Pet owners and families have reasonable expectation of safety

A Northwest Territories woman is thankful her dog survived a baited snare while on a walk, but government responses to these instances must change.

The CBC reported this week on a Hays River woman, who didn’t want to be named or speak with media due to fear of reprisal, who created space between the tightening snare and her dogs throat to keep him alive. Another baited snare was nearby, and a concerned resident stated that the trail is a common dog-walking area.

The CBC noted that a dog was killed two years ago, in the same town, 50 metres from his home, by an old trap.

Government response was typical: dogs should be leashed. But in this case, as in many others, the traps were only feet from clear trails. And as most leashes are 4 to 6 feet (not including flexi leads that extend 20 feet, or long lines that allow a dog more opportunity to run but remain under control), that means a trap within 10 feet of a trail could still kill a dog whose family is stringently following leash laws. It also fails to account for the realities of life: dropped leashes, children not listening immediately to parents, or even an adult simply curious about what might be on the side of a trail.

There is a reasonable expectation of safety when on trails, largely because there is no information that indicates there may be danger.

In urbanized areas, dog owners and parents can see the dangers (cars on roads), and are given information about safe areas to cross streets. Even the drivers themselves are given information about where children may be at play, or crossing takes place, providing an abundance of caution so safety can be reasonably measured.

But trapping groups and politicians who fear the large fur industry and hunting lobby have refused to put in place reasonable setbacks from trails (10 metres from any publicly accessible trail is The Fur-Bearers suggestion), or “traps in area” signs so pet owners and parents can, at the very least, make informed decisions about how they recreate on publicly owned land.

Please take time today to talk to your local municipality about creating simple by-laws that will protect families and pets from traps. It is the least we can do while Canada’s provinces and territories continue to allow inherently inhumane traps on public land.

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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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