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Traps Kill Family’s Three St. Bernards Near Garden Creek, Casper, Wyoming

Three three-year-old St. Bernard dogs — Brooklynn, Barkley and Jax — shared naps, camping trips, hugs and hikes with the Cardenas family on South Ridgecrest Drive at the base of Casper Mountain.

“They were our babies, we did everything with them,” Savannah Cardenas said Wednesday.

“They were part of our everyday life,” Cardenas said. “Always.”

But on Saturday, Brooklynn went missing. The family contacted Metro Animal Control and the Humane Society, and waited and worried, she said.

Tuesday, she and her younger brother Braylon took Barkley and Jax to look for Brooklynn on the state land immediately west of their home.

Less than a mile away from their home, Barkley ran down a hill and went suddenly silent, she said. “Me and my little brother sprinted down there trying to find him and we see him laying just limp on the ground.”

Savannah and Braylon thought the dog had fallen off a cliff and broke his neck, she said. “Braylon got a closer look at him and started screaming, ‘it’s a trap.’ And there was a snare trap that was tied around his neck that had suffocated them.”

In her hysterical reaction, she called her mother, Ashley Cardenas, while trying to make sense of this.

Savannah hung up, went to Braylon to help with Barkley, she said.

“My other St. Bernard, 10 feet away, we look at him and he’s caught in another trap. And so we both rush over there to try to break the wire free that was tied around his neck, but he was fighting us and was trying to fight to get loose, and the wire just got too tight; and we both, there was nothing we could do.”

Her father, Robert Cardenas, came out and cut the wires to try to save the dogs, but it was too late, Savannah said.

“Later that night, we found Brooklynn, the dog who originally went missing, and we found her in a trap as well, she said.

The Cardenas family and their dogs had hiked and played almost daily in that area for four years, said Savannah, who graduated from Kelly Walsh High School in 2012. “We’d never heard of anything like this ever happening.”

The family contacted the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and its employees found those and other traps in the area with an identifying trap number.

They told her that the trapper didn’t do anything illegal because the traps were set on state land.

However, setting the traps in that area was unethical, she was told. “If the guy had any common sense he wouldn’t be trapping back here, and it shouldn’t be allowed.”

The snare traps are set about knee high on poles buried in sage brush, and have cable loop around the pole that will grip what goes in it, Savannah said. “If you pull on that cable loop, it will suck whatever you pull into it, and if you fight it will just get tighter and tighter and tighter. So it will choke you out if you get your head in there.”

These traps were set less than a mile from her neighborhood where people walk their dogs and children, she said. “If someone were to step in it, it would take their leg right off.”

The Cardenas family never thought something like this would happen to them and their dogs, and she doesn’t want it to happen to anyone else, Savannah said.

“I wouldn’t want anyone else go out hiking with their pets or with their children because it’s devastating, she said. “I want trappers to not be able to trap this close to a neighborhood where people’s families live.”

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One Comment

  • Mary Roberts

    I do not live in Wyoming, but have grandchildren that are residents of Casper. This is truly chilling to read. There needs to be a concentrated effort in Wyoming to stop trapping so close to towns and cities in the state, for the safety of children and pets. As far as I am concerned, any trapping of small animals should be banned altogether. We live in Iowa, and it is not much different here. Killing something innocent and helpless seems to be the norm these days. To me, it is just a treat to see such animals as a red fox, a badger, a coyote, or a bobcat. In Iowa we have so few of them to begin with. In the past, they were all trapped and are gone from our state, probably never to return. If a cougar shows up in an Iowa rural area, people fall all over themselves trying to shoot it, since there is no ban on killing cougars. What’s next? We are also eradicating all of our song and game birds with destruction of their habitat, poisoning with herbicides and pesticides, and killing for sport. The state of Iowa is becoming a quiet place. It reminds me of “Silent Spring”, the book written long ago by Rachel Carson. When everything that is beautiful is run out of our state (and others like Wyoming) there will be no turning back.

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