Phone: (406) 880-9594
Jessica served in the Montana House of Representatives for 8 years. The first bill she sponsored defined capture, spay/neuter, return programs from trapping and Footloose Montana supported the bill. At the end of her first term, Jessica was selected by House leadership to represent Montana at the National Conference of State Legislatures at a National Summit. In her 3rd session, Jessica passed legislation to appropriate millions of dollars to provide grant funding for suicide prevention for which she was honored alongside Senator Tester with the Impact Award by the Montana Conference on Suicide Prevention. Jessica was also selected as one of 20 lawmakers nationwide to participate in a fellowship with The Lawmaker Network. Prior to serving in the Legislature Jessica worked in the finance and investment industry, as a small business owner, and in the nonprofit sector. Jessica has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana with minor studies in Spanish and Nonprofit Administration. She resides in the Bitterroot Valley with her husband and 2 dogs who all hope to live within the city of Missoula within the next year. Jessica enjoys spending time with her daughters, stepsons, and grandson and enjoys hiking, camping, floating and skiing.
Connie Poten, President: The Humane Society of Western Montana honored Connie and her husband with the 2014 Ken Shughart Humanitarian Award. Connie, B.A. English, is an award- winning writer and documentary filmmaker who won the Genesis Award for her National Geographic investigative cover story, "A Shameful Harvest: The Illegal Trade of Wildlife in America,” and worked on the successful ballot initiative campaign to end game farming in Montana. She is associate producer of the documentary film, “Trapped,” in production. Connie ran the 2015-16 Montana Trap-Free Initiative campaign, which qualified I-177 for the ballot.
Joy Stevens, Treasurer, ND, JD, PE: A native Montanan, Joy is the founding President of the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter (YVAS) in Billings. A past petroleum engineer, Joy worked all aspects of oil and gas from drilling and completions to building pipelines to working in refineries in Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Washington. She received a law degree and a doctorate in naturopathic medicine and currently works as a Naturopathic Physician in Billings, specializing in tick borne infections.
Carla Bonetti was on the founding board of the King Mountain Open Space District that raised $3.5 million to purchase 300 privately-owned acres designated for high density housing, in Larkspur, California. It is now open space. She has been an executive director for the American Red Cross, the United Way, and AnimalSave in Grass Valley, California. In Grass Valley she served as a board member for the American Red Cross and the Neighborhood Center of the Arts. She has also served as the Northwest Regional Director and Major Gift Officer for Heifer International.
We are dedicated to trap-free public lands
After hearing too many stories about dogs being horribly injured or killed by legal traps on public lands, in the winter of 2007 a group of Montanans who enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting, skiing, boating and recreating on Montana’s public lands and waterways gathered to discuss how we could help keep those lands safe for people and their pets.
As we shared stories of encounters with trappers and traps, it became apparent how few Montanans understand the danger that trapping poses to people and their pets. Because each trapper can set an unlimited number of traps, a total of tens of thousands of traps –steel-jawed foothold traps, body-crushing Conibear traps, and wire snares– can be present on public lands across the state. Virtually all popular waterways have traps along them at some point. Traps, we came to understand, kill not only our pets, but valued and endangered wildlife.
From those initial gatherings and discussions rose Footloose Montana, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, driven by an interest in informing Montanans about the scope and danger of trapping on public lands, funded by local individuals contributing from their own checkbooks.
You and your pets are not immune from the danger of traps. If you ski, hike, fish, hunt, kayak, raft, or just stroll along Montana’s public lands, you may run into traps—and when a companion animal is trapped, you may not be able to save it in time.
Footloose wants Montanans to know about trapping on our public lands, and we want to enlist you in our mission.