To the editor:
Dog owners who exercise their dogs along logging roads or trails need to know what to do if their dog is caught in a Conibear trap. It’s a popular trap, perhaps because it is designed to kill quickly.
There’s an online video showing how to disarm such a trap, using a stuffed toy dog in the demonstration. Although it seems simple enough to release the springs, in reality, the person trying to save his dog would need nerves of steel to open the trap while his dog lies close to death. Watch the video a few times for your dog’s sake.
In Canada, there are no statistics of the number or kind of animals caught in traps. Without data of intended catches, any unintended wildlife, dog or cat would not be recorded either.
Existing records come from people who happened upon a trapped dog or cat.
The BC Conservation Service says that about eight dogs are reported trapped each year. Baited traps can be set as close as six-meters from a trail. When a dog is caught so near to a trail,
the owner may hear it scream and reach the dog in time to witness its death. If the trap is set farther from the trail and the dog is caught, owners will never see their dogs again.
Animal advocates have petitioned provincial governments for many years, asking that trapping is banned. The petitions have not stopped trapping. It remains legal. Although in Canada fur is no longer widely acceptable, being the skin of animals who died in fear while struggling to live, foreign markets remain lucrative. In the meantime, the risks to dogs remain real, and the actual number of dogs lost to traps can only be estimated from the number of dogs who never return from a run with their owner.
The Fur-Bearers association is asking the government of BC to “immediately enact a trap warning sign system that requires trappers to post bright, visible signage at all access points when traps are within 20 meters of a street, service road, trail, pathway, or other publicly accessible area.” The online link is theFurBearers.com/BCTrapSigns.
Trappers should not endanger people or pets when warning signs are an option they could adopt.