Trapping Reform in Wyoming

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Dog “Shia” caught in leghold, Chimney Park area, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, WY

On Sunday, December 20, 2020, around 9:30 a.m., “Shia’s” owner, along with friends and 2 other pets, headed up a trail on skis, near the Chimney Park area in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, near Laramie, WY.   Shia was caught in a leghold trap not far off the trail.  Here is her story…

Her front right paw was stuck in a leg hold trap at the end of a log. I’ve never heard Shia make a noise like this before, and she was clearly in excruciating pain. She had blood all over her mouth and paws, was struggling, and howling. One of my friends took her head in his hands and held Shia down while I tried to work on the trap (thankfully Shia was not trying to bite us, but was still struggling). I am a wildlife ecologist so I am used to handling animals, but I was not prepared to undo a trap that held my screaming, bloody dog. I wasn’t sure how to open the trap, and I couldn’t get it open. But, when we had pulled up to the trailhead, I remembered seeing someone without skis heading into the forest (which I thought was weird at the time, but upon seeing Shia in the trap I realized it was probably a trapper), so I ran back to the trailhead to see if I could find this person. They weren’t there, so I ran back to Shia. By the time I got back, one of my other friends had opened the trap.

All told, Shia was probably in the trap for 3 – 5 minutes. The trap was set not far off the trail, very near the trailhead.

I took Shia to a vet right away, and the vet said she did not have any broken bones or other substantial injuries that were detectable at that time. She had a small abrasion on her leg that had been trapped, but thankfully that was it. She seems completely recovered at this point, luckily. Shia is a 60-pound dog, so I’m also grateful that she wasn’t a smaller dog. After hearing the stories of what has happened to other dogs, I’m so grateful that we were so lucky.”

Because I know it’s helpful for the incident list on your website, I’ve attached a photo of Shia up in Chimney Park a few days before this incident. This is one of our favorite places to go in the winter. Shia often wags her tail in the car once she realizes where we’re headed! But I’m hesitant to go back knowing that there are traps set so irresponsibly.

We will post an update on this incident as we learn more details.






Know what to do if your pet is caught in a trap or snare. 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 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 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, 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!

Stay safe, everyone!




  • Gail

    Why should non-extractors be hesitant to use parks or public lands? Isn’t it clear yet that trappers, though few, are pushing you out of their way? They have no problem with endangering pets, or causing fear and excruciating pain to wildlife. They are desensitized.
    Time to ban all traps and snares.

  • Dawn Biesecker

    Years ago I was walking side by side with my 2 young daughters and our family dog when all of a sudden our dog yelped and started what I would say was the worst, pitiful scream I have ever heard. I looked at him struggling and biting at his foot, to my horror his foot was caught in a trap. My oldest daughter who was about 5 years old had to run back to our home to bring my husband as I could not open the trap myself. I and my 3 year old daughter stayed with “Bootsie” trying to calm him down until help could arrive. This horror scene happened on our land, caused by a farmer who used to take the hay off of our fields—needless to say he never took another bale off of our fields. He had never asked us about setting traps because he knew what the answer would have been. ” Bootsie” was checked out by our vet–the horror and nightmare of the fact that it could have been one of my little girls. What kind of being sets traps and does not give a dam who or what he makes suffer in a trap, or for how long? Traps are barbaric, they should have gone away with the caveman!

    • Wyoming Untrapped

      Dawn, Thank you for taking the time to comment. We agree that traps and snares are archaic and inhumane. As we continue to raise awareness, we believe that these hidden steel hazards on our public landscapes will be restricted. Thanks for your support. Please share and spread the word.

  • Audrey Yingling

    Traps are the cruelest way to kill animals, they should have been outlawed years ago, they are indiscriminate on what they harm or who they harm. They should be banned every where.

  • Jennifer Martini

    Traps and snares should be illegal. They are indiscriminate in their cruelty and so are the people who set them. People who set them should be fined and/or jailed.

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