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Halt the Use of Deadly M-44 “Cyanide Bombs”

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Halt the Use of Deadly M-44 "Cyanide Bombs"

  • The past months have been deadly for three dogs killed by a device called a M-44 cyanide canister. These devices, which resemble a sprinkler head, are put out by Wildlife Services or certified county trappers to kill foxes and coyotes.
  • On March 11 near Casper, Wyoming five people were out hiking with their four dogs in a frequently visited area. Abby, a 15-year old Drahthaar and Molly, a 7-year old Weimaraner were killed by an M-44 cyanide bomb 100 yards inside the boundaries of the private land.
  • Another incident occurred on March 16, in eastern Idaho.  A 14-year old boy, Canyon and his 3-year old dog Casey were on a walk behind their house when the boy bent down to look at the M-44 canister. The cyanide poison was ejected onto Canyon’s clothing and blew into Casey’s mouth.  Casey was dead within minutes, and Canyon is lucky to be alive!


What is Wildlife Services?

Wildlife Services is a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Their website states: “The mission of USDA APHIS Wildlife Services (WS) is to provide Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.”

Despite the mission of Wildlife Services to “allow people and wildlife to coexist,” the agency killed 2.7 million animals in 2016.  Wildlife Services acts on both private and public land in the U.S. often at the request of livestock producers.  Wolves, bears, coyotes, foxes, mountain lions, bobcats, birds, and many other types of wildlife are included in the target species.

What is an M-44?

M-44s are a spring-loaded device that contains sodium cyanide powder that is used to kill coyotes, foxes, and wild (feral) dogs. The device contains a capsule of sodium cyanide that reacts with the saliva in the animal’s mouth to produce hydrogen cyanide gas. When inhaled, the gas usually kills the animal within one to five minutes. Cyanide kills by binding to the iron in red blood cells and starving cells of oxygen. Cyanide poisoning causes seizures, rapid breathing, nausea, vomiting, feeling of neck constriction and suffocation, confusion, anxiety, fixed and dilated pupils, coma, and ultimately death.

When an animal bites and pulls on the cloth which contains a scent lure to attract the animal, the capsule breaks and the ejector is activated which causes the sodium cyanide to be propelled into the animal’s mouth. Wildlife Services is required to post signs warning the public of the presence of M-44 set in an area. However, no signs were present in the recent case in Idaho and the bombs were set within 350 yards of neighborhood homes.

Take Action

Please use your voice to ask for a halt to the use of these deadly M-44 cyanide bombs that are employed to kill predators and endanger our people and pets. Thank you!

Wyoming USDA APHIS Wildlife Services Office
Mike Foster
State Director/Wildlife Biologist
PO Box 67
Casper, Wyoming 82602
Office (307) 261-5336

One Comment

  • Rachel Bradley

    These cyanide bombs are awful! Please stop their use!

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