Archived Story

Consider consequences before trapping

Published 10:46am Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Last week, I was walking my 7-month-old Brittany puppy on the abandoned railroad track paralleling Highway 218 South, walking to the trestle abutment on the south bank of Rose Creek. As I stood on the abutment, my pup ran down the grade, disappearing behind the abutment, about 15 feet from me. I heard a sound, which sounded like breaking ice, and I thought she foolishly walked out on the ice and fell in.

She had, in fact, been caught in a conibear trap, a trap designed to either crush the skull of an animal or strangle it to death. Walking down the grade around the abutment, I saw my little Annie lying motionless, the trap gripping her throat, and I was certain I had lost her. Somehow, I squeezed both springs on the trap and shook her out of it.

Amazingly, she was fine, but if I hadn’t been just a few feet away from her, able to hear the trap spring and get to her in about two minutes, she would have been strangled. I have used conibear traps myself and have never seen an animal caught in such a trap that was still alive. My little Annie and I were very lucky last week!

I can think of no way of using this particular style of trap without the very real possibility of killing unintended animals. If you Google “conibear traps,” you can see a collage of photos of dogs, cats and other animals killed by them.

If you’re a trapper, consider the possibility of catching unintended pets, possibly a child’s beloved pet. I would like to see them outlawed.


Robert Wangsness


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