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Groups Call for Ban of Cyanide Poison After Pets Killed in Wyoming, Idaho

The Helfrick family dogs, Abby and Molly, were killed by cyanide traps intended for coyotes while crossing private land outside Casper.

On a cloudy day in mid-March, Amy Helfrick and her family held their beloved dogs as the animals suffocated to death in the Wyoming prairie.

The family had wandered onto a small piece of private land surrounded by public land while hiking outside Casper.  Their two dogs, a 15-year-old Drahtharr named Abby and 7-year-old Weimaraner named Molly, bit what are called M-44’s, cyanide traps made to smell like meat and intended to kill coyotes and foxes.

“I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what to do. My daughter was screaming and yelling and crying. It was horrible,” Helfrick said, choking through tears as she recounted the day. “They were gone. Within two to three minutes, they were dead.”

In the next few weeks, Helfrick transitioned from grief to anger to advocacy. And M-44s, a little-known poisonous device used in predator control, were launched into the national spotlight.

Anti-trapping groups called for the poison to be banned, saying the devices kill indiscriminately. Ranchers say they are one of few remaining ways to control coyotes that prey on lambs and calves.

Several environmental groups recently filed a lawsuit arguing the poisons are killing endangered species, and one Oregon lawmaker drafted legislation to ban the devices.

Read full article:  Groups Call for Ban of Cyanide Poisons After Pets Killed in Wyoming, Idaho

Article by Christine Petersen, Casper Star Tribune


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