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Dog Trapping Incident: Lucy | Jackson, Wyoming

Trap Incident Investigation Report
Date Occurred: July 4, 2017
Location: Indian Springs Subdivision, Adjacent to Skyline Ranch, Jackson, WY
Victim Species: Domestic Dogs- Goldendoodle
Victim Names: Lucy
Owner Name: Erin Flynn
Victim Outcome: Not seriously injured
Trap Type: 220 Conibear
Trap Legality: Legal
Legal Outcome:  None

Story: While out walking my Dog Lucy on the trail behind my house things took a dramatic and very unnecessary turn.  We are fortunate enough to live in a neighborhood that has a trail easement that connects Skyline Ranch and Indian Springs.  It is a beautiful trail that winds through sagebrush and wildflowers.  There are numerous wild animals that inhabit this area including Elk, Fox, Coyotes and even the occasional Mountain Lion.  My dog and I hike this trail almost daily and it never occurred to me that I should be on the lookout for wildlife traps.  Today was a day like any other.  Lucy was having a great time hopping around the sagebrush and frolicking like she always does.  On our way back towards the house I lost sight of her.  After searching and calling for her I figured maybe she had wandered back to the house on her own.  When I returned to my house and she was not there I became very concerned and quickly jumped on my bike and went back to the trail.  About half way down the trail I found her laying on the ground shaking.  As I approached her I saw that her foot was caught in a trap.  I immediately tried to open it up but it would not even come close to budging.  I rang my neighbor who quickly jumped onto his motorcycle and raced down the trail.  Fortunately he brought a pair of wire cutters with him and was able to cut Lucy free from the trap.  She was very scared and her leg is very swollen and sore but I am aware that it could have been a lot worse. Turns out she was caught in a very dangerous trap called a conibear or quick-kill trap meant to kill immediately by snapping the neck.

The tragedy in all this is that there really is no safe place in this town to walk our pets and not risk them being injured or killed by these senseless traps.  While trying to find information about how this could have happened in my neighborhood I came across Wyoming Untrapped.  I filled out an incident report and received a phone call within minutes.  They came to my house, filled me in on the grizzly details of these traps, and promised to help spread the word to help keep other pets safe.

 

The trap snapped shut low on Lucy’s leg and did not cause any more than superficial damage, Flynn said. Lucy was able to yank off the anchor that tethered her to the ground and wandered back to her owner.

A Wyoming Game and Fish Department warden said the traps were legally set.

“The trap was set on private land, and it was being set for muskrats that were causing damage to the banks of the pond,” agency spokesman Mark Gocke said. “State statute that says it’s legal to trap certain species that are causing damage, muskrats being one of them.”

The trapline, he said, was adequately marked and being checked with the frequency necessary.

“There was nothing illegal,” Gocke said. “Other than, I guess, that the dog was on land that it wasn’t supposed to be on.”

The landowner, he said, wasn’t interested in pressing charges.

One Jackson Hole resident who keeps close tabs on trapping issues said the trapped goldendoodle is proof of the indiscriminate nature of traps like Conibears. One of the devices was photographed this spring on the limb of a grizzly bear on Togwotee Pass.

“This confirms that we need to have trap-free areas where people recreate,” she said. “It’s as simple as that.”

In 2015, Wyoming Untrapped tried to turn some heavily used portions of the Bridger-Teton National Forest into trap-free areas, but the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission quashed a plan backed by local managers. The proposal would not have tightened trapping regulations on private land.

Flynn will email her homeowners association alerting neighbors there’s an active trapline nearby. Lucy’s getting leashed, too, Flynn said, at least next time she passes the section of trail that gave her a scare.

Read full article:  Conibear Catches Goldendoodle; Doggie Survives

By Mike Koshmrl

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