The Fur-Bearers has published a brief to raise the alarm about the dangers of trapping to the public. Collateral Damage. The Unreported Victims of Wildlife Trapping: Cats and Dogs provides an overview of the phenomenon of cats and dogs being caught in wildlife traps.
This research presents preliminary data to provide insight into the scale of this problem in Canada. Not only is this an issue that requires urgent attention, it’s also getting worse, as the number of reported incidents has been increasing in recent years.
Information obtained through freedom of legislation from provinces and territories shows that at least 173 pets were caught in traps in Canada from 2017-2021, ranging from 26 to 43 incidents each year. This figure does not include data from Ontario, and reporting is not mandatory in any Canadian jurisdiction, so the actual number is expected to be far higher.
The Fur-Bearers routinely compiles media reports of these incidents on our webpage, but this new data shows that the problem is far greater than what is included in periodic media reports, as most trapping incidents involving cats or dogs do not make the news. Dozens of cats and dogs are being injured and killed across Canada every year and little is being done to protect the public from the dangers of trapping.
This brief provides an overview of the problem, highlighting the data gap in this area as trappers are not required to report domestic animals caught in their traps, nor do governments proactively publish information they may hold regarding trapping incidents involving cats and dogs. It presents data sorted by year and province or territory, and outlines the varied responses provided by governments. It is notable that Ontario is not included in this dataset, as it is the most populous province with a history of trapping incidents involving companion animals. As such, this data is incomplete and more research is needed.
We provide recommendations to address reporting deficiencies and to mitigate trapping’s harms to the public including:
The Fur-Bearers will continue research in this area and will launch related actions and educational resources this year. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed about our work on this issue.