Idaho may have some beautiful places for people to take their dogs on an adventure, but deadly traps lurking on the landscape are ruining it. Now the growing number of dogs being caught in these traps has led the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to consider new regulations so they can prevent accidents.
Trapping for wolves and a number of other furbearers is allowed throughout the state, but these traps aren’t just a cruel way to torture and kill the animals for which they’re intended–they are posing a serious threat to non-target animals and our pets.
According to the Department of Fish and Game, in 2012, 30 dogs and 24 house cats were among more than 800 non-target animals who were caught. Trapper reports also show the number of dogs who have become victims of traps has increased from two in 2002 to 32 in 2013.
To illustrate the seriousness of the problem, in two widely reported cases last year tragedy struck when dogs were killed in baited body-crushing traps.
According to the Spokesman-Review, the first incident occurred the day after Christmas when a family watched their two-year-old dog die in less than a minute. The second incident happened in January when a woman took her four-year-old black lab for a run, whereby it was caught in a trap that was legally placed on public endowment land. Her and her husband had to call for help because the trap closed so tightly they couldn’t get it open.
In response to the growing number of dogs being trapped and increasing concerns being voiced by pet owners, the Department of Fish and Game released an instructional video in March of this year, and it’s really helpful: you just need to bring a bucket full of supplies with you, channel MacGuyver, or be kind of person who can function calmly while you’re watching your beloved dog suffer, as you try to remember how to open one of the medieval-looking torture devices without doing even more damage. No problem, right?
As infuriating as it is to think you would have to deal with that just because you want to take your dog hiking, and as easy as it would be to say the obvious solution here is to ban traps, that won’t happen. Voters already enshrined trapping as a hunting right in the state’s constitution in 2012. At least now officials are considering restrictions that could help prevent more accidents.
Last week the Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to start making new rules for certain types of traps, and is considering other steps that were recommended by a working group, including requiring a trapper education program, posting signs, restricting the use of body-crushing traps on public land, and increasing set-backs for traps placed near trails. Once approved by the commission, these proposals go to the legislature for approval.
That’s Where You Come In
You can send a message to the Fish and Game Commission asking it to implement every possible measure to protect the public and non-target animals from the dangers traps pose.
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