Trapping a “free for all” in Alberta, says retired specialist

After years of fighting inside the system, a now retired “predator control specialist” is speaking out publicly against snares in Alberta.

"The public gets a lot of misinformation, and consequently they're in the dark about a lot of things,” Dwight Rodtka told the CBC this week. “People have no idea whatsoever that there is potential harm. Trappers operate in total secrecy and the public has no warning, even on public land that they, their children, and pets are in danger."

Rodtka, a former provincial employee who worked with trappers, has co-authored a paper on the ineffectiveness and inhumane nature of snares, and has spoken out due to the rise in by-catch, including domestic dogs.

Blog: Dog owners not at fault when traps maim or kill

"Traps can take anywhere from 10 minutes to a week to kill an animal, and if they kill an animal it can be by starvation, or by exposure. If the animal was really, really lucky, it could be choked to death over a 10-minute period, that's the best it could hope for," Rodtka said. "Snares are also considered by many to be humane, but this is totally false. Animals die a torturous death in them.

"Dogs are snared and killed every winter," he added. "This is old news that this is going on, and yet there is no requirement for warning signs at all for trappers.There is no requirement to notify the public that a trap is present in the area."

When a man who grew up a trapper, worked with trappers, and was responsible for helping kill predators speaks out against snares, it might be time for policy makers to listen.

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