How to release pets from wildlife traps

Warning: some viewers may find these visuals upsetting. No animals were used in the making of this video. The animals in the video are not real and used for demonstration purposes.

The Fur-Bearers is releasing a new educational video on how to release pets from traps. This video provides clear, step-by-step instructions on what to do in an emergency situation if your dog or cat is caught in a trap.

Many pets are injured and killed by wildlife traps set legally and illegally across Canada every year. Understanding how to release your companion animal quickly in an emergency can prevent death or more serious injury. The Fur-Bearers has developed this video to assist pet owners in safely releasing their pets should they become trapped.

The video provides information about releasing pets from the three most commonly used traps in Canada: the leg-hold trap, snare trap, and Conibear trap. It also includes precautions that people need to take before releasing their pet such as calming them by placing cloth or a jacket over their eyes.

The Fur-Bearers researches the phenomenon of pets being caught in traps and published a policy brief in 2023: Collateral Damage – The Unreported Victims of Wildlife Trapping: Cats and Dogs. Our research shows that this is an issue affecting provinces from coast to coast, and that the actual number of pets caught in traps in Canada is expected to be far higher as provinces have not implemented reporting or tracking requirements for these kinds of incidents. For more information about pets caught in traps and a list of trapping incidents in Canada reported in the media, click here to view our Dogs and Cats in Traps webpage.

Data table from Collateral Damage – The Unreported Victims of Wildlife Trapping: Cats and Dogs

Without prevention measures like mandatory warning signs to alert the public of active trapping in an area, and the reality that many traps are set illegally, the unfortunate outcome is that companion animals become the victims of trapping. In some cases, pet owners may find their beloved companions alive and suffering in leg-holds, snares, or Conibear traps, desperate to free them from these devices. This new video provides critical information to the public should they find themselves in a crisis situation.

Please share this video among your networks, especially if you know people who are involved in animal shelters, animal rescues, veterinary clinics, and anyone that has companion animals who would benefit from this information.

Contact your local MLA or MPP to discuss concerns about trapping in your region. Note: interfering with legally set traps is a ticketable offense in many jurisdictions. Click here to learn more about the types of traps used in Canada.

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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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