Dogs and owners not at fault when traps maim or kill

It was with heavy hearts that we spoke to the CBC about the snare that killed Almoe, the best friend of 100 Mile Houses’ Randy McNolty.

In January, McNolty watched as Almoe died in his arms, killed by a baited snare set only 10 feet off a public access road.

CBC: Dog snared in wildlife trap prompts call for tighter laws

Almoe, who chased away a bear that had snuck up on his owner last year, was a treasured friend and died in a horrific manner. But that didn’t stop some commentators from blaming McNolty – and the owners of other dogs killed by traps this year in British Columbia – for their deaths.

"Keep your dog on a leash. Problem solved!"

"Why aren't these owners more responsible when it comes to controlling their pets?"

"well, maybe that dog off its leash will attack your child."

Sadly, this isn’t news to us at The Fur-Bearers. Every time we speak out against trapping when a beloved pet is killed, some point the finger of blame at the owners who allowed the dog off their leash. But it is because a trap designed to hold and/or kill an animal is present that these animals – and their entire families – have suffered.

Even though most leash-stringent dog owner can attest that at least once they’ve accidentally dropped a leash, a collar has broken, or a dog broke free of a fence or other property restraint. It happens – just as it does with children falling down or disobeying their parents. And when the trappers’ associations (who politicians view as the spokespeople for all rural voters) refuse to implement or increase setbacks from roads (hunters require a 15m setback from any publicly accessible road in British Columbia) or to post signs warning the other users of the presence of traps, it becomes obvious where blame should lay.

But, in the end, no amount of blame or finger pointing will bring back Almoe. No rousing political speeches in the media or well-written blogs will take away Randy McNolty’s memory of his best friend dying slowly in his arms.

Maybe, though, changes to prevent it from happening again to another best friend, will make it hurt just a little bit less.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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