Snare rips apart wolf’s leg in Ontario

Last week, about 30 minutes north of Huntsville, Ontario, Paula Tough was on a popular snowmobile trail with a friend, learning how to skijor. Her lead dog began barking and pulling to the side of the trail uncontrollably.

Something was wrong, Paula knew. She took a few steps and saw her: a wolf, laying down, next to a tree, only 10 feet from the trail.

Why was this wolf here? Was something wrong? And she saw it: wire digging in, cutting the flesh of the hind leg of the wolf. A snare had caught her.

Quickly returning to the car with the dogs, Paula grabbed wire cutters she kept for this very purpose. Not only did the cutters prove ineffective, but Paula also recognized that if she simply cut the wire, the wolf would escape and could suffer greatly from an infection of the bone.

“I was standing there trying to figure out what to do,” Paula told APFA. “She was looking at me and I was looking at her and thinking, what am I going to do here? This is horrific, but I can’t walk away, I can’t leave her like this.”

Paula got in her car and went home to get her son, along with blankets, a crate and stronger wire cutters. With the help of her son and a friend, Paula was able to get the wolf safely into a crate. Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary received the wolf and began immediate assessment.

As of this posting, the fate of the wolf is uncertain. She will likely lose her leg – the severity of the cut to nerves and tendons may be irreparable. But that is not necessarily the end: amputation and reintroduction may still be possible. APFA is keeping in contact with Aspen Valley officials and will report more on this situation as it develops.

This serves as yet another example of the horrific, cruel nature of all traps across Canada and our call for immediate changes to regulations.

APFA would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Paula and Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary for their quick actions to save this wolf’s life. They are true heroes.

A full-length interview with Paula outlining the events, her reactions and what she thinks should happen next is available on episode 118 of Defender Radio.


Contact your provincial government – MLA in BC or MPP in ON – and ask them to push for immediate changes to trapping regulations in your province.

Here is a sample letter:

Dear ________

I am very concerned about the use of bodygripping traps (leg-hold, Conibear and snare traps) that are used to restrain or kill wildlife for the fashion fur trade.

I believe these traps are cruel, dangerous and have no place in a modern society. Even so-called “certified humane traps” such as leg-holds and snares are indiscriminate machines and can harm and injury non-target animals and our domestic pets.

With ongoing cutbacks to conservation staff, a growing number of people using recreational spaces, unenforceable trap check times and a clear danger to public safety, it is time to overhaul all provincial trapping regulations.

I urge you to please push for the following actions:

  • Prohibition of all bodygripping traps including the leg-hold (YES IT’S STILL LEGAL), Conibear and snare (at least in urban areas and provincial parks).

  • Mandatory signage on all active traplines to warn the general public.

  • Mandatory identification tags for all traps so trappers breaking the law can be held accountable.

Will you make the welfare of our wildlife and the safety of people and their pets a priority?


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