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Dog Dies From Animal Trap in Modena, Utah

(KUTV) A family from Modena, Utah is in mourning after a special member of their family was trapped and left to die. Now they’re looking to raise awareness of a growing issue of animal trapping throughout the state.

One Spring evening Modena resident John Etzler let his dogs out to run around some public property near his home, but the dogs strayed too far from the property and never returned home.

Etzler and his wife became concerned and went searching for them, but found nothing. What they found nearly four days later can be only described as tragic.

This used to be a place where dogs used to run free and the area was considered a backyard that all animals dream of. But in the past few months things changed.

“It’s like living in the Gaza strip. Since last Thanksgiving we have been under siege basically,” explains Etzler.

Etzler and his wife have lived in Modena for 15 years and just recently they lost one member of their family. “He was the most kind, respectful animal I’ve ever been around and the mental anguish; I mean my wife is still having a hard time dealing with her everyday job because of the idea of the loss of Brody.”

Prior to his death Brody had already been trapped and the other dogs, Isabel and Half-Face, have experienced that pain as well. One of the traps severely injuring a paw and the other caused the loss of a toe.

Etzler believes that, “Statements that these steel jawed traps do not hurt people, children, dogs or the animal that they’re after for the first 48 hours is ludicrous.”

Lynn Chamberlain with the Utah Division of Wildlife and Resources says it is the law to check traps, “If they are not returning to their trap every 48 hours there are some fairly stringent criminal charges that can be filed against them.”

The Etzler family has experienced tragedy and now they are demanding changes to trapping laws, but Chamberlain says it’s an issue they’re trying to fix.

“It’s our responsibility to try as best as we can to check on those trappers. When we meet them in the field our officers and biologists have the opportunity to check with them and make sure their traps are all registered and are checking them,” said Chamberlain.

Until things are changed Etzler is saying public lands are no longer safe. “If you live in a rural area like we live here and you’ve got BLM land contiguous to your property they can legally put their traps ten inches from your property line. As far as I’m concerned, they killed one of my family members.”

Etzler says now his dogs won’t really leave the property and veterinarians say Isabel could lose her paw because of the extensive damage done to it.

By: D.J. Bolerjack

Follow D.J. on Twitter @DJBolerjack

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)

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