Trapping Reform in Wyoming

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Dog, “Deakan”, was caught in toothed-leghold trap, injured, and died – Gillette, WY May 1, 2022




“Deakan”, An 8-year-old German Shepard, was caught in a toothed-leghold trap, brutally injured, and died soon after rescue and an attempt to save his life. This family has lost their beloved family friend from a senseless leghold trap along a fenceline on private property, without any warning to this family with two young children. We share our condolences with the family.

Krystal Blaisdell submitted an online incident report from Gillette, Wyoming. We are currently investigating this incident. We have been given permission to share Krystal’s story:

“My husband and I let our dogs out before bed and they wandered over to our horses like they usually do. For whatever reason, this time they wandered slightly past the fence onto our neighbor’s property where Deakan stepped into a foothold trap. When our other dog, Khione, came back with mud on her chest and a little bit of blood on her, we started looking for Deakan. He didn’t come back when we called to him like he usually does and since it was dark, we couldn’t find him until we were right next to him. We searched several acres in the dark before hearing his collar jingle and finding him on the other side of the fence. He wasn’t responding because he received severe head injuries while stuck in this trap. I don’t know what caused the injuries for sure I just know they were severe enough that he did not survive and that had he survived, he would have lost his ear and possibly an eye.

The foothold trap with teeth that were hidden in the mud and had nothing nearby warning that any traps were nearby. As far as I know, it was placed legally but was extremely close to the fence line near my property. It had been raining so they said the traps become even harder to see after this. It is placed away from their own high traffic areas but along that fence is the most common area my pets and children walk in the field since the gate opens near where it was set.

We called the police when we found him since at first, it looked as if he had been shot after being trapped. The trap was not removed and was left where it was set.

The damage caused because of this trap has caused my living dog to want to refuse to leave her safe spot for days now. It caused so much physical damage that Deakan lost his life and my son was unable to say goodbye to his dog without being so horrified that he was screaming “no puppy, no”. When you have a dog put to sleep they look somewhat peaceful laying there. That isn’t how Deakan died. You could see the pain and trauma of the last moments on his face after he was gone. The vet bill was 1514.14 and that is not including what it costs to have his body cremated. He was taken in around midnight and died early in the morning. His ear was nearly ripped off and he had puncture wounds. His eye looks like it may have been fractured.

The owner of the property says they had these traps placed because of coyotes and foxes bothering their birds. If this is true, this trap was set far from where they keep these animals and it doesn’t seem like even a little attempt was made to let us know this was close to our property and no attempt was made to avoid an area these people know dogs and children are around and could get into. In my opinion, knowing this neighbor disliked this dog and that most people living near them have an issue with them, along with how far this trap was placed from their supposed problem and close it was to the fence line, I do not believe it was set for what they claim. Since there are no regulations on that placement though, unsafe and ignorantly placed traps can be set like this near property lines. This could have been intended to do nothing more than hurt the dog they disliked and trap placement not being right to catch what they are claiming and too close to our pets and kids don’t seem to be something that Wyoming feels a person at least deserves to know is this close to a fence line near their home.”

Update: 5.15.22

Per the Blaisdell’s: The Wyoming Game and Fish warden visited the trapping incident area today to inspect the situation. The Blaisdell’s other dog was attracted to the same area where Deakan was caught. They were able to see why Deakan was attracted to that area. The carcass of a predator was placed near the trap but was setback over 30 feet, which is legal. The warden stated that this was a legal set. He was able to convince the landowners to remove the traps.


Leghold trap with teeth, set by the fence adjacent to a neighbor’s property. Although the leghold was set on private property, this incident could have been prevented. Anyone setting a trap should make every attempt to inform neighbors to prevent unsafe conditions for the families and their pets.

If you feel outraged, please contact these wildlife management decision-makers. Let them know that it is legal to kill a pet, or any other non-target animal if the trap is legal. The trap is then required to be returned to the owner to kill again.

Please request that Wyoming, rated as one of the worst states for archaic trapping regulations, step up to the responsibility of trapping reform. This beloved pet did not deserve to die like this or any other non-target animal. We agree that the homeowner who permitted the trap should reach out to neighbors before placing a deadly steel toothed-trap near a fenceline. We recommend that the homeowner remove the trap off of the landscape, or place it in another location farther from the neighbors.

You can politely reach out to:
Governor Mark Gordon

You can politely reach out to:
Wyoming Department of Agriculture
Director Doug Miyamoto

Contact Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Director: Brian Nesvik

Contact Wyoming Game and Fish Commission
President: Kenneth Roberts

Watch our full-length webinar workshop:

Download to your smartphone for access in the field.
Watch our 11-minute video: “How to Release Your Pet From a Trap”

Carry tools with you if needed to help release your pet. We have assembled UNtrapped Packs to make it easier for you. At a minimum, carry an aircraft cable cutter if your pet is caught in a snare. These tools could save your pet’s life.

Have you experienced a negative trapping incident involving you, your pet, your family, or another living thing?

Please share your story on our trapping incident form so that we can help you in whatever way we can and bring the realities of trapping to a broader public. Your personal information will be respected, and you may submit it anonymously.
Provide as much as possible of the following information so that your report will be as effective as possible. Include species of animal, type of trapping device, name of the dog (if applicable), any injuries incurred by animals or humans involved, medical expenses, and as much additional detail as possible. Also, photos are very helpful but not required. We encourage you to include multiple photos and videos of trap/snare, trap set area, bait, wild animal, dog, injury, and a picture of your dog without the trap to add a face to your story.
Please consider becoming an advocate and taking action! Join our newsletter, and get involved. We need your help to restrict these brutal steel devices from our public lands!
Stay safe, everyone!

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