Wildlife officials are investigating after having to put down a fox roaming outside Yellowknife with a trap dangling off one of its paws.

Kara Dennill called the Department of Environment and Natural Resources after spotting the fox along Highway 3. She says she and her husband stopped their vehicle.

"His foot was dragging," she said. "It was very disturbing.

"We realized there was a foot hold trap on his front left or right paw and he was having trouble walking and even getting away from us." 

Dennill says the fox ran into the trees. She later called wildlife officials.

Fox tracks, with trail of dragging trap

Tracks in the snow by Highway 3 outside Yellowknife show a fox was dragging a trap on one of its paws. (Curtis Mandeville/CBC)

Adrian Lizotte, a renewable resources officer in Yellowknife, says the department put the fox down due to its condition.

He says the trap was legal but that trappers need to use them properly.

"Make sure your traps are working properly so that this situation doesn't happen," he said.

Lizotte says leg hold traps should be checked within 72 hours of being set.

Dennill said she is upset with whoever set the traps.

"They need to set traps correctly or not set traps at all," she said. "Wildlife like this should not be suffering."