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Grand Island Residents Move to Ban Trapping on Town Land

Nicole Gerber and Dave Reilly in late October were surprised to find leghold coyote traps concealed 3 feet off their posted Grand Island property, next to paths where they walk their leashed dogs.

When they visited Town Hall a few days later to alert authorities about the traps, they got a second surprise – hobby or sport trapping is permitted on all town-owned land on Grand Island.

Although the Town Board acted about two weeks later to ban trapping on George Alt Boulevard, the undeveloped road next to the Reilly-Gerber property, the couple wants the board to ban sport trapping on all town-owned land, including parks, trails, undeveloped roads, meadows and town commons.

“It’s not about whether trapping should be allowed or not allowed; it’s whether the public is safe when they are using public land.”

Read full article: Grand Island Residents Move to Ban Trapping on Public Land

Photo: Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News


To read their Petition.


The Town of Grand Island, NY, along with many surrounding communities, has no animal trapping restrictions on public property.  This means that “recreational” and for-profit trapping is currently legal on all municipal property, including parks, trails, paper roads, and public access areas.  The traps are by nature concealed hazards, and governments such as Grand Island have the ability to restrict trapping on public property.

Traps pose a serious safety threat to adults, children, pets, people walking dogs, horses, horseback riders, and others when located on public land.

Once a trap is set in a location on municipal property, no one else can safely utilize that space.  That location becomes the domain of the trapper for as long as that trap is placed, in spite of the fact that the land belongs to the municipality and its citizens and is intended by law for common public use.

Traps also pose a serious threat to “non-target” wildlife: the Human Society of the United States reports that 10.8 animals are trapped for every “target” animal trapped.  Trappers do not need to report to the NYSDEC or the municipality the number of intended or unintended species trapped and killed, or the number of domestic pets captured and/or killed; there is no limit on the amount of traps that can be set and for many species there are no “bag limits” on the amount that can be trapped and killed.  Non-target animals are generally killed and discarded, or butchered and used for bait in subsequent traps.

Research has shown that there are negative and locally destructive consequences of trapping any wildlife. Local biological ecosystems and environmental habitats are disrupted and placed off balance with lethal trapping of wildlife, resulting in fewer or more of the species that are endemic to their natural territory and resulting in changes to the local vegetation.

Trapping and hunting are fundamentally different activities.  The difference in trapping is that once the traps are set, they are a concealed and present danger at all times. The traps do not leave when the trapper does, they are simply reset if tripped and are re-baited or re-scented when the trapper comes to check them.  There is no responsible person monitoring the traps between checks, they are indiscriminate in what they catch, injure and/or kill. Once an animal is caught in a trap, it may struggle to escape such that tendons and muscles tear, and bones break in the process.  Animals suffer cruel and inhumane pain for hours before the trapper arrives.

This petition represents public support for the elimination of “recreational” for-profit trapping on public land in the Town of Grand Island, and supports local efforts to develop and pass legislation in all Western New York municipalities that do not currently restrict trapping on public property.

View the Buffalo News article on this issue:

View the WKBW (ABC Channel 7) news story:

We thank you for your support!

Nicole & Dave

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