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St. Bernard Caught and Killed in Snare, Laramie, WY

“On 8/18/2018  at approx. 1500 hrs, I (Warden Renteria)  was contacted by a local citizen named xxxx whom I have worked with before. At this time, he stated that he was called by some friends and co-workers of his that stated their family dog was caught in a snare near their home. He stated they had called him because they knew he could help them get in touch with me. I let him know that I would be headed out to meet him at the junction of US 30 and Railroad road where he could take me to the dog. I notified the Laramie county sheriffs office due to the possibility of civil action if.  I met with him and he took me to the dogs location ( 13T 0532113  4561424). We arrived and met with the two individuals who called  xxxx were at the dogs location and stated they had not disturbed  anything other than to make sure the dog was deceased.  It was clear that the dog, an adult female st. Bernard was deceased and had been so since most likely the previous evening or night due to lack of decomposition. At this time, approx. 1530 hrs, I documented the scene by photograph to investigate a possible direction of travel for the dog, original position of the snare, and presence of additional dangers to avoid upon releasing the animal. I was unable to find any additional traps or dangers at that time. I photographed the  scene showing that branches were placed in the fence wires in order to funnel travel towards the T-post where the snare was located (a common trapping practice). The branches were from a deciduous tree, of which there were  very few of in the immediate area, other than by the nearest home to the North.

Beyond the dog and onto private property owned by a last xxxx, I witnessed a plastic Rubbermaid tub with black plastic bags inside it that had bugs consistent with decomposition present. The tub had a strong odor of decomposition. I opened the bags within the Rubbermaid tub and found parts and pieces of chickens double bagged. This bag inside the Rubbermaid tub was 20-30 feet to the Northwest of the snare location near the edge of the bushes.

At this time, I moved in toward the dog and photographed the dog and snare location up close before undoing the snare from its end (attached to the lowest wire on the fence). At this time, I removed the snare from the dog in order to inspect it closer. Upon close inspection, I found that the snare did not have any visible markings to indicate the owner, had two dispatch springs, L-locks, and ferrules (ends) that I could not readily tell if it possessed break-away devices. The snare was collected as evidence due to the lack of name attached and placed in a paper bag and properly closed with evidence tape.

Due to the snare being attached to a fence that bordered only two property owners, and one of those stated they did not trap and allowed the family to drive the fence to look for their dog, I started walking towards the other property owners house and chicken coop in the open fields portion of the property. As I got closer to the chicken coop and a small outbuilding away from the coop, I witnessed snares made very similar to the one on the dog and other wire  that matched the color and size of the wire attached to the snare on the fence. I photographed these snares and wires and went back to the location of the dog. At this time, Cheyenne Animal Control assisted the family of the dog owners to load the dog into a truck and describe how they could go about getting it cremated.

The Laramie county Sheriffs office (SO) and I went over on the public road to access the house that could be responsible for setting the traps. I asked that the SO wait down the road while I contact the home. Upon ringing the doorbell, a male answered (identified as xxxx). I introduced myself even though xxxx and I had previously been introduced. I asked xxxx if he knew why I was there, to which he stated he did not. I asked xxxx if the trap attached to the fence was his and he stated it was. I asked when he had last checked the trap and he stated it had been the day prior. I let him know that we needed to talk about things because a dog had been caught in the trap and was deceased. xxxx seemed surprised and stated that he had the traps set in order to capture the coyotes that he had witnessed taking away his chickens, and that the coyotes always come from that general area where the trap was. xxxx was asked if his snares contained a break away device that met state law, to which he stated he did not know, and that he had gotten six of them from his friend who was having the same coyote issues. I asked that xxxx check with his friend to see where the snares came from so that I could determine the breakaway poundage. xxxx was asked what was in the tub and bags on the edge of his property, and he stated it was chicken parts from the chickens he just butchered a few days prior and did not have time to bury it yet, but when asked if it was for baiting coyotes, he stated he did not even think of that when putting it back there. xxxx was also informed that he needed to have his traps or snares marked with a name or trapper number  in order for them to be legal. xxxx stated he had read through the regulations and did not see anything regarding that about coyotes. xxxx was also informed that his snares needed to be attached to something solid, and that regulations specified that a fence wire was not allowed. At this time, xxxx asked if it was illegal to trap on his property, to which I let him know it was not illegal, however there are better and worse ways to go about trapping, especially this close to town. xxxx also asked what his responsibility was for a dog on his property, to which I stated that was not my place to speak there, and that any issues with the dog trapping would be dealt with separately from me, but that I was merely there for the trapping enforcement. xxxx was informed that I would get back with him once I looked at all the evidence at hand and talked to the company producing the snares.

At this time I met with the family of the dog (xxxx). I let them know what I had found and what the process would be and acquired a phone number in case we needed a followup.

xxxx contacted me later with the information about the snares his friend had purchased and had a link to the website. I contacted the company who produces the snares and asked about breakaway devices, to which they responded that no break away devices were provided on that model.

xxxx was contacted and met at Taco Johns on Yellowstone in Cheyenne where I issued xxxx a citation for Failing to provide a breakaway device (23-2-303(d) ch4 sec8 (a)) and issued Violation warnings for Failing to tag snares (23-2-303 (d)) d violation not listed elsewhere (snare attached to fence wire) (23-3-402).”

xxxx was fined $235 for not using a break-away device on his snare.

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