Trapping Reform in Wyoming

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Dog trapped in leghold, adjacent to Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, WY

On Dec 9, a dog was caught in a leghold trap on private land adjacent to Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Laramie, WY. The location was off of Sand Creek Rd. The dog was taken to a veterinarian who determined that no bones were broken. A deputy sheriff was called to the scene, as well as a Laramie game warden.

On 12/9/2020 at approximately 1500 hours, Warden Sarah Dugan, was notified by SALECS dispatch of an Albany County Sheriff’s Deputy who was requesting the assistance of a game warden in regards to a dog caught in a leg hold trap. Warden Dugan made contact with Deputy Guy Morrow along with Christopher Murray, the dog’s owner, at the parking area along the Sand Creek Road south of Laramie. Mr. Murray was not there when the dog got trapped, but responded to the area when his wife Anita Curtis could not release the trap from the dog’s leg. Mr. Murray then recounted Mrs. Curtis was running on the trails on the Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge with their dog off leash. Mrs. Curtis had stopped to take a break by the far western edge of the refuge when their dog slipped under the fence onto the Bath Ranch, managed by Gary Browning. The dog then triggered a leg hold trap that was set roughly 4-5 feet onto the private property (13T 438775, 4559009). Mrs. Curtis then slipped under the fence to free the dog but was unable to. She then left the dog to run back to her vehicle and called Mr. Murray to come free the dog. Mrs. Curtis and Mr. Murray returned to the trap where their dog was and were then able to free it. Mrs. Curtis took the dog to a veterinarian in Laramie, while Mr. Murray directed Deputy Morrow to the site of the trap to document the scene.

Deputy Morrow then led Warden Dugan to the trap where she confirmed the trap was on private land. Upon investigation, Warden Dugan could not find an identification tag on the trap. No other traps were in the vicinity of the first trap after a thorough search. The trap was seized as evidence of failure to properly tag trap as per Wyoming trapping regulations. Deputy Morrow declined to write either dog owner for criminal trespass.

Warden Dugan then contacted the landowner, Gary Browning, who confirmed he does not trap and only allows one person to trap on his property. That individual was identified as James Pearce. Pearce contacted Warden Dugan the next day and acknowledged that was his trap and inquired about getting it back. Other traps Pearce had strung on the Bath Ranch were checked for tag identification compliance before giving the original trap back. Two other traps inspected also failed to have identification tags. Pearce stated it can be common for a coyote or swift fox to damage the identification tag once they become trapped, until the tag completely falls off. Pearce was issued a citation for failure to properly tag traps. He paid the $150 citation.

**Dogs are to be restrained except while engaged in hunting activity.

If you experience a trapping incident or encounter snares or traps, please take a photo, record the location and report to your wildlife management agency. Also, please report to Wyoming Untrapped as well so that we can alert the public, and log it on our trapping incident database the only database record of trapped pets in the state.
To watch our 11-minute video, How to Release Your Pet From A Trap, with Dave Pauli.
If you want trap-free zones in Wyoming, please continue to reach out to our decision-makers; legislators, Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioners and the Department, Governor Gordon, and your local County Commissioners. Write letters and email, make phone calls, and support the trap-free organizations that work every day to envision a future where inhumane trapping is unimaginable.

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