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Pet Dog Strangled in Bobcat Snare During Family Outing in Star Valley

STAR VALLEY, WYO – It was last weekend. Christy Stewart was with family walking her dog up Wickiup Knoll Trail outside of Afton same as she’d done almost every day for the past four years. Her dog, a 3-year-old Pyrenees named “Sage,” practically grew up on that run.

On Sunday, Sage died on that trail.


Out of sight for just minutes, the dog caught a scent of fresh meat used to bait a bobcat snare. It didn’t take long. Sage suffocated, hung in a trap just 20 feet off the trail.

Afton Game Warden James Hobbs investigated the incident and reported the trap, baited using a cubby set, was legal. It was not signed in any way that Stewart noticed, and that was her main complaint.

“To me, it’s common sense of not setting a snare so close to a popular recreation sight that would have avoided this nightmare. We all have our rights but there has to be a better way of avoiding senseless injury or death. Warning signs of “TRAPPING IN AREA” would be a good start,” Stewart said.

Stewart added that she wasn’t against trapping, per se, and is not interested in seeing laws changed in that regard. She just wants a heads up on any ongoing trapping so she or any other dog owner could be made aware.

“Nobody deserves a heartache like I have,” she said.

Trappers sometimes do not like to sign their traps for fear of vandalism from members of the public unsympathetic to the practice. Others don’t like to advertise where their traps are set to other trappers or opportunistic fur-gatherers.

Typical cubby set bobcat snare (

Lisa Robertson formed the advocacy group Wyoming Untrapped in 2012. WU is dedicated to creating a safe and humane environment for people, pets and wildlife through education, trapping regulation reform and compassionate conservation. The organization keeps the only statewide database of pet/trap conflicts.

WU has documented an escalation in incidents since fur prices began rising a few years ago. Recently, WU reported several trapping alerts in the last two months, including another snare trapping in Star Valley up Strawberry Canyon where a dog almost suffocated. Reports of traps near popular trails have also been reported in Shell and Ten Sleep.

“Traps are indiscriminate and deadly, causing pain and suffering to those who lose a beloved friend and family member,” Robertson posted on WU’s Facebook site.

With legal traps set so close to popular trails and little to no signage, and considering many dogs are allowed off-leash on the trails, Robertson said, “Basically, there are no safe areas for the public.”

Read full article: Pet Dog Strangled in Bobcat Snare During Family Outing in Star Valley

Read JHNG article: Pyrenees Dies in Snare On Forest Near Afton



  • Line Ringgaard

    -Emerging trends in national wildlife management; Should we value and protect wildlife as vital contributors to the health of our public landscapes, and for the intrinsic character and worth of all furbearing animals? Should we value the significant impact of wildlife watching on tourism – Wyoming’s 2nd largest industry? Is Wyoming’s wildlife management not keeping pace with our modern society’s views?

    -Wildlife management should better represent the values of all citizens; Our wildlife is a public treasure owned equally by all citizens and taxpayers. Therefore, it is not just that a few people are allowed to indiscriminately trap and kill this wildlife. Trapping and snaring greatly reduces the number of animals and thus the number of wildlife sightings for the public – depriving them of much pleasure.

    -Unacceptable deaths and severe injuries to non-target species; even animals released alive may later die from their injuries; We don’t know how many non-target animals are trapped/snared, injured or killed in traps each year. Should all of the ~thousands of non-target animals be required reporting by trappers?

    -Personal experience with a companion animal caught in a trap; Should warning signs be required in areas where there are traps and snares to increase public safety? Traps are legal on all public trails where dogs can be walked. Should there be 300 ft setbacks off trails, or trap-free areas where anyone can have a reasonable expectation of safety on our public lands? Should trappers be accountable for injuries or death to your pet?

    -The absence of sportsmanship, fair chase, and compassion in trapping; Every animal in Wyoming, including endangered species, is a possible victim of traps and snares. Is it fair chase not to know your target? Or to sit at home on a couch and wait for a catch?

    -Yhe pure cruelty of trapping causing injuries, exposure, dehydration and mental stress, and often immense suffering; Should all trap-check time requirements be reduced to 24 hour trap checks, or should traps be eliminated from our landscapes? Jeremy Bentham famously asked, “The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ Nor, ‘Can they talk?’ But, “can they suffer?’”

    -How our public lands should remain safe havens for all; All people, pets and wildlife should have a reasonable expectation for safety on our public lands, which means trap-free areas for all.

    -How the overall management of trapping is rarely cost-effective; A furbearer trapping license costs $45 for all you can catch. How can that be cost-effective?

    -How trapping, which is not based on a science foundation, does little or nothing for effectively managing any species population; We don’t have a population count on our state furbearers, but we allow unlimited quotas. Should we place quotas on all furbearer trapping? Where is the science?

    -How trapping has long ago lost its charm as a Wyoming tradition, let alone an American one; A growing debate about the legitimacy of trapping shows that a shift is coming. Trapping for fun, trophies, fur and feeding one’s ego as a tradition is no longer acceptable by a growing modern population.

    -How trapping rarely serves any citizen other than the one who owns the trap; Is it time to create a statewide Trapping Advisory Committee to lend a citizen’s perspective to WGFD in reviewing the science and management of trapping, and predicting and anticipating public sentiment?

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