Working dog loses leg after days in trap

An image showing a livestock guardian dog who lost a leg to a trap
Pearl, an Anatolian Shepherd Dog, was caught in the leg-hold trap displayed here for as long as three days before found by her family. The severity of the injuries led to her leg being amputated. Pearl remains with her family, but can no longer protect their farm.

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A BC family is sharing the traumatic story of their working dog who lost a leg after spending days in a trap set near their farm. Pearl, an Anatolian Shepherd Dog, is a working guardian dog and family companion on the Hartley farm, located northwest of Fort St. John.

Pearl went missing on Saturday, February 3. Clayton and Ricki Hartley couldn’t find Pearl until the following Monday, when they found her suffering in a leg-hold trap near their property. It is believed the trap was set to target wolves. Despite rushing her to a veterinarian, Pearl’s injuries were so severe amputation was necessary. She is recovering but will not be able to work as a guardian dog. The Hartleys were not informed of trapping in the area, and no warning signs were posted. Pearl’s incident happened within weeks of another trapping incident near Kitimat, where a dog was caught in multiple leg-hold traps set for wolves. Like the Hartley’s situation, no warning signs were posted.

Pearl's injuries from the leg-hold trap were so severe that amputation of her front left leg by a veterinarian was the only way to ensure her survival.

Dangers of traps to pets known by government

The Fur-Bearers, a wildlife protection charity, has advocated for common sense updates to trapping regulations for over a decade, but the government has not introduced any changes to protect the public from commercial and recreational trapping. Data obtained by The Fur-Bearers shows that the Ministry of Forests was aware of 74 trapping incidents involving pets from 2015-2021, an average of over 10 incidents per year.

 “Residents of British Columbia shouldn’t fear going for walks with their dogs or allowing Guardian Dogs to effectively do their jobs,” says Lesley Fox, Executive Director for The Fur-Bearers. “But the inaction of the government has made that a reality. There is no way to know if a casual walk with your family’s best friend will end in a horrifying tragedy – despite clear, simple solutions that could prevent it. It’s time for the government to listen and protect families from the dangers of commercial and recreational trapping.”

The Fur-Bearers have five common sense updates to trapping regulations that will immediately begin protecting the public:

  • Mandatory warning signs near active traps,
  • Mandatory notification of active trapping for nearby landowners,
  • Mandatory ID tags on traps,
  • Mandatory reporting of trapping incidents involving domestic animals; and,
  • Setbacks of 1,000 metres from publicly accessible areas and dwellings.

An open letter was sent by The Fur-Bearers to Premier David Eby calling for these trapping reforms; The Fur-Bearers have also contacted the BC Conservation Officer Service regarding its response to the trapping incident.

Take Action!

Use the form below to send a letter to BC Premier David Eby, Bruce Ralston (Minister of Forests), Nathan Cullen (Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship), and your MLA. Supporters outside of Canada can contact the BC Premier at premier@gov.bc.ca.

Help Make A Difference

Join The Fur-Bearers today and help us protect fur-bearing animals in the wild and confinement. To become a monthly donor (for as little as $10/month – the cost of two lattes) please click here and help us save lives today. Your donation is tax-deductible.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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