Letter to the Itasca County Attorney Advocating for Animal Cruelty Charges in Massive Trapping Violation Case

December 3, 2018

Itasca County Attorney John Muhar

Itasca County Attorney Elect Matti R. Adam

Assistant County Attorney David S. Schmit


Itasca County Courthouse

123 NE 4th Street

Grand Rapids, MN 55744


Dear County Attorney Muhar and County Attorney Elect Adam and Assistant County Attorney,

This letter regards the upcoming court hearing on December 10, 2018 for defendants Stephen Bemboom and Brad Dumonceaux, who face 67 charges related to illegally snaring wolves and other wildlife over a period of years. On behalf of Howling For Wolves and its supporters across Minnesota and within Itasca County, We are writing to renew our call for your office to seek convictions for these 67 charges to the fullest extent of the law, and to urge you to pursue additional animal cruelty charges.

Snares are outlawed in growing number of states because policymakers recognize their dangerous potential for exactly the sort of barbaric crimes alleged in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) complaint against Bemboom and Dumonceaux. These cheap, metal nooses can be placed hundreds at a time in remote areas where the DNR’s ability to enforce laws relating to gross overlimits and tending of traps is impractical, if not impossible. For every defendant brought before a judge for illegally setting or neglecting snares, there are certainly other equally heinous crimes never witnessed or reported to authorities.

Given this reality, when illegal snares are found and the trappers identified, their crimes must be punished not only to hold the perpetrators accountable, but also to deter other trappers from engaging in similar illegal activity.

More importantly, the grotesque torture and starvation of wolves, bear, deer, and other wildlife detailed in the DNR’s complaint must be taken into consideration. While few among the broader public are familiar with the arcane rules regulating the noose diameter of a snare, the willful disregard for the suffering of animals demonstrated by these two men is universally disturbing. Wanton abuse of animals is in a completely different league of criminal behavior than violating game and fish regulations, and the link between those who abuse animals and those who abuse humans is undeniable.

We appreciate that your ability to seek justice in this matter is confined to current State and County statutes and the facts of the case. Nonetheless, there are alternatives to make the punishment fit the inhumane and disgusting horrors associated with these crimes. Howling For Wolves urges you to pursue charges as allowed under Section 343 of Minnesota Statutes relating to torture and cruelty to animals. We do this on behalf of wolf advocates through Minnesota, the United States and the hundreds of millions of advocates for animal welfare throughout the world.  We all depend upon you to see that justice is done - we cannot accomplish it ourselves.

Thank you for your attention to this case and for the work your office has already done in bringing charges against Bemboom and Dumonceaux. We will attend the omnibus hearing scheduled for December 10, and would be grateful for any updates you are able to share in the meantime.

As you can see from the attached photo, wolf killing is a particularly negative act that is infused with intolerance and hate. It is important that our laws work to discourage killing wolves as an expression of hate and aggression.



Maureen Hackett, MD

Founder & President, Howling For Wolves

Joseph L. Wolf

Board of Directors, Howling For Wolves 

December 6, 2018