Trapping Reform in Wyoming

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Wyoming Untrapped Petitions Wyoming State Legislature

JACKSON, WY —  Wyoming law currently makes it illegal to tamper with a trap, which includes releasing your pet from a trap or snare.  Wyoming Untrapped petitioned the Wyoming State Legislature on June 16, 2016 to change this law in order to allow citizens to legally release their pet from a trap.  We specifically were asking for three things.  First, to redefine tampering in order to protect citizens from being charged civilly or criminally for releasing their pet or domestic animal from a trap.  Second we were asking for any domesticated animal caught by a trap to be reported by the trapper to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.  Lastly, we were requesting that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department keep a record of all domestic animals caught by a trap and make it available to the public upon request.

Tom Krause from the Wyoming Trappers Association was present to oppose our request stating that dogs are rarely caught and any information that was collected would be used for nefarious purposes to undermine and diminish trapping rights in the state of Wyoming.  Mr. Krause also argued that people should be more responsible with their pets.  The vast majority of public land in Wyoming allows pets to be off-leash and in voice control of their owners.  Since traps can be set directly on trails, pets are always at risk, whether on or off a leash.  The issue is not about responsible dog ownership, but rather updating an old and antiquated law that most people admit they would break anyway.

Sixty-one percent of Wyoming Households have a pet according to the American Veterinary Association, while only one-half of one percent of Wyoming residents are trappers.  Trappers have 100% control of our public lands, but do not want to provide reports so dog owners can avoid areas where pets are frequently being caught.  It’s past time that the majority of residents in this state have rights when recreating on public land.  People deserve to know where incidents are occurring so they can avoid places where their dog may be at risk of being caught by a trap or snare.  All citizens have a right to know about this public safety hazard and how frequently it is occurring.

The majority of citizens in this state deserve protection for attempting to save their pet’s life.  We are requesting that the language in the law is clear as to prevent anyone from being sued civilly or charged criminally for releasing their pet.

News story from Casper 13 KCWY.

Photo courtesy of Wyoming State Legislature.

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