Trappers’ habit of shaming pet owners needs to stop

dog, cat, pet, trap, Canada, shame, trappers
We have the unfortunate duty of seeking out incidents where dogs or cats become caught, maimed and killed in traps. As there is no central database and no incentive for trappers reporting a caught companion animal, we rely on both social media and the traditional media.

But as we have reported on these incidents – and they’ve been on the rise since December – we’ve seen another alarming trend: shaming of pet owners.

In news comments or on social media posts where the news of these tragic incidents is presented, trappers – and even other pet lovers – are pointing the finger of blame to the pet owner whose companion was injured or killed.

It’s true that in some circumstances, a dog on a lead would not have necessarily found the trap that caused their suffering. But frequently, these traps are placed just a few feet away from popular, multi-use trails. In one case in Ontario in 2013, a trap was literally three feet from a nationally-recognized trail.

In these circumstances, a dog on a standard 5- or 6-foot leash would just as easily get caught. In a recent Quebec case, that’s exactly what happened.

Add on that there are no requirements for signs in an area indicating trapping is occurring – even where people regularly hike, snowmobile or ski – and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Blaming a pet owner when their own pet gets stuck in a trap is a bit like blaming the passenger of a train that derailed.

These individuals have suffered a loss of a dear family member. They deserve sympathy, empathy and comfort. Trappers, as cold as they can be, should recognize this and respect it. After all, many of them call themselves animal lovers, don’t they?

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