Trapping Reform in Wyoming

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Raccoons Spotted Missing Paws in Oak Bay, B.C., Canada

Up to four reports of raccoons missing paws have been submitted to the Oak Bay police department.  Oak Bay is a small community on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.  Police are worried about the implications of leg hold traps being used which would put the public at risk.

“We had a report in central Oak Bay of a perceived decline in the raccoon population and we’ve got one photo of a raccoon that’s missing its front paw,” said Sgt. Chris Goudie.

“We are concerned for area children and of course people’s pets, because anybody or any animal can be caught in these leg-hold traps, and it can be rather nasty,” Goudie said.

This report comes “nearly two weeks after a Canada goose was severely injured in a similar trap at a Surrey golf course.”  Unfortunately the goose succumbed to it’s injuries and died.

“Anyone with information on the raccoons is asked to call Oak Bay Police at 250-592-2424 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.”

Incidents like this spur citizens to take notice of the threat that traps pose to their children and pets, especially in urban and suburban areas.  However, raccoon trapping occurs every day in Wyoming with no limits on where, when, or how many traps are set because raccoons are listed as predators.  A trapper doesn’t even need a license to trap predators in Wyoming.  However, just because Wyoming is mostly rural, doesn’t mean that Wyomingites don’t also care about the welfare of animals and fear for the safety of their children and pets.  Nearly 85% of public lands allow trapping anywhere, including trails, which are frequented by users with children and pets.  It’s past time that the people of Wyoming can recreate on public trails without fear of themselves, their children, or their pets being injured by traps or snares.

The article mentions that those responsible for the injuries to the raccoons could be charged with cruelty to animals.  Trapping is inherently a cruel practice no matter where it takes place and being licensed doesn’t make it any more humane.  Wyoming requires no trapper education course and a license only costs $44.  No license is required to trap predators such as coyotes, red foxes, raccoons, porcupines, skunks, jackrabbits, and stray cats.  Traps only need to be checked every 72 hours, snares only every 13 days.  Meanwhile, the animal is in pain and is subjected to the elements and predators with no way to defend itself.  If this incident occurred in Wyoming, no action would be taken and the perpetrators would be fully within their rights of the law to continue trapping.  The lack of regulations surrounding trapping in Wyoming is unacceptable and needs to change.  We will be working tirelessly to reform our trapping laws and thank you for your support.  We applaud the citizens of Oak Bay for speaking out against the cruel and inhumane practice of trapping.

Full story here.

Photo courtesy of CTV Vancouver Island News

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