Trapping season is opening up across Canada soon, and we at The Fur-Bearers know that we’ll be seeing sad images and stories of wildlife injured, maimed, and killed by inherently inhumane traps. But it doesn’t stop with the wildlife targeted, or incidentally caught, by trappers. Domestic animals, including dogs and cats are maimed or killed in these legally set traps every year. There are a few ways, however, to help keep your pets safe during trapping season:
- Keep your dogs leashed on most trails. It’s frustrating and an unpopular suggestion, but as there are no requirements for setbacks from trails for traps, and no need for warning signs, it has become a necessary reality. Unless designated as a leash free zone, it is advisable to keep dogs on leashes during trapping season. Those who live in rural areas should also be advised that trapping can be done on private property for “nuisance” wildlife year-round, so roaming cats and dogs may be at risk.
- Know how to safely remove traps. Conibears traps and leg-hold traps can be extremely difficult to manage if you fight them – unless you know how to properly open them. We’ve created two videos (leg-hold video | conibear video) to help, and are going to be producing shortened versions of these for social media this week. Please note that interfering with a legally set trap is an offense in all jurisdictions (though we’ve never heard of someone being prosecuted for releasing their pet).
- Share this article. One of the biggest threats to pets is that people simply don’t know trapping with leg-holds, Conibears, snares, and others remain a part of life in Canada. When we hear from people whose pets were injured, or whose lives were lost, because of these traps, they are frequently surprised to learn just how loose the regulations are for setbacks, warning signs, and public notice. Education is a huge first step in keeping pets safe.
These tips will help keep your pets safe while out on hikes or walks in natural areas. But the best way to protect our pets, until the day that trapping is outlawed, is to create and enforce policies that recognize trappers aren’t the only ones using our environment: setbacks from trails, warning signage, and ID tags. Please speak to your provincial or territorial representative about updating trapping laws for your community.