SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Wildlife experts are investigating who set an illegal trap that killed a young raccoon in midtown Sacramento.

‘It’s just a horrific thing,” said SallySue Stein, who runs Gold Country Wildlife Rescue.

“We got a call there was a raccoon in a tree in Sac with a leg trap dangling from its front foot,” said Stein.

Neighbors found a four-month-old raccoon up in a tree in the 1900 block of 25th Street on Tuesday.

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“We don’t know how long the raccoon had been out there, how long it had been stuck up in the tree; it could have been days for all we know,” said Stein.

Stein took the animal back to the shelter in Auburn and tried to treat it, but the raccoon died.

“We just want it to stop,” said Stein.

Authorities have been asked to investigate who set the illegal trap.

“They are not supposed to be allowed in California. They were originally used to trap fur animals. and now people will put them out to trap nuisance animals,” said Stein.

“That’s horrible. That’s a dark way to handle a raccoon. I know they can be a nuisance, but that seems extreme,” said neighbor Jolie Pauls said

Raccoons have become a problem in the neighborhood. One resident says several have sat on her front steps and stolen her keys. But catching them with illegal traps like this one goes too far.

“It’s animal cruelty, at the end of the day. That’s a really intense way to go around dealing with a pest, but it’s still an animal,” said Pauls.

Whoever killed the raccoon could face a fine of $2,000 and up to a year in jail.