An 84-year-old man had to shoot his dog Thursday morning in Newfield after it got stuck in a trap, bit him and wouldn’t let go.

Alberto Carva of Peabody, Mass., was bird hunting in woods off Wakefield Road when his dog stepped on a coyote trap that had been set some distance into the woods.

Carva tried to free the dog, but it was scared and bit him on the hand and arm, said Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service. Carva couldn’t get his hand free from the dog’s mouth.

“The dog was actively biting and the only way the dog would let go was shooting him,” MacDonald said. “He had to put his own dog down because it was biting him because it was scared.”

The man made his way out of the woods to the K&D Store, where somebody called the York County Sheriff’s Office and reported erroneously that a man had shot himself in the fingers.

Meanwhile, Brian Cogill, who had set the trap, found the dog still in it, dead from the gunshot wound from Carva’s double-barreled shotgun. He reported it to the Warden Service.


“I didn’t know if it was a stray dog because there was no collar on it,” Cogill said. “It was quite a ways into the woods.”

Cogill described the area as thick woods a mile and a half to two miles from the main road, with only seasonal camps in the rural area of western York County. He said he thought the dog looked like a bull terrier type of breed. MacDonald said the dog was a mixed breed and not a hunting dog.

Cogill said he has released dogs from traps and hasn’t been bitten, using a catch pole with a loop on one end in case he has to pin the animal’s head while he releases it. The trap — about 5 inches across when set — releases when two levers are pressed, he said.

Maine’s early trapping season for fox and coyote started Oct. 20, and trappers are required to check their traps every day, he said. The coarse pelts of Maine coyotes are typically used to trim parkas, he said.

MacDonald said the traps were appropriately marked and the trapper had the landowner’s permission to be there.

He said he did not know the full extent of Carva’s injuries.

The York County Sheriff’s Office said Carva was very upset about the dog and had to be taken to Goodall Hospital in Sanford for treatment of a serious hand injury.

Chief Deputy Bill King said Carva took the dog’s collar.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or

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