A St. Bernard cross named Henry is home recovering after an unmarked, hidden leg-hold trap on a service road kept he and his companion captive to the point of mild hypothermia.
Global News reports that Okanagan resident Ethan Heckrod posted on Facebook about the harrowing incident, which took place on a forest service road near Proctor Lake, in British Columbia. The trap was unmarked, covered in snow and on the road.
Another party was contacted and arrived to help Henry and Ethan, but they’d managed to pull free of the trap; that didn’t stop hypothermia from beginning to set in for the pair. A local veterinarian agreed to stay open late to treat Henry, and noted that because of Henry’s size and heavy coat, he escaped major injury (St. Bernards weigh between 64-120 kg, or 141-264 lbs.).
The Global News article indicates the trap may be illegal and the BC Conservation Officer Service is investigating; in a Facebook post, comments mention that there are active, legal trap lines in the area. The Fur-Bearers will update this article when more information on the legality of the trap is available.
Trapping seasons across Canada vary, but typically begin in October and wind down beginning in March. But traps can be used year-long for specific wildlife, such as coyotes, and on private property at any time when a landowner claims wildlife is putting their property at risk. There is no requirement for a license to buy traps online or in person and no proactive enforcement of traplines. It remains unnecessary in British Columbia for trappers to post signage warning recreationalists and passersby of the risks – despite the government being aware for several years that an average of eight companion animals are killed by traps per year.