned a litter of babies who will now die of starvation, dehydration or exposure for no good reason.

Raccoons and humans can coexist – even in New York City. Tolerance, understanding and thoughtfulness can help solve human/wildlife conflicts without bloodshed. The NYPD and Animal Care & Control would do well to start acting on that fact.

For the sake of the other raccoons who call NYC, we hope attitudes and policies evolve so wild animals don’t continue to suffer and die unnecessarily due to fear and ignorance.


Filed under Environment, The Media, Wild Mammals, Wildlife